The story of the “Modern Epistle” writing series began when I took a job delivering the local newspaper. Working in the middle of the night afforded me some small pleasures. During the day, I would write my novels, and at night, I’d drive around and throw papers out of my window. It became habitual for me to listen to the Bible on my mobile device, sometimes for my whole shift. I became fixated with: “Inspired by… The Bible Experience… Romans” and listened to it maybe four hours a night/morning. I was constantly blown away by what I had missed the fifteenth or sixteenth time I heard it. It was exciting. So one day, after getting out of the car and plopping down in front of the PC, I started writing just like Paul.
It was really weird, let me be honest, but I just let it flow out, conscious that the Holy Spirit was alright with the way things were going. I write to please God; He is my only true audience. When I was finished, I took a nap, got up and read what I had written. It was… Almost… Too close to the real thing… So I quashed it and almost redacted the whole work, but didn’t. I put it in the “Snippets and Ideas” folder on my hard drive, and let it sit. But it nagged at me. It wasn’t divinely inspired… Or was it divinely inspired? It wasn’t scripture, but it sure was scriptural. And the way I had chosen to frame it, using idioms and stylization that Paul would use… It seemed sacrosanct. But it wasn’t. It had been an overflow of love from a heart full of Godliness. So I put a cover on it, and published it.
I can already anticipate the reactions and hate mail that I will receive for releasing these letters onto the internet on such a public website. My intentions are pure, and to the pure – all things are pure. It is not my intent to subvert any teachings of Paul that some hold dear in lieu of my own. Just the opposite is true.
Modern Epistle I
The First Letter of Pauly to the Americas
Diet, Healing & Leadership
Pauly, a servant of Jesus Christ, greets you all in the name of Him who was and is and is to come.
It is with the greatest of love that I write to you, here in the middle of the great plains of the Northern Americas. I am appalled at the news that I hear from my brothers and sisters around the world, but especially those here in this great land. As you may have heard, I journeyed north from my homeland, to dwell with you and those that were in my local church. But God called me away from that body of believers for a greater good, and for a greater love, and for a greater purpose. For that body, in submission to the servant of God, is well and need not my ministry. They follow God and are saved. So God called me to another ministry here but they would not have me, so it fell to me to look after my family and to concern myself with the church in the larger sense: The church of the Americas.
The good that I do, and did, and still plan to do is God’s will. I cannot speak for any other man but myself, but the plans that God has for me have not grown fallow. They have blossomed into what His original intentions were and so God’s will is fulfilled in me. I write to you, dearest church, who have long served the Father in heaven. I write to you believers, who do not know a local body and who feel cast out. You are not cast out. For though you feel alone and outside of the presence of the perfect plan of God for you, fear not! For God has called you for such a time as this, to proclaim His news to the blind, and the lame and the misused. God Himself has directed me to write this to you in your time of great trouble so that you would know that you are chosen. And if you are chosen, then there is hope! And if there is hope, then there is the lasting peace that passes all understanding that guards your great shield of faith. For without faith there is nothing. Guard your faith.
There was a time, not long ago, where the believers believed what was written in the gospels of our Lord, Jesus Christ as well as the epistles written long ago by our forefathers Paul, Luke, Peter, James, John, Jude and others. But the greater the Word has spread out among you, the greater the divisions have become. No longer a harmonious body, you have let yourselves be tossed about by your culture and society erasing some scripture here, or there; when it is convenient for you to do so, you have. God alone sits on the throne, not we ourselves. It is not our law that was presented to our forefathers, but the law of (whom Abraham called) God Most High. Do you think that by presenting your own law you hope to negate the law of God? Is it you who put the firmament into place or who spread out the earth below it? Was it you who placed the earth on the pillars of the deep and who said to the two in the garden: “Be fruitful and multiply? Subdue the earth?” No! It was God Himself, ruler of everything.
Do not think that there is one stroke from the law that will be cast out and thrown into the fire without He himself doing it, and yet He will not. For the psalmist said: “The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.” So that we know that the law is perfect for us and perfect from Him who sent it. But that to obtain righteousness, we must keep the law perfectly, and since none can do that save Christ alone, then we must keep to Christ, who is our protector from the consequences of the law. For Christ did not come to change anything previously set forth from the law. He did not change the dietary restrictions from what food was to that of unclean animals… No, he is our high-priest! Can a high-priest eat that which defiles him? No! For then, if Christ is our high-priest and eats not the unclean, how then can you, who call after him, eat that unclean and still profess to claim him?
And didn’t Moses, when he gave the law, tell us that some animals were food and some were unclean? All things unclean are not food. So then, if we may eat all food, he is simply saying that it does not matter what has been sacrificed to an idol, whether it is in a building, or in someone’s home; you may eat it as long as your brother does not stumble. This teaching, though hard, is one that even the most elect of you confuse. For you say: “Yet Christ said it is not that which enters a man that makes him unclean.” And I say this: He was speaking to the Pharisees as well as the teachers of the law on the importance of their Talmud on the ceremonial washing of hands. For Christ hated their bent laws and traditions and instead pointed back to God’s law. It is with a divine insight, that prophesied ‘Petra’ that He said He would build His church: For when Simon called Him: “You are the Messiah!” Christ answered him: “This was not revealed to you except by my Father in heaven and I say you are a stone, and upon this cliff shall I build my church,” speaking of the revelation that is good and pure from the Father above.
And again Paul, when addressing precious Timothy warned him that some would say that certain foods are evil? And that he even went so far as to say that they are hypocrites and that their consciences are dead? That they would teach that it is better to be chaste and a virgin, never marrying and to abstain from meats? So then he instructed Timothy further that: “All food is good and nothing should be rejected except embrace it with thanksgiving!” Except, Paul also teaches that if you offend a lesser brother you should not eat of it – so as to save them from offense. Yet, in your own home, all food is clean, yet not animals are food. But then, what of Peter’s vision of the variety of animals that the voice told him to eat all things? Do you not understand that this is in reference to Cornelius? For when Peter came to his house he said to him: “You know it is against our tradition for an Israelite man to enter a non-Israelite home like this? But the Lord has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. So I came without any objections!” So his trance was a vision, and that vision of the angels who hold the four corners, were speaking of the four corners of the earth, and that the sheet was the surface of the earth, and that the firmament was the heavens, and that, as Peter knew when he finally saw it, the animals inside was every tribe, nation, and people group as our brother John writes about in the great Revelation of the Apocalypse.
So we are in Christ, for He is our all in all. He was from the beginning and is today, and will be forever our high priest, after the order of Melchesideck. As a man, he was just in all he did, as a child of Israel, he kept the law, being of the tribe of Judah, He honored His father, that is, His earthly father. And being the Son of God, he not only honored His father on earth by submitting to His Father in heaven, but was one with His Father in heaven in all that he was. He was perfect from the beginning, came to earth, being born as a man, and was perfect in all of His time on the earth. He descended into the depths, setting free the captives, and ascended into the heavens, where he is perfect today. Christ, the head, was the perfect sin substitute, wiping away all iniquity for sin, and thus, became sin for us. And this is a great mystery indeed. That Christ, who was not sinful, became the sin of the world, that we who were in sin would now have no sin through Him. Praise God!
So then, how should we live? I say through Christ. For in Christ we live daily, forgoing the pleasures of this world to take on the fullness of the glory of the resurrection of Him. In Christ is the hope. In Christ is the love. And in Christ is the forever promise we have of the eternal. There is no eternal promise for those who do not acknowledge Him in this life. For we have but one life and then the judgement. And that judgement is final and from God our father, in whom we trust.
The gifts of God are thoughtful and true. He who formed us, knew us, and He who knows us, knows all of us. There is not one part of us that is not known to Him. So shall we try to deceive God about our mind, or our body, or what our heart desires? No! Pray always, trusting in the one who made you and called you out from among your people. Trust in Him only, for to trust in man is folly. Man is but dust. For we know that the first man, Adam did not trust God but rather distrusted Him and was cast out of the garden. We know that his wife did not trust Him, but rather trusted in her own will and that will of the serpent and was cast out alongside Adam. So they both fell from God’s grace and were cursed. But blessed is Christ who has redeemed us from that curse. The covenant that God cut with the first Adam was redeemed through the second Adam, the first born from the dead. And thanks be to God for Christ and His redemption, who has called us alongside Him to partake in this blessing.
God then, having so loved us, was patient towards us, ever slow to wrath. He was patient with Adam when he was separated away from the rest of creation. He was patient with Noah when he was separated away from the rest of men. He was patient with Jacob and was patient with Joseph. Patient with Moses and patient with David. The Lord bore His patience out towards us in love. With the calling away for each newer covenant, he bore out His patience even still in His greatest act with the patience of His only begotten son, Christ Jesus. And now He bears patience with us, His dear children. Even so, let us not test His patience. For though He is slow to anger, He is a jealous and vengeful for His holiness. For when we are separated for Him, we are called to Him. And the calling to Him is holiness, chastity, and long-suffering.
I have heard, and indeed have seen evidence of, the terrible things that your flesh is working. I would rather you work righteousness, for it is through that, that the world is saved. When we were in the world, we were sinners, and that being obviously purposeful, without excuse and in excess. But now that we are set apart from the world, we should be set apart from the varieties of evils and thoughts and actions that are within it. Don’t think that just because you have been once freed from sin, that you are now free to sin. No. God’s judgement is final and His judgement is good. Do not think: “I do not sin,” and turn your heart to all covetousness. Do not think: “I am good,” and turn and do wicked dealings toward your brother. For the law passes judgement upon you when you say one thing and then do another. For even Christ Himself said about covetousness: “But I say unto you, that whoever looks at a woman and lusts after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” So then, the law is upon not only the flesh, but our hearts as well. Did not Paul the apostle say: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but keep the commandments of God.” So then, regarding your member, it is not meant for sin, but meant for righteousness. The cutting of it is nothing in itself, for it is with the heart that you commit sin. Even Jesus said: “It is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.” Now, do not think that I am condoning this, but if you burn with lust and have not honored your wife or have not married, then what of it? Shall any member of the body keep us from the kingdom of heaven?
But repentance is better. For Hezekiah received the Word of the Lord from Isaiah: “You shall surely die,” but then repented, prayed and cried out to God. And the Word of the Lord came back to him. “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears: behold, I will heal you.” And the Lord did heal him and he reigned for 15 years after. So, turn to the Lord, repent, and cry out to him so that you too may be spared of the consequences of your sin. He will heal you both spiritually and for your body. For also the Word of the Lord came through Isaiah saying: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” So. It was through the cross that He bore our spiritual indignity and our sorrow, and it was through the cross that He bore our physical maladies as well. Even Peter preaches this, for his shadow, being full of the Holy Spirit, healed some. Paul writes of this when He says: “Don’t you know that you are the temple of God?” For what promise would there be in Christ, if He only heals one part of us and not the whole? There can be no division of our body from us here on this earth, for that is for the judgment. For Christ even said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” So then is abundant life sickness? No. Is abundant life being blind or lame? No. For the salvation of the cross is twofold. Here on earth, and later in heaven. The psalmist writes: “He sent out His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave,” speaking of both eternal life and abundant life. Again James says: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” So we see that the sins forgiven are a second thought to the healing of the body. They are jointly connected, even as our bodies are one being, here on earth, so healing is for the whole man, and not separated. Or do you not remember that when Jesus healed the lame man He forgave his sins first and then healed him, showing that the eternal was the greater value and more difficult, but the physical power of Him for healing was nothing of consequence.
But so that you would not have any reason to grumble, you may remain ill for your own sake. It is a test of faith for you to believe the words of the Lord, it is not for me to preach it to you anymore. I have told you, and if you have not believed, then cry out for faith as Peter. “Lord, increase our faith.” But even in this, Paul writes: ” Dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed.” So then the sustaining grace through our Lord Jesus Christ placed Paul in health enough to accomplish his great missions, so that we should have health enough to accomplish ours. Except for the demon that was sent to torment him, we have no indication of his body, except that to say that he was supernaturally healthy, bitten by snakes, beaten, stoned, starvation, shipwrecked; and yet making tents and preaching in synagogues! As if travelling the way he travelled was not hard enough! And yet Paul prayed for the Lord to take it away three times, and yet Christ said to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
If you do not want to be whole, it is of no concern of mine, for I cannot pray over you something you do not wish. Therefore, it is with our own heart that we should stand before God, accepting those promises that we wish. For your sake, accept the free gift of Christ’s salvation and teach others to do the same. But if they wish to pursue the gifts of the Spirit, or the fruits, do not dissuade them. For they are essential to a vital life in Christ here on earth and the salvation of the nations. And these gifts are not only for the apostles and teachers, but for all believers. Do not think that there is one person who shall rule and reign over you on earth, except those leaders of the flesh in whom is government; but they are to serve you as humble vessels of God, poured out as living offerings. For many are called into ministry, and as Paul teaches: “To equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” And yet not to lord over you causing you to sin or stumble. Yet submit to them even as you submit to an older man or brother in the Lord, seeing their wisdom, do not seek to cause them offense.
As David told Abishai: “Don’t destroy him. For who can stretch forth His hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be sinless?” And so must we be careful of the blessing of the Holy Spirit when it rests on a person. For they are called into a ministry and this ministry is theirs and it is between them and the Lord. If they rule in a way you do not accept, there is no shame in finding another to rule you, as long as the Lord leads you. For if you have been called by the Lord to be under a shepherd, then that is yours. Submit to the training and admonition of the Lord as the shepherd trains you to work the ministry. For the works of the ministry: Tongues, Miracles, Healings, Prophecy are not all for those in leadership over you. The works of service you are called to are the works of the ministry. To serve and equip even others until you yourselves may be called as well. But do not seek to be called into that life, for that life is judged by the Lord more sternly than most, which is why I don’t even call myself a minister, only one who has blessed with the words to put to paper so that others might be blessed. For do you not remember the exhortation of James? Many of you shouldn’t be teachers, for you shall be judged more harshly than others who are not. So, in this way, I discredit myself from being a teacher of the law and am only a minister of reconciliation as Paul told those in Corinth, for I do not desire harsh judgement, for I am a sinner, the same as everyone who has called on the name of the Son, fear deeply the punishment of the Lake of Fire.
But because I am not a full time Shepherd or Deacon or Prophet or Teacher, does this exclude me from ministry? No! I am always ready to minister in each season! And so should you! For if God can speak through a donkey to Balaam, then surely he can use me! For in one man’s ministry I called him to not eat sweets or he should die, and he rebuked me before my brothers in the Lord. “Oh and are you a prophet?” he declared. And yet now he lies in the grave. He was a just and fair man, knowing the mind of the Lord with the gift of singing and the words of wisdom and of knowledge over another man’s life. And he prophesied the glory of God and of the coming age and called men to repentance. Yet I was told to rebuke his diet and was rebuked in return. So should I have disobeyed so as to not offend this man? Should I have been pushed down by the pressure of man and spurned God’s calling on me? No! But I did not stretch my hand out against him, but warned him of the Lord who was stretching out His hand. For David says directly after: “The Lord Himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die.” And so it was that he did.
So be careful! If I had rebuked him under my own power, or if I had said nothing: Both would have been disobedience. But God, in His mercy, allowed this man to live on and to minister and I have forgiven him of the trespass that he showed against me. Be careful with your shepherds and those above you. Do everything with them that you find in your heart right to do, just as we have trained children… And so then be at peace with the Lord. For remember, it is written: “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother which is the first commandment with a promise: That it may be well with you and you will live long on the earth.” Oh and this again should be included in the above exhortation about the healing of the body, for all scripture is profitable for training.
Now, if children obey their parents in everything they may come to sin. Yet it would not be the child’s sin, but the parents. For if the parent would say: “Dishonor the Sabbath and worship false idols,” and the child does it, then the parent commits the sin unto the child. Yet is the child faultless? I do not know the heart of each person, nor do you. But we can determine in our hearts about this, and trust the Lord… For the Lord knows the hearts and minds of all mankind and their understanding.
But instead if a parent tells their children to obey them in the Lord, then this is another matter, for if it is in the Lord, then nothing they command will be away from the Lord and thus be holy. For if commanded once again: “Break Sabbath with me! Come! Let us worship idols together!” And the child says that they cannot, then they are not obeying their parents, but they are obeying them in the Lord. And so you should train your families in the nurture and admonition of the Lord so that they will grow in favor in the eyes of God and of men.
I, Pauly, have written these things to you in the power and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as He showed it to me. Being ever obedient to Him in this day and the days to come, being careful to observe all that He teaches me through His precious Word and His precious Holy Spirit, as should you. Love the children! Bless them! And bless each other! To Him be all blessing and power and love and honor, for He alone is holy! Amen.
Not all of us should try to be leaders. Some are born not to lead, but rather submit and serve. This is fine and well and good, for not all are called to be the eyes or the hand in the body of Christ. Some are meant to be the backs and the feet. Say, I am called to be God’s adrenal gland and that is my purpose. What am I to do about being the ears? What have I do to with being the lungs in the body of Christ? So then we should be comfortable with who we are in Him and not give ourselves a lower place than that in which we were given. Am I to be a steward of money? Then do so. Am I to be a tender in the field? Then do so. You were called to enjoy your freedom. Don’t sin but serve one another in love. And in this service we will work out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord God almighty.
For it is through faith we are saved. This is not in ourselves, but it is a gift of God so that no one can boast about what they’ve done to deserve salvation. But this is justification through the blood of Christ and the power of His resurrection. This does not speak to the daily living of our lives. This is called sanctification and many of us throw our minds out of balance by confusing the two. We are justified by our dear Creator’s compassion towards us. While we were yet sinners, He died for us. A greater love no man has but he would die for his friends, but listen! While we were enemies of God, He died for us! How greater a love that gave us this justification. And now, because He first loved us, we love Him and are called to obedience! To obey is better than sacrifice and we obey the lamb of God in our daily promise to the obedience to His laws! Christ fulfilled the law in Himself and calls us to walk in that fulfillment. We are not to shirk the responsibilities of Him who made us, but rather we embrace these ideals with a pure heart and pure hands.
Brothers and sisters I am not telling you that we are saved through circumcision or any such heresy, for this is made plain in the writings of the Word. But to embrace the leadership of the Son of Man, we put on His visage and do according to all that He commanded us and teach others to do the same. For He is our king and He is the king and He is indeed the King of Kings. His Word will not return void and it accomplishes all that it is sent out to do. So let He who began a good work in us show His faithfulness in its completion. For He is indeed the author and finisher of our faith, and of our lives. The Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and The End. He is our cornerstone and our great leader. To whom else should we trust? We trust in Him who trains our fingers for war. We trust in Him who hung the firmament over the earth. We are our beloveds and He is ours, and His banner over us is love.
Modern Epistle 1
The First Letter of Pauly to the Americas
Diet, Healing & Leadership
This letter is a short letter to the assembly of Christ, the bride of Christ, the body of Christ. It is intended for the reborn, those who have been saved through faith.
Although it may quote scripture, the work as a whole, or in part, is not to be used as scripture, seen as on par with scripture, nor viewed in any way as a sacred and inspired text. It is presented in the fashion and style of the writings of the Apostle Paul of Tarsus. It is not to offend or injure, only to encourage the body of Christ.
It is the work of me only, and not of any other person. I am not a member of the set apart ministry, and express only the beauty that I have found in scripture.
All scripture references have been modified from their source language to better fit the actual translation in the original language. Any reproduction word-for-word is merely coincidental.
Pauly Hart is a public speaker, actor, painter, singer, poet, and story-teller. His main focus today is writing. His latest works have involved novellas in the vein of “Classical Horror” from the Christ-centered world-view. The Horror story is the story where the character has to survive until the end. What better chance for survival than in Christ? Pauly writes not for the churchy types, but for those who would pick up a Stephen King book, giving them an alternative to the spirits. Pauly writes so that the Holy Spirit will have room made for him in modern day literature. He runs several websites all bent on leaving the mind of the atheist awash with the glory of heaven. You can find him at PaulyHart.com