|- Bill Britton -
MYSTERY BABYLON DENOMINATION
FOREIGN MISSIONS BOARD
First Christian Church
Attn: Rev. Saul Paul
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 following reasons:
It has come to our attention that you are doing secular work on the side. We do not feel that making tents and 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 a high 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 Darius Carnegus’ book on “How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks.”
We understand that you do not agree with all the points in our constitution end 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 Arabia. 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 claimed immunity to harm from snakebite through a promise of Christ. It has also come to our attention that you preach much about “the Power of God” and “the gifts of the Spirit,” and 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. It would be better to tone down those more sensational forms of worship. You sound as though you are “off the deep end” and it has been proven to our satisfaction that you had hands laid on you at Antioch with prophecy going forth - with none of the Apostles or Headquarters brethren present to conduct this ordination services in the prescribed manner. You must remember that prophecy is a dangerous thing unless handled properly, and we fear that you are associated with that so-called “New Order of the Early Rain.” Stay away from that brand; it could ruin your ministry.
We see here that you have a jail record in several places. If this is true, it puts you in a bad light. 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 business men 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 Troas. 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 and had a rigid physical examination made - and instructed the church to carry sufficient liability insurance to take care of a situation like that. We need practical men in the ministry, Mr. Paul, not high strung emotional radicals. Our advice is for you to shorten your sermons considerably. We find that about twenty minutes is the longest a minister can hold the attention of his audience these days. Our motto is “Stand up, speak up, and shut up.”
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 co-operate 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 pass it on to the ministry? On top of all that, we hear that you are claiming to be an Apostle. We know nothing of this being passed upon by the proper authoritative channels, and wonder how you could back that claim up, when the last Apostle was voted into office right here in Jerusalem. That is a dangerous doctrine Mr. Paul, and I advise you to forget 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.
Most sincerely yours,
J. Flavios Fluffyhead
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