Monday, January 16, 2012

Postmodern pastor writes Paul, the Apostle

Paul the Apostle, c\o Aquila the Tentmaker
Corinth, Greece

Dear Paul:

We recently received a copy of your letter to the Galatians. The committee has directed me to inform you of a number of things, which deeply concern us. First, we find your language to be somewhat intemperate. In your letter, after a brief greeting to the Galatians, you immediately attack your opponents by claiming they "want to pervert the gospel of Christ." You then say that such men should be regarded as "accursed"; and, in another place, you make reference to "false brethren." Wouldn’t it be more charitable to give them the benefit of the doubt—at least until the General Assembly has investigated and adjudicated the matter?

To make the situation worse, you later say, "I could wish those who trouble you would even cut them selves off!" Is such a statement really fitting for a Christian minister? The remark seems quite harsh and unloving.

Paul, we really feel the need to caution you about the tone of your epistles. You come across in an abrasive manner to many people. In some of your letters you’ve even mentioned names; and this practice has, no doubt, upset the friends of Hymenaeus, Alexander, and others. After all, many persons were first introduced to the Christian faith under the ministries of these men.

In one place, you wrote, "Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing." Paul, you have a tendency to describe things strictly in black and white terms, as if there are no gray areas. You need to temper your expressions, lest you become too exclusive. Otherwise, your outlook will drive away many people, and make visitors feel unwelcome. Church growth is not promoted by taking such a hard line and remaining inflexible.

In the meantime, rejoice that we all share a common profession of faith in Christ, since we have all been baptized in his name.

Charles Phinney [fictional]
Coordinator, Committee on Missions

[Culled from Original source:]

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