Saturday, October 29, 2016

When Paul applied to be a missionary

This made up letter by the Antioch Missionary board made me chuckle:

Dear Dr. Paul,

We have received your application to serve with our mission. Unfortunately, the board was unanimous in deciding not to accept you as a candidate with our mission. We want to be as honest as possible, so that you can address what we see as some serious deficiencies in your character and past service.

First, we understand that you have never had sufficient financial support in your missionary labors. Working on the side to support yourself is unacceptable to this board. If a man does not have the faith to trust God for full support, we think that he is not qualified to serve on the mission field.

Second, we have heard that you have been brash and outspoken about your own views. Specifically, we heard that you publicly criticized Dr. Simon Peter and that you contended so strongly with some of our ministers that a special council had to be convened at Jerusalem to prevent a church split. We cannot condone such radicalism. We are enclosing a copy of Darius Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks.” We encourage you to read it.

Also, we understand that you have not graduated from an accredited seminary. We are glad that you learned a lot during your three years in Arabia, but that does not count. Also, in our background check, we discovered that you used to be a violent man to the point of persecuting the church. Even since your conversion, you have been in jail on more than one occasion. You caused so much trouble for the businessmen of Ephesus that it led to a riot. If it were an isolated incident, that might be one thing. But a pattern of causing enough trouble to lead to your being beaten on several occasions and even being stoned once shows an underlying problem on your part. We would advise a counseling program where you could learn some basic relational skills.

Our background check further revealed that you have numerous critics and enemies, even in some of the churches that you supposedly founded. Some of those critics in Corinth challenge whether it was you or Apollos who had the most influence there. We also learned the details about your falling out with the fine young minister, John Mark, and your refusal to cooperate with Barnabas. We have talked with Hymenaeus and Alexander, who said that you delivered them over to Satan! We believe that such extreme measures are uncalled for! A more tolerant and less judgmental approach would be more in the spirit of our gentle Savior.

Apart from these serious flaws, we have heard that you are prone to preach too long, not being sensitive to your audience. We heard that one young man actually fell to his death while you droned on and on! You need to get in tune with the younger generation that has been raised on TV. Fifteen-minute sermons are the maximum that they can endure. We advise you to use more stories and less doctrine in your messages. Have you considered using a drama team instead of a sermon once in a while?

You admit on your application that you cannot remember those whom you have baptized. A good record-keeping system would help you to be more organized. Also, your resume shows that you have never ministered in one place longer than three years. This pattern of moving on to new works shows that you lack perseverance. Our staff psychologist also suggests that it may reflect a pattern of running from your problems rather than a commitment to work through them.

We share all of these things out of love and concern for you. We want you to succeed in whatever the Lord has for you. But we strongly believe that you would do best in something other than missions. The stresses of the mission field could lead to a complete nervous breakdown. Perhaps a good Christian counselor could help you begin to work through some of these problems. We wish you God’s best.

Sincerely, The Antioch Mission Board


1 comments:

Unknown said...

This is brilliant Bill! Thanks for this, it gives hope the most bumbling and reckless among us!

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