Sunday, July 18, 2010

New manuscript discovery (satire)

Those of you who have been following the outrageous treatment of Christian missionaries in Dearborn, MI, through my coverage at W4 or at the blog of Acts 17 ministries may or may not be aware that the Acts 17 guys and their friends have had a fair bit of their time wasted--on blogs, on Facebook, etc.--answering Christian "friends" who accuse them of being "too confrontational," etc., and hence getting themselves in trouble. (Never mind the rule of law, the freedom of religion, the mandate to proclaim the gospel, and all that. We're busy proving how hard we can be on fellow Christians who have the audacity to run afoul of the sharia police.)

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”


Anonymous said...

I agree with your theory that the police were waiting for a crowd to form around 'Acts17'. That scenario makes sense of several unexplained details. In another Acts17/Dearborn video, the teens are clearly in cahoots with security, snatching the (Muslim) pamphlet out of Nabeel's? hand, to make it appear that Acts17 was leafleting in the fairgrounds. (When and why did that become illegal anyway!)

Obviously, security and police could have arranged for a willing group to entrap Nabeel and David. I still think the youth were taken aback by Nabeel's answers and the respectful and loving attitude that he had towards them.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that I didn't hear any complaints by the youth about these men getting arrested as they dialogued with them. Were they not taught about our American rights and freedoms, our constitution in school? Did they not realize that they were witnessing a travesty before them? Just what are they teaching in the schools in Dearborn?!

Lydia McGrew said...

That was last year's video where the guy tried to "trap" Nabeel into passing out literature. There it was Muslim/festival security. It is truly frightening to think that this year it may be the "real" police engaging in such tactics and colluding in this way with antagonistic Muslims. Imagine what would have happened if Negeen had been arrested (for what?) and then David and Nabeel had happened simply to walk away with their falafel and leave the festival before a "crowd gathered" around them! (The glimpses one catches of them in the video just before she is arrested show them walking around, just the two of them, with nobody around them.) The police would have been left with Negeen in custody and no story to tell about crowds or anything else. I suppose they could have made up the same lies about her that they have now made up, but it would have looked awfully strange. My guess is that in that case they wouldn't have charged her (and the arresting officer told her, she says, that she wouldn't be charged) and would have hoped that the whole thing would just blow over.

I've tried to figure out of the policeman telling David he's "fine" is or isn't the same one who arrested Negeen, but I can't tell, because we catch such brief glimpses of him in the video where he's shaking David's hand and telling him he's "fine." But if that policeman, whoever he was, knew they were going to be arrested, he must be setting them up: Deliberately telling them they are "fine" in order to _keep them there_ for the more aggressive questioning that is going to come from the young men around them followed by the arrest. (When he says, twice, "No, no, you're fine," Nabeel is talking with a Christian convert and praying over him.)

As for what the youth think: It's obvious that the Muslims of Dearborn believe it's illegal to "preach" during the festival except at booths. The police are working hard to make that true. Constitution, shmonstitution. The young men were probably proud to be involved in the arrest.

Hope you liked the satire. I think it's hilarious.

William Luse said...

I like the satire and get the acronym. So, how did the above come into your possession?

Lydia McGrew said...

How does the saying go, Bill? I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you? Not that I actually like that saying. I don't like to refer to killing my friends, even in jest.

Matthew Tompsett said...

Im tempted so tempted - but last year where were any mentions of Christ to the Muslims - Im still trying to find any in the videos from last year and im also trying to find the video that you mentioned to the Muslim youth about last years security - would you mind linking it to me

But lest you think im being trashy - I do want to compliment you on this years video - you were answering their questions and preaching the Gospel its a shame you couldnt do that last year

Lydia McGrew said...

Oh, look, a "Christian" troll. I wonder what Matthew Tompsett is "tempted, oh, so tempted" to do? It can't be to write a brilliant satire along the lines of the one in the main post, as Matthew Tompsett appears to be incapable either of finding his shift or apostrophe key or of discovering that I am not a member of Acts 17 and was not present at any of the events in question.

Matthew Tompsett, if you have seen Acts 17's video from last year, then you've seen the youth coming up and trying to entrap them into passing literature, because Acts 17 explains in text below the video what is going on.

Yeah, isn't it a shame that they didn't get a chance to preach Jesus Christ last year? They were driven out early on by a Muslim security mob who threatened them with unspecified physical violence if they didn't "keep walking." As Nabeel said, it seemed to be going better this year. For a while.

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Madeleine said...

Oh that was wonderful! I seriously enjoyed it and have not laughed that hard for a while.

Lydia McGrew said...

Ha! There were some people over at Acts 17's blog who were taking it seriously and had to be told it was satire.

Considering that it turns out that some people have actually agreed to a "no proselytizing" rule, it's beginning to look like satire anticipated reality!

Unknown said...

Hi, I'm sorry, but could you please explain the acronym? I still can't figure it out. Thanks.

Lydia McGrew said...

Hi, Joseph, If you look at the first letter of each word in the association's name (beginning with "Worship! Iconium") you get WIMPS.

In other words, the people criticizing Acts 17 in this way are wimps.

Unknown said...

Thanks for that. I thought it was something to do with the "M. W. T. Rollos" name.