Subject: Continued Discussion of the Saul of Tarsus Problem
I wish to finish some thoughts from our discussion prior to the holiday and before I leave for sabbatical. There are various ways to minimize Saul. I feel we should continue to refer to him by his Jewish name, Saul, and point up his inability to accommodate himself to the Judaizers among us, as well as his apparent refusal to pretend to like what he seems to despise, including you and me.
It is my feeling we can attack him at the point of his writings. How does a supposedly busy pastor/church planter have time to write all these letters? You and I scarcely write anything but memos to one another. Why does a pastor/church planter need a stylus and a scroll, anyway?
A good portion of Saul's writings seem to be little more than explaining his own ministry and defending his reputation. How good can he be if he spends his time refuting our concerns about him? After all, we never say these things directly to him. I think, as you do, it is better we express our concerns about Saul to others when he is not present, to give others the opportunity to decide if he is the face they want for the church. Would it not be better to have someone like you or me to make decisions for them? They will scarcely allow us a place at all if they listen to Saul.
Granted, we have not yet produced the numbers of converts or planted churches like Saul. My gifts are more administrative, the whispered voice in the uncertain ear. You are well presented as a Temporary Shepherd, moving in with your prepared program where others planted. I know how hard it is for you to make the kind of living you want when the local churches ask you to move on so they can have a real pastor. I feel the same way when someone asks me how I utilize the resources they make available for my work, as well. It is not for the field workers to question men like you or me. They should just do their work and channel funds to us. We do not ask more than this of them. They feel better when they need neither think nor choose.
So, I think we can attack Saul at the point of his constant writings, which demonstrate both thought and energy. He has written to Corinth repeatedly, to Phillipi, to Ephesus. I hear he is trying to co-opt young Timothy. He is even writing to a slave owner. You and I scarcely write at all, or preach or anything of the sort. Saul should get on with his work. Let us constantly question his writing ministry and so attack his work ethic.
After all, no one will remember his writings a hundred years from now.