(13) He finally did come back to church headquarters in Jerusalem, where some of the more sensible brethren tried to get him to straighten up so that "everyone will know that those rumours that they heard about you are nothing; but that you also obey our customs and keep the mosaic law." (Acts 21:24) As far as I can see, that was really his last chance to conform to normality, but he blew it this one last time and started such a riot and uproar in the city that the military had to be called in to stop it!
(14) His enemies there accused him, saying, "this is the man that teaches all men everywhere against our people and our religious laws! HE EVEN TALKS AGAINST OUR TEMPLE!" (Acts 21:28) Paul began to deny these charges, but fortunately he was thrown into PRISON before he could cause any more trouble! (See Acts 21:26-33)
(15) Later, while on trial, standing in chains, he had the audacity to try to convert King Agrippa who was judging him. "Paul said, 'I pray to god that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.'" (Acts 26:27-28) The other King, King Festus, who was sitting there listening, realised that Paul was obviously mentally unstable! "AND AS HE SPOKE, FESTUS SHOUTED, 'PAUL, YOU ARE CRAZY! YOUR LONG STUDYING HAS DRIVEN YOU INSANE!'" (Acts 26:24) A very accurate judgement, I would say, from OUR traditional viewpoint! Too bad for that to happen to such an intelligent and educated man!
So much for these lurid facts from LUKE'S letter! Even MORE revealing are personal letters that Paul has written HIMSELF! Here are but a few examples:
(16) Listen to this personal confession he makes: "ON FIVE SEPARATE OCCASIONS, THE JEWS GAVE ME A BEATING OF 39 LASHES!" (2Corinthians 11:24)--In other words, altogether he was WHIPPED on the back 195 times! Now let's be honest, why would God have ALLOWED him to be beaten so BADLY and so OFTEN if he was really a good Christian? Well, it should be obvious to anyone who holds OUR views that he could NOT be!
(17) His confession continues: "THREE TIMES I WAS BEATEN WITH RODS, ONCE WAS I STONED, THREE TIMES I WAS SHIPWRECKED." (2Corinthians 11:25) As you know, Sir, all of OUR preachers and missionaries are quiet, settled- down members of society, and have NEVER exposed themselves to any foolish danger of this sort! Jesus PROMISED that Christians would suffer persecution for His Name's sake (Matthew 5:1O-12), but just between you and me, Mr. Goodie, that is ONE time when I think our Lord was WRONG. But... er...don't tell anyone I said that.
(18) I understand that Paul is given to FANTASIES and DREAMS. First, he said a "BRIGHT LIGHT FROM HEAVEN" caused him to fall to the earth, then he heard "A VOICE CALLING HIS NAME". And at Troas, he "SAW A MAN OF MACEDONIA" in a dream, and at another time he was "TAKEN UP TO THE THIRD HEAVEN", and even claimed "THE LORD STOOD BESIDE HIM"! In MY opinion, more REALISTIC and PRACTICAL minds are needed in the task of World evangelisation. (See Acts 22:6-10; 16:9-10; 2Corinthians 12:1-7)
(19) And why, might I ask, did he find it necessary to CHANGE his NAME and take on an ALIAS? It may shock you to know that his REAL name is NOT "PAUL" at all, but actually "SAUL"! (See Acts 13:2,9,13.)
(20) Finally, here is the most SHOCKING discovery that I made while investigating Paul. Did you know that Paul's personal letters and teachings have been gathered together and published in a BOOK, and that this book is on sale in bookstores ALL OVER THE WORLD?! I almost became sick when I realised that MILLIONS of fine church-goers, believing them to be good Christian teachings, have COPIES of this book in their very HOMES! No doubt you have heard of it; it's called the "NEW TESTAMENT"!
Fortunately, almost NONE of the members of OUR fine church ever READ this book, so I doubt if they have been perverted by his erroneous teachings.--I certainly haven't! And now that I am aware of the worthless kind of ruffians that have written it, I am thankful that I never bothered to take the time to read it! I certainly would not want MY Christianity to be guided by the teachings of such madmen and charlatans!
It hurts me to tell you this, Mr. Goodie, but in all of my 25 years of investigating missionary applicants, I have NEVER come across a man so directly OPPOSITE of what WE require of OUR foreign missionaries! If we accepted Paul, we would break every rule that we have followed for years!
In closing, I would like to recommend that
In summary, the main charges that St. Paul's enemies and critics levelled against him were: that he continually created riots, disturbed church services, undermined society, that he was constantly engaged in illegal activities which resulted in repeated imprisonment, and was some kind of a criminal always on the run from the legal authorities.--All lies!
All these accusations levelled against ST. PAUL sound STRANGELY FAMILIAR to the accusations and lies that are sometimes told about US, don't they? We have been accused of being "a menace to society", of being "fanatics" who are opposed to the government, the church and educational institutions. We've been called "an illegal sect" which seeks to undermine the moral values of society!--Exactly what PAUL'S AND JESUS' accusers said about THEM!--All LIES of the Devil!
On and on go their ridiculous accusations: According to them, we are criminals who are trying to evade the law, rebels bent on disturbing the peace and creating disorder. Because some of our missionaries have at times been imprisoned for preaching the Gospel in "closed countries", they howl that we must have been doing something illegal! They even go so far as to say that we don't even believe in God or the Bible! Can you IMAGINE such an accusation?! Nothing could be FURTHER from the truth, as you who know us WELL can certainly testify!--These are all DEVILISH LIES!
As we say, all of these accusations against US sound like the same lies that PAUL'S enemies brought against HIM!--And the REASON for this is because WE'RE doing the same thing as PAUL did: We are FULL-TIME, ACTIVE missionaries who have dedicated our lives to winning the World with the Love of Jesus, just like Paul did! So of course, we suffer the SAME kind of persecution that HE suffered from the SAME kind of bitter, jealous, hypocritical enemies! Jesus said, "A STUDENT is not greater than his TEACHER. A SERVANT is not above his MASTER. The student shares his teacher's fate. The servant shares his master's! And since I, the Master of the household, have been called 'Satan', how much more will YOU! But don't be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when the Truth will be revealed: Their secret plots will become public information." (Matthew 10:24-26)
St. Paul, along with St. Peter, were the two greatest Apostles and founding fathers of the Christian Church! Could it be wrong then to follow their examples? NO! In fact, Paul even SAID, "Be ye followers of ME, even as I also am of CHRIST!" (1Corinthians 11:1)--So we are following Paul's example!--And with the SAME motives and for the SAME reasons: To share God's Love with others! It should hardly be surprising then, that our enemies lie about US just like the Apostles' enemies lied about THEM. Jesus said, "BLESSED are you when you are REVILED and PERSECUTED and LIED about for My sake! Remember, the PROPHETS were persecuted TOO!" (Matthew 5:11)--Are YOU persecuted for Jesus' sake?
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