Anyway, I cannot reveal here how the following came into my possession. I will only say, for the record, that I did not write it. I wouldn't want to take credit for something that isn't my own.
Don't forget to note the acronym at the end...
[The following document, written in Koine Greek on a surprisingly intact sheet of fine vellum, was recently found in a drawer in the British Museum, where it had lain uncatalogued for an unknown time. Scholarly opinion is divided, but some experts believe that it may have been a document that was considered and then rejected for inclusion in the fourteenth chapter of Acts. It is translated here for the first time.]
Dear Brother Paul,
We were grieved to hear of the commotion caused when you and Barnabas were here last month. Though we are, of course, grateful that you suffered no bodily harm, we feel it our duty to point out that what you were doing was in every way calculated to inflame strong passions and to incite violence. Because we love you as brethren, we feel it necessary to “show unto you a more excellent way,” lest your actions should cause a breach in the excellent relations we enjoy with the Jewish community here and in our sister cities to the south, Lystra and Derbe.
First, it is reported that you and Barnabas entered a synagogue. You of all people must understand that this placed you in a sensitive position. It is one thing to speak on a public street – sensitively, of course – but it is quite another to go forcing one’s way into the very house of worship of our Jewish friends. Ask yourselves: what would Jesus do? Would he have caused trouble in the Temple itself?
Second, it is reported that when you and Barnabas had entered the synagogue, you began openly preaching the gospel. Brethren, this is out of character with the behavior of our blessed Lord and Saviour, who, as the prophet Isaiah foretold, “opened not his mouth” – a moving description that we have taken as our motto for the Ministerial Society.
Third, it is reported that you engaged in this activity for an extended period of time, speaking boldly and with confidence. We entreat you: was there any need for this? Was there not a time and a place for sharing your convictions that would have been more compatible with the excellent advice you yourself have been known to give from time to time, that “all things might be done decently and in order”?
Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that the civil authorities and a sizeable portion of the religious population joined forces to prevent your actions. Without seeming to condone any violence you might have suffered, we feel compelled to point out that we in the Ministerial Society have never been the focus of such actions from either the civil or the religious direction. Indeed, several of the leading Rabbis here in Iconium have assured us that they have not the least problem with the manner in which we conduct ourselves.
This manner of conduct we earnestly commend to you. There is no need for you to suffer for your faith, whether out of misplaced piety or a juvenile desire for public attention. Our God, who is able to make the rocks cry out His praises, neither requires nor is glorified by brash attempts to proclaim His word in unseasonable circumstances. It is better – safer, and, we think, wiser – to remember the words of the preacher, that there is “a time for silence.”
M. W. T. Rollos, secretary
Worship, Iconium! Ministerial Peace Society
“... ουκ ανοιγει το στομα αυτου”