I’ve had some thoughts stewing lately and have finally gotten them down in the form of a satire. Though I don’t want to give away the punch line, perhaps you can read the article by David Dockery after the fact and find out what I’m responding to. I plan on submitting the piece below to an online site, so please do not distribute it. I hope that this article stirs your mind and emotions while giving you a good chuckle.
The Excommunication of Paul
The following satire is in no way a negative commentary on Judaism or its relation to Christianity. My chief concern is the interaction of Christianity with culture. This article is in part a response to the article by David Dockery, “When Piety Is Not Enough.”
Glory be to God the Father above who gives us the truth and who allows us to grow in the knowledge of him. It is through possessing and guarding the purity of this truth that our relationship with the Lord prospers.
Our dearest brother, we are very excited to read how God has prospered your ministry and has brought many to a knowledge of him. We pray that God will mercifully guide you back to Jerusalem in complete safety, for we know that storms abound on the Great Sea at this time of year.
The occasion for this letter our dear brother is that we have heard some disturbing news about your teachings and doctrine. We are sure that it is all a misunderstanding and that you will continue to follow the true teaching that we profess and guard. Yet being that we have the daunting office of guarding pure Judeo-Christianity, we must confront you on several accounts. For various doctrinal positions exist on the way of Christ, but Judeo-Christianity is the true doctrine that we must protect.
As you well know, our Savior was born a Jew and preached his Gospel among Jews. All of his early followers were Jews and those in the highest Apostolic offices are all of Jewish lineage. Though it has been a rather difficult transition to navigate, we are doing our best to share the Gospel with Greeks on the Jewish terms in which The Way has been imbedded. It is our firm conviction that the Gospel must be preached in terms of our rich Jewish faith that we all trust you place tremendous confidence in. The Greeks must adopt the Jewish expressions of our faith, for to do any less would be to invite the very destruction of Jesus’ message. The only true understanding of The Way must be in keeping with the teaching of our Judaizing associates.
And this brings us to the point of our letter. We have heard about several clashes between yourself and our Judaizing associates. Is it true that you actually told a Gentile congregation, “To the Greeks I have become like the Greeks”? Are you not aware of the dangers in such accommodation to Greek culture? Can you truly believe that you remain a Judeo-Christian while arguing for such a blatant abandonment of Judaism? Do you not realize that Greek culture is antithetical to the Gospel since it believes in a pantheon of gods and has unbridled immorality?
What is worse than this is that you tell Greeks who would profess to follow our Lord that they need not abstain from consuming meat sacrificed to idols, making them double hounds of hell in their Greek accommodation and disdainfully pagan practices! In fact, in your attempt to “become like a Greek” you have even shared that you despise your Jewish heritage, considering it all for loss. And yet, it is this Jewish heritage and culture that bears the purest expression of our doctrine!
We are also greatly alarmed to hear of your sermon on Mars Hill in the hellish city of Athens. Though your speech was rich in quotations from pagan literature that is vile and of no use to Judeo-Christians, we have no record of you directly quoting a passage of scripture. Is it possible that you have reduced the role of the Bible in your ministry to a mere footnote at the end of your message? Surely even you can see that you have fallen down a slippery slope away from Judeo-Christianity in your neglect to cite the Bible in your teachings.
You may have love, but we have the truth. The truth is what sets us free, while you have accommodated to the Greek culture with your emphasis on love. Piety is simply not enough. To have only piety is like a loud drum that makes a lot of noise, but never truly follows the score of the music, rendering it of no use. To have love apart from the doctrine of Judeo-Christianity is to ultimately have nothing. They’ll know we are Judeo-Christians by our doctrine.
Are you not aware that you are sacrificing the pure doctrinal foundation of Judeo-Christianity? You have accommodated to a culture that is completely antithetical to the Gospel message. The world is going to hell and yet you persist in playing backgammon with the Greeks!
If you dare to continue teaching a doctrine other than the pure Gospel message that is encapsulated in the Jewish culture, may you forever be anathema from Judeo-Christianity! You may call yourself a follower of our Lord, but you are surely not one of us. During our next meeting we will be voting on whether or not you should be excommunicated from our society. Your doctrine places you on the outside of our group and any hope of reinstatement rests solely on your return to the purity of our teaching on our terms.
and The Judeo-Christian Theological Society