Dear Paul (AD 50),
Thank you for your letter. I wish I had more time to welcome you to Galatia on your last visit. Being new and unfamiliar in an area can be difficult to navigate. It causes one to stray into the wrong parts of town and to project wrong conclusions on the whole. Conclusion that could leave one, how did you put it, oh yes, “astonished…”
I will say, you ruffled some feathers. As the brothers and I read and poured over your letter, you hit a nerve in many areas: the way we teach the gospel, our traditional view on circumcision (as taught to use by our dear friend Cephas). You even suggested that we led his friend Barnabas astray with our “so-called” nationalist ideals. It got pretty heated around the table. I had to defend you in some areas, (so I understand what it was like for you when you had to stand up to Peter).
I am by no means suggesting that we have this all figured out. But as you know this is a process, and some of us have been at it for a while. Dare I say, even longer than you. We heard the reports of your behavior towards The Way. A few counted in our numbers, were even witnesses. Some asked, why are you qualified to speak to us this way. You gave us your resume, but to be honest that sounds like the same thing we hear from the Romans and other Jews, just a list of reasons for why they can oppress us and why we should badly about ourselves. It really doesn’t make any sense. You argue for relationship over rule, and that identity with the Messiah is greater than identity in nation or culture. I mean honestly, how can you not be circumcised and follow a Jewish man.
Honestly, we need more clarification. You knocked down the rules that have drawn us closer to God and to each other. I eagerly await your return letter and perhaps a fourth visit. Please give my regards to the brothers and sisters.
Grace and Peace to you in the God and Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Daily Battle Order:
Consider what challenges, or should challenge your faith? What does the Bible actually say? Read Galatians Chapter 2 today. Are there cultural norms woven into what you believe about Christ? Ask God to reveal them to you. Ask tough questions and wrestle through them with a brother.