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Reverend St. Paul

Independent Missionary

Corinth, Greece

Dear Mr. Paul,

We recently received an application from you for service under our board.  Sir, it is our policy to be as frank and as open minded as possible with all our applicants.  We have made an exhaustive survey of your case, and, to be plain, we are surprised that you have been able to pass as a bona fide missionary.

We are told that you are afflicted with severe eye trouble. This is certain to be an insuperable handicap to an effective ministry; our board requires 20/20 vision.  Dr. Luke reports that you are a thin little man, bald, frequently sick, and always so agitated over your churches that you sleep poorly.  He reports that you pad around the house praying half the night.  A healthy mind in a robust body is our ideal for all applicants.  A good night’s sleep will give you zest and zip, so that you will wake full of zing.  In one of your letters you refer to yourself as Paul, the aged.  Our new mission policies do not envisage a surplus of superannuated recipients.

At Antioch  we learn that you opposed  Dr. Simon Peter, an esteemed denominational secretary, and actually rebuked him publicly.  You stirred so much trouble at Antioch that a special board meeting had to be convened at Jerusalem.  We cannot condone such actions.  You caused so much trouble at Ephesus that they refer to you as the man that turned the world upside down.  Sensationalism in missions is uncalled for.  You have caused much trouble wherever you have gone.  You opposed the honorable women at Berea, and the leaders of your own nationality in Jerusalem.  We cannot condone such actions.  If a man cannot get along with his own people, how can he serve foreigners?

Do you think it seemly for a missionary to do part-time secular work?  We hear that you are making tents on the side.  In a letter to the church at Philippi, you admitted that they were the only church supporting you.  We wonder why. Is it true that you have jail record?  Certain brethren report that you did two years time in Ceasarea and were imprisoned at Rome.

You admit that while you were doing time in prison at Rome that all forsook you.  Good men are not left friendless. Three fine brothers by the name of Diatrophes, Demas, and Alexander, the coppersmith, have notarized affidavits to the effect that it is impossible for them to co-operate with either you or your program. We know that you had a bitter quarrel with a man named Barnabas. Harsh words do not further the work of God.

You wrote recently to Timothy that you had fought a good fight. Jesus came not to bring a sword, but peace.  You boast that, “I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus.”  What on earth do you mean?

You have written many letters to churches where you have formerly been pastor.  In one of these letters you accused one church member of living with his father’s wife: you caused the whole church to feel badly and the poor fellow was expelled.

You spend too much time about the second coming of Christ. Your letters to the people at Thessalonica were almost entirely devoted to this theme. In a recent sermon you said, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  It seems to us that you ought to glory in our heritage, our denominational program, and the great world federation of churches. Put first things first from now on.

We deplore the lurid over-the-wall-in-a-basket episode at Damascus.  We were appalled at your obvious lack of conciliatory behavior.  Diplomatic men are not stoned and dragged out of the city gate nor assaulted by angry mobs.  Have you ever suspected that gentler words might gain you more friends.

We understand that you are given to fantasies and dreams.  At Troas you saw a man of Macedonia, and at another time you were “caught up into the third heaven,” and even claimed that the LORD stood by you.  We reckon that more realistic minds are needed in the task of world evangelism.

Your ministry has been far too flighty to be successful.  First Asia Minor, then Italy, then to Spain.  Concentration is more important than dissipation of one’s powers; you cannot win the world by yourself.  You’re just one little Paul.

You sermons are much too long for the times.  At one place you talked until after midnight and a young man was so sleepy that he fell out of a window and broke his neck.  If nobody is saved after the first twenty minutes:  Stand up — speak up — then shut up — is our advice.

It hurts to tell you this, brother Paul, but in all my 25 years experience, I never meet a man so opposite to the requirements of our foreign mission board.

Most Sincerely yours,

J. Flavius Fluffyhead

Foreign Mission Board

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