Letter to Paul
Today please be in conscientious prayer for ministers, teachers, church leaders,
missionaries, and pastors. I won't
belabor the reasons, but Satan is on a rampage with some I know and it will take
God's guidance to get each of them through it.
The Lord knows who is doing what as He does with each of us.
Pray for them to hear what the Spirit tells them, to have clear guidance
where the Lord is taking them, for their protection, for comfort at the burdens
they bear because of Whom they serve, and love overflowing.
He desires for us to know what it is to belong to the Bride we are to His
Only Son, Jesus our Savior, redeemer, Bridegroom.
This humorous account is only funny because it's true.
When you're done laughing, you may find yourselves in tears before the
Lord as I am. We endure family,
continuing to show the love the Lord has for us to others without compromising
the saving grace we have as gospel. We
love our own family that world around us may see how the Lord cares for us and
that the gospel then would be attractive to them to relieve them of the effects
of sin and they would know they have the hope we have.
We are salt and light.
Pray for those the Lord has presently on the front lines for Him.
Pray for the Lord to soften the hearts of those He sends us to that they
will be ready to know the truth when they hear it.
First Christian Church
Dear Mr. Paul:
I have your application for missionary appointment before me, and will be as
frank as possible concerning your qualifications as a foreign missionary.
We have to be very careful in choosing our missionaries, and our Missions
Board has reviewed your case thoroughly. We
have decided that it would be unwise to send you to the foreign field for the
It has come to our attention that you are doing secular work on
the side. We do not feel that making
tents and a full time ministry go together very well.
It seems that you do not have enough experience in trusting the Lord for
your income. You should make up your
mind whether you want to preach or continue your profession.
Your previous actions have been very rash and unseemly for a
minister. We learned that in a
public meeting you opposed Dr. Simon Peter, an esteemed minister with an
excellent reputation. We also hear
that you argued so violently with some of our ministers that a special council
meeting had to be called at Jerusalem
to prevent a serious split in the churches. We frown on such radicalism.
For your own good, I am enclosing a copy of Daius' Carnegus book on
"How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks."
We understand that you do not agree with all the points in our
constitution and by-laws, and do not even believe in all our doctrines.
In checking back, we discovered your Christian education consisted of a
three-year course in
. We find that the Arabian school
has not been approved by our accreditation board and we hear that there are some
strange unknown doctrines being taught in that school.
We also hear a rumor that you are a snake handler. Such a reputation
could only hurt the true cause of Christ and the Church.
We don't have all the details on that episode at Melita, but we
understand you claim immunity to harm from snakebites through a promise of
Christ. It has come to the attention
also that you preach much about "the Power of God" and the "gifts
of the Spirit." Also that you
speak in tongues a great deal. Surely
you realize that such as this only drives off the better class of people, and
attracts only the riff-raff.
We see here that you have a jail record in several places.
If this is true, it puts you in a bad light, for our denomination has
always stood for a high standard of holiness, and I fear it would damage our
reputation to have someone representing us that had served time in jails and
prisons. Frankly, Mr. Paul, we
seriously doubt you could have been innocent and the judge wrong in so many
cases. It just doesn't look right.
It seems that you are a troublemaker Mr. Paul.
Several businessmen of Ephesus have written us that you were the cause of severe loss of business to them and
even stirred mob violence. You must learn to cultivate the friendship and
influence of men such as these. We
also have some details of a lurid "over the wall in a basket" episode
at Damascus, plus a stoning at Lystra, and several other violent actions taken against your
ministry. Haven't you ever suspected
that conciliatory behavior and gentler words might gain you more friends?
We have never condoned such sensationalism in the ministry.
This is just not the type of ministers that we send out.
We have learned through channels that following some trouble with a
preacher on the island
of Cyprus; you had to change your name. This
does not seem to us to be conduct becoming to the ministry.
You admitted in your application that in the past you neglected
such needy fields as Bithynia, just because "the Spirit didn't lead that way," and that you
undertook a hazardous journey on the strength of a dream you had at
. Mr. Paul, surely you don't expect
us to go along with such flimsy and fantastic excuses for your seemingly
purposeless wanderings. Many
times you did not stay long enough, in our opinion, to get a church established.
You left your converts many times without even a pastor to guide them,
and without setting the church in order in some good fundamental denomination.
We hear also from Troas that you preach too long, one sermon lasting
almost twenty-four hours, even to the extent that a young man fell asleep and
was seriously injured. We understand
that you claim to have restored his life and raised him from the dead by falling
on him and embracing him. What
nonsense! If the man was injured,
you should have called in a competent physician.
We understand from your own home church that you could not get
along with your fellow ministers, that John Mark, a commendable young man and
nephew of one of our leading ministers, had to leave your party in the middle of
a journey, and that you had a violent quarrel with gentle, good natured
Barnabas. Now these men are well
thought of in Jerusalem
and we wonder why you are always having trouble with your fellow workers?
We have notarized affidavits from three fine brethren, Diotrephes, Demas,
and Alexander, to the effect that it is impossible for them to cooperate with
either you or your program. From
what we hear, you seem to have a self-exalted spirit, boasting about your
revelations and that God has chosen you to reveal some "new Mystery."
Can't you realize that any new truth that is to be revealed would come
through Headquarters to the recognized, more mature brethren, and that after it
had been checked by our Procedure and Doctrine Committee that we would establish
it? As you see, Mr. Paul, we feel
definitely after close scrutiny of your case, that you are undoubtedly the most
unqualified applicant we have ever seen, and my advice for you is to find a
church where you can Work in harmony, and use your past education as perhaps a
Sunday School teacher. I hope I have
prevented you from making a terrible mistake in your life.
First Christian Church