What if Paul wrote the Letter to the Galatians today?

We found the following on the web on sacredsandwich.com, and found it a thought provoking piece on what the contemporary reaction might be if Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians and submitted it to Christianity Today for publication. It’s obviously satire, but it makes one think about the reaction of people to our call for a return to doctrine. If you are not acquainted with Paul’s letter to the Galatians we recommend you review at least the first two chapters and this satire will make more sense (Gal 1:1-2:21).

If Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was Published in Christianity Today
Posted on 20 February 2009

Dear Christianity Today:

In response to Paul D. Apostle’s article about the Galatian church in your January issue, I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone of this hit piece. Why the negativity? Has he been to the Galatian church recently? I happen to know some of the people at that church, and they are the most loving, caring people I’ve ever met.
Phyllis Snodgrass; Ann Arbor, MI

Dear Editor:
How arrogant of Mr. Apostle to think he has the right to judge these people and label them accursed. Isn’t that God’s job? Regardless of this circumcision issue, these Galatians believe in Jesus just as much as he does, and it is very Pharisaical to condemn them just because they differ on such a secondary issue. Personally, I don’t want a sharp instrument anywhere near my zipper, but that doesn’t give me the right to judge how someone else follows Christ. Can’t we just focus on our common commitment to Christ and furthering His kingdom, instead of tearing down fellow believers over petty doctrinal matters?
Ed Bilgeway; Tonganoxie, KS

Dear CT:
I’ve seen other dubious articles by Paul Apostle in the past, and frankly I’m surprised you felt that his recurrent criticisms of the Church deserved to be printed in your magazine. Mr. Apostle for many years now has had a penchant for thinking he has a right to “mark” certain Christian teachers who don’t agree with his biblical position. Certainly I commend him for desiring to stay faithful to God’s word, but I think he errs in being so dogmatic about his views to the point where he feels free to openly attack his brethren. His attitude makes it difficult to fully unify the Church, and gives credence to the opposition’s view that Christians are judgmental, arrogant people who never show God’s love.
Ken Groener; San Diego, CA

To the Editors:
Paul Apostle says that he hopes the Galatian teachers will cut off their own privates? What kind of Christian attitude is that? Shame on him!
Martha Bobbitt; Boulder, CO

Dear Christianity Today:
The fact that Paul Apostle brags about his public run-in with Peter Cephas, a well-respected leader and brother in Christ, exposes Mr. Apostle for the divisive figure that he has become in the Church today. His diatribe against the Galatian church is just more of the same misguided focus on an antiquated reliance on doctrine instead of love and tolerance. Just look how his hypercritical attitude has cast aspersions on homosexual believers and women elders! The real problem within the Church today is not the lack of doctrinal devotion, as Apostle seems to believe, but in our inability to be transformed by our individual journeys in the Spirit. Evidently, Apostle has failed to detach himself from his legalistic background as a Pharisee, and is unable to let go and experience the genuine love for Christ that is coming from the Galatians who strive to worship God in their own special way.
William Zenby; Richmond, VA

Kind Editors:
I happen to be a member of First Christian Church of Galatia, and I take issue with Mr. Apostle’s article. How can he criticize a ministry that has been so blessed by God? Our church has baptized many new members and has made huge in-roads in the Jewish community with our pragmatic view on circumcision. Such a “seeker-sensitive” approach has given the Jews the respect they deserve for being God’s chosen people for thousands of years. In addition, every Gentile in our midst has felt honored to engage in the many edifying rituals of the Hebrew heritage, including circumcision, without losing their passion for Jesus. My advice to Mr. Apostle is to stick to spreading the gospel message of Christ’s unconditional love, and quit criticizing what God is clearly blessing in other churches.
Miriam “Betty” Ben-Hur; Galatia, Turkey

EDITOR’S NOTE: Christianity Today apologizes for our rash decision in publishing Paul Apostle’s exposé of the Galatian church. Had we known the extent in which our readership and advertisers would withdraw their financial support, we never would have printed such unpopular biblical truth. We regret any damage we may have caused in propagating the doctrines of Christ.

Originally published at http://sacredsandwich.com/archives/2781

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.


What if Paul wrote the Letter to the Galatians today? — 5 Comments

  1. This is why satire is so useful. Through humor it points out what we oftentimes fail to see in reality. Unfortunately, satire oftentimes ends up being reality rather than critiquing it, as in this case.

  2. “Brothers” of John the Steadfast,

    How DARE you publish a satire piece that suggests the Church is not completely united? Are you aware that pointing out areas of disagreement is the MAJOR cause of division? Why can’t you be more loving?

    And you call yourselves “Brothers”.


  3. Pastor Joshua Scheer on another list found an earlier copy (from 2005) of this from the same site that we found it on. It has a better summary of why this satire was written, which I’ve reproduced below:

    In all seriousness, these fictitious “Letters to the Editor” are not far removed from the current sentiments that go against many Christian apologists today— especially against those who endeavor to make Scripture the guiding rule of the Church. More and more, subjective feelings and emotions are superceding the authority of Scripture in matters of doctrine. We should not be influenced by this prevailing notion that loving Christians, like Paul, cannot (or should not) engage in legitimate disagreements concerning our faith and practice. Christ and His apostles have set a biblical standard in which we can rightly judge and discern the validity of every new teaching that comes into the Church. As it says in 1 Timothy 4:1, 6, 16: “…The Spirit explicitly states that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following…Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”

    Basing our theological beliefs on a sincere assessment of Scripture may not always bring us perfect understanding, but at least we are striving to be grounded in God’s word, and not upon the feebleness of human wisdom or experience. If and when Christians disagree, let us always strive to define our particular beliefs on the teachings of Scripture alone. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “The best way to promote (Christian) union is to promote truth.” God’s word is truth!

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