A letter

A scholar friend was visiting a monastery looking for lost manuscripts.  He didn’t find any, until one day he noticed that the lunch table had a piece of paper jammed underneath to keep the legs balanced.  The paper contained the following letter, which he has translated for us.  This letter has not seen the light of day in almost two thousand years.  It is apparently a response to Saint Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.  My friend theorizes that, given the tone of Paul’s Second letter, it must never have reached him.

Reverend Paul O. Tarsus

5263 Tiberius St.

Ephesus, Aisia Minor, 99744

Dear Reverend Tarsus

Your letter, in which you express concern about one of our members living arrangements has been received.  Thank you for sharing your concerns with my office.

I am sure you realize that I genuinely share your concerns that we not cause offense in the church.  We share your deep concern for the gospel, and we hope that we can continue together in common Mission.

At the same time, it is exceedingly important that you understand the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves.  First, let me make clear that we do not at all consider it “sexual immorality” as you have said.  The pastor in question spoke to me several times before the man moved in with the woman whom you call “his father’s wife”.  At the time they moved in together, his parents were in fact, divorced.  In addition, they have assured me that they are very much in love and committed to this relationship.  Unfortunately, financial difficulties prevent marriage at this time, but they fully plan to enter marriage when the time is right.

Beyond this, I think it is important that we always focus on the gospel.  Did our Lord not say, “neither do I condemn you” to the woman caught in adultery?  Also, while the old Mosaic law had prohibited degrees of consanguinity, you are no doubt aware of the recent resolution of the Jerusalem convention, prepared by Peter himself, in which he writes, “Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law’ — to whom we gave no such commandment.”  I am sure you will see from this that the Mosaic law is no longer binding, thanks to the glorious freedom which the gospel has given us.  If you have not read the document, I suggest you download it and read it.

In addition, as you are aware, admission to the Sacrament of the Altar falls clearly within that pastors pastoral discretion.  As the CTCR has said regarding these pastoral judgments, “charity must prevail.”

Finally, I must remind you, that under the synod bylaws to which you have voluntarily sworn yourself, before you make any charges of this sort, you must initiate a face-to-face contact meeting.  Without that meeting, there could be no further action on my part, even if I did find that this situation warrants any action.  If you continue to write and speak publicly about this, I will have no choice but to speak to your own district president regarding your status on the roster of synod.

I ask that you would join me in praying that God would give us the boldness to speak his Gospel in these troubled times.  However, we must be careful not to burden consciences, a point you yourself make in your letter to us.  Rather, let us bear with our weaker brother in all things, that we may win his soul.

I certainly appreciate your concerns.  Rest assured I am committed to a deep and lasting dialogue on this issue.

Fraternally,

Dr. Herman Nootic

President, Early Church-Asia Minor Synod.

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2 Responses to “A letter”

  1. Now THAT is a parable! 🙂

  2. Dude, you’re a genius.

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