If Paul were applying as a candidate to a mission board today…
Mr. Saul Paul
Dear Mr. Paul:
We recently received an application from you for service under our board. It is our
policy to be as frank and open-minded as possible with all our applicants. We now
have an exhaustive case history of your activities.
Frankly, we are surprised that you have been able to pass as a bona fide missionary.
We are told that you are afflicted with a severe eye disorder which is certain to be
an insuperable obstacle and handicap to an effective ministry. Our board requires
20/20 vision, both eyes, from all applicants.
Is it true that you have a jail record? Certain brethren report that you did 2 year’s
time at Caesarea and were also imprisoned in Rome. You are also accused of making
so much trouble for the businessmen of Ephesus that they refer to you as “the
man who turned the world upside down.” Such sensationalism has no place in our
mission, and we continue to deplore your lurid “over-the-wall-in-a-basket” episode
We are appalled at your obvious lack of conciliatory behavior. Diplomatic men are
not stoned and dragged out of the city gate or assaulted by furious mobs. Have you
ever suspected that gentler words might gain you friends? I am enclosing a copy of
the Daleios Carnegus’s book entitled “How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks.”
Your ministry has been far too flighty to be successful: first into Asia Minor, then
Macedonia, then Greece, then Italy, and now you are considering a wild-goose chase
into Spain. Concentration is more important than dissipation of one’s powers. You
cannot win the whole world by yourself; you are just one little Paul.
In a recent sermon, you said, “God forbid that I should glory in anything save
the cross of Christ.” It seems to us that you might also glory in our heritage, our
denominational program, the unified budget, etc. And, also, who do you think you
are, trying to tell people you long to impart some spiritual blessing to them?
Are they not educated enough to care for themselves?
Dr. Luke reports that you are a little man, bald, frequently sick, and always so
agitated over your little churches that you sleep very poorly. He also reports that
you fidget around the house half the night praying. A healthy mind in a robust body
is necessary for all our applicants.
You wrote recently to Timothy that you had “fought a good fight.” Fighting is hardly
a recommendation for a missionary. No fight is a good fight. Jesus came not to bring
a sword but peace. You boast that you fought with wild beasts at Ephesus. What on
earth do you mean?
It hurts me to tell you this, brother Paul, but in all my 25 years’ experience, I have
never met a man so opposite to the requirements of our Foreign Mission Board. If
we accept you, we would break every rule of modern missionary practice.
Heady N. Highminded
Director, Faithless Mission Agency
(James D. Hubbard, Vista, November 2, 1980)