Wanted: A Faithful Apostle
MYSTERY BABYLON DENOMINATION FOREIGN MISSIONS BOARD
Rev. Saul Paul
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 following reasons:
1. 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.
2. 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 Daius' Carnegus book on "How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks."
3. 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 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 claim immunity to harm from snake bites 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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 let you know if it is correct or not?
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.
Sincerely, Simon Magus