[Bro Al forwarded this letter. It’s been around the ‘net a while, but
modified a bit and brought a wry smile]
Dear Reverend Paul,
We recently received an application from you for service under our mission
board. It is our policy to be frank and open as possible with all our
applicants. We have made an exhaustive survey of your case. To be plain, 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 trouble. This is certain
to be an insuperable handicap to an effective ministry. We require 20-20
Do you think it proper for a missionary to do part-time secular work? We
hear that you are making tents on the side. In a letter to the Church at
Philippi you admitted that they were the only church supporting you. We
Is it true that you have a jail record? A background check uncovered data
that you did two years at Caesarea, and you were later imprisoned at home.
You made so much trouble for the businessmen at Ephesus that they refer to
you as “the man who turned the world upside down!” Sensationalism has no
place in missions. We also deplore the lurid over-the-wall episode at
Damascus. 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
more friends? I enclose copy of Dalius Carnagus’ book, “How to Win Jews and
In one of your letters you refer to yourself as Paul the Aged. Our new
missions policies do not anticipate a surplus of elderly recipients. We
understand too, that you are given to fantasies and dreams. At Troas you saw
a “Man of Macedonia” and at another time you were “caught up into the third
heaven” and even claimed that “The Lord stood by you.” We reckon that more
realistic and practical minds are needed in the task of world evangelism.
You have written many letters to churches where you have formerly been
pastor. In one of those letters you accused a church member of living with
his father’s wife, and you caused the whole church to feel badly and the
poor fellow was expelled.
Your ministry has been far too flighty to be successful. First, Asia Minor,
then Macedonia, then Greece, then Italy, and now you are talking about a
wild goose chase to 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 also ought to glory in our heritage, our denominational program, and the
Your sermons are much too long for the time. At one place you preached until
after midnight and a young man was so sleepy that he fell out of the window
and broke his neck. Nobody is ‘saved’ after the first 20 minutes. “Stand up,
speak up, and then shut up,” is our advice. If you can’t strike oil after
the first 20 minutes, stop boring!
Dr. Luke reports that you are a thin little man, frequently sick, and always
agitated over your churches so that you sleep very poorly. He reports that
you pace around the house, praying half the night. A healthy mind in a
robust body is ideal for all our applicants. A good night’s sleep will give
you zeal and zip so that you wake up full of zing!
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 “I fought
with wild beasts at Ephesus.” What on earth do you mean?
It hurts me to tell you this, Brother Paul, but in all the 25 years of
experience I have never met a man so opposite to the requirements of modern
Most Sincerely Yours,
Secretary, John the Baptist Mission Agency
Dr Bob Griffin
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”