The below epistle was written at a writer’s workshop in 2009. I had the idea to write a modern-day letter in the style of Paul the Apostle, and that was about the extent of my involvement in this piece. Truly, I felt inspired. When I came to the end, I stared at the computer screen in wonder, because while I did remember typing the whole thing, I didn’t really remember writing it. I sought publication because it was required as part of the workshop, but my query letter was rejected. I’ve been holding on to this epistle since then, letting it wait until a publication clairvoyantly contacted me and requested it, I guess. Yesterday at church, I was inspired to update the ending a bit and post the whole thing here. It does no good sitting in a digital file, but perhaps someone, somewhere, will feel the prodding of the Spirit to share their testimony and give glory to God. Hosanna!
Angela, follower of Christ Jesus, to the dear brothers and sisters who are in the United States: Greetings! Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who, being not fearful of nor threatened by post-modern humans or their words, laws, or nuclear weapons, empowers us with His Spirit and charges us with the privilege of spreading the excellent news of His Resurrection and of the free gift of eternal life! For it is He who forsook His riches and glory to walk amongst us and to give Himself as the perfect, spotless sacrifice for our sins. For this and for all His many blessings upon His undeserving creation, be glory and honor unto Him both now and forevermore! Amen.
Brothers and sisters, what is this I hear of American Christians who, in the name of political correctness, keep their faith unto themselves only? Should we hide the light of life within our hearts as though it were ours to keep? May it never be!
Dear ones, be not deceived by the lying statement that it is better to preach the precious Gospel with our lives rather than with our words, which we should supposedly use only when necessary. For, it was not the respected evangelist St. Francis of Assisi, venerated champion of our cause, who burdened us with such worthless words1! Rather, his legacy stands as a shining example of the sort of follower our Christ dearly loves, and his very life disproves the wretched advice that so wrongly bears his name! For it was he who charged all who converted through his leadership “to follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps2.” Would such an individual then suggest that we abandon exactly what Christ commanded and lived?
Furthermore, I hear reports that some of you have actually built entire philosophies of proselytization upon such a heresy, and that you are, consequently, valuing your own comfort and earthly reputation more highly than the riches you would otherwise accrue in the life to come. Was it for your silence that Christ Jesus died? Did our Savior endure grief and sorrow so that you might treasure yourself more highly? Were His wounds inflicted so that they might be your personal secret?
Now let us discuss, in more human terms, the effectiveness of such a gross distortion of the Great Commission3. While keeping our lips firmly shut and living a respectable life, what service do we do to our religion? Do we not simply reflect the indulgent, permissive, and so-called politically-correct universalists who permeate our society and stand for nothing? As we imitate those around us in polite behavior, seeking to avoid offense, we nurture within us the damnable habit of filtering from our speech the Truth, and, in so doing, we hatefully deprive those lost in their sins of the revelatory knowledge of freedom in Christ. By our silence, we bury in our hearts the sole key to their shackles.
Dear Family, I write not with a spirit of condemnation, but rather out of an unbearable burden to destroy this epidemic of complacency that is so rapidly infecting the Church. Although it is true that we live in a time of religious spinelessness and moral relativity, we should not allow the cultural majority to hinder us in our obedience to the one true God. Too often, brothers and sisters, I have heard those who claim to love our Christ cite our country’s policy of religious freedom as a reason to keep silent. What irony! This sacred right, along with her glorious twin sister, Freedom of Speech, which was written by God into our earthly government’s Constitution, is the selfsame reason we should find ourselves unable to stop speaking!
But I do not admonish you, beloved, without first closely examining the heart and soul of the very same one who humbly composes this letter. For she who so boldly proclaims the truth of Christ in black and white also suffers greatly from the cultural climate which gave her birth. Although we are born into death, we are made alive through Christ, and this rebirth must generate within us a boldness to share what has given us the hope to look toward tomorrow. For it is to our shame that our brothers and sisters across the globe suffer not from a similar timidity, but rather speak plainly the name of Christ in the face of utter horror. Expecting torture and death as their only earthly repayment, these true followers proclaim all the more boldly the name of the only hope and salvation the world can ever know. How much more should we, who stand only to lose a friend or an argument, take advantage of the freedom so lovingly entrusted to us? For our gracious heavenly Father has seen fit to offer us this great gift; but, my dear ones, with great privilege comes great responsibility.
So it is with sincere humility and with immense fervor that I adjure you, sons and daughters of our great King, to treasure your Savior more highly than your friendships and to value your friends’ eternal future more highly than your own present comfort. For, when all is laid bare before our final Judge, He will judge us not by the number of friends we have collected, but rather by the number of sheep we have welcomed into the fold.
We must, therefore, look expectantly upward to the one and only source of our courage and comfort as we obediently fulfill the Great Commission, that is, to make disciples of all nations. For how else can we make disciples, if not with our mouths?
Remember those in chains for the Gospel. Brother Gao in China, who has suffered greatly for these last eight years, will surely benefit much from our prayers4. Also, remember our sister Asia in Pakistan, as she suffers greatly behind bars for the cause of Christ5. Perhaps, through their wounds and their witness, more precious ones will be brought into the Family.
Grace and peace be with you, dear ones, in the name of our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- Mark Galli, “Speak the Gospel,” Christianity Today. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/mayweb-only/120-42.0.html (accessed July 27, 2009).
- Encyclopædia Britannica, “Saint Francis of Assisi,” http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/216793/Saint-Francis-of-Assisi (accessed July 27, 2009).
- Matt. 28:16-20.
- The Voice of the Martyrs, PrisonerAlert.com, http://prisoneralert.com/ (accessed March 25, 2013).
©Angela Wade 2009-2013. All rights reserved.