By J. David Powlas
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the apostle Paul were to send a letter to a congregation of our “progressive” brethren asking them for support? After giving this matter much thought, I have written what I believe would be their reply to his request:
Dear Brother Paul,
We appreciate your interest in preaching, as was shown by your letter to us. However, we regret that we are unable to provide support for you at this time. To avoid any misunderstanding about this, we are listing the reasons for our decision.
(1) It has been brought to our attention that you wrote a letter to brother Timothy. This, in itself, is certainly not wrong. However, our source informs us that you stated in this letter that you were against helping widows. Brother Paul, aren’t you being a little narrow-minded?
(2) We have heard reports that all of your support is sent directly to you. This sounds very much like the common practice of those backward ‘antis’ who are constantly dividing faithful congregations. You aren’t one of them, are you, Brother Paul?
(3) Word has come to us of your speech at Mars Hill in Athens. We admire your wanting to straighten out those Greeks, but, we think you went about it in the wrong way. Really, brother Paul! Don’t you realize the harm you could have done by calling their worship ‘ignorant’? After all, we don’t want to hurt their feelings. They may be as honest and sincere as we are.
(4) We have read a letter from Brother Peter in which he mentions you. This is very suspicious! Isn’t he the fanatic who came up with that ‘speaking-as-the-oracles-of-God’ garbage? How ridiculous! Why, we don’t even have authority for our church building!
(5) The Corinthian brethren have told us about your opinion of ‘fellowship’ meals. They said that you designated ‘houses’ as the places for ‘eating and drinking’. Now, isn’t that going a bit too far? If it is wrong to eat in the church building, how else can we edify one another?
(6) In your letter, you said something about preaching ‘Jesus and Him crucified.’ That type of preaching is suitable for other churches, but not for us. We want a preacher who will keep us informed about all of the current social developments. In this day and age, preaching Jesus just isn’t practical. Surely, you know how people get tired of hearing the same thing over and over.
These are the reasons why we can’t help you at the present time. But, don’t be discouraged! When you have studied these matters and have changed your mind, we will consider sending some money to your congregation.
As we have previously stated, we would like to help you, but we can’t at this time. After all, we do have an image to keep up in our community. Besides, if we support you, we will have to delay paving the church parking lot. Now, you wouldn’t want to hinder the Lord’s work here, would you?
Yours in Christ, The Elders
Truth Magazine XX: 48, pp. 765-766
December 2, 1976