It has come to my attention that a situation has arisen in your congregation in Corinth. A portion of your letter was passed along, which greatly troubled me. As you may know, I am a professional consultant with APCG (Abuse Prevention Counselors of Greece), and your recent letter indicates that you are grossly undertrained for the situations you are facing there. Remember, you are only a pastor and not a trained and professional counselor like me, which is clearly demonstrated by the number of framed papyrus certificates hanging in my office.
One of the more egregious examples of your pastoral blundering can be seen for example, where you wrote, “Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God” (1 Cor. 7:21-24).
“Do not be concerned about it?” Holy Herodotus! My dear brother, this is heinous, vile, disgusting, evil, and wicked. Under no circumstances should victims be told not to be concerned about their abuse. Sadly, your rhetoric here is what I’ve come to expect from Christian pastors who lack the requisite training in these highly complex matters, but suffice it to say that you’re running counter to all of the latest studies and best practices known in the Hellenistic world today. What you have written may have been considered “reasonable” advice centuries ago, but we now know that slaves are victims of exploitation, manipulation, violence, angry outbursts, and low self-esteem.
The first rule of abuse prevention is that you must always side with anyone who claims to be a victim over against anyone accused of abuse. Trained and professional abuse prevention counselors like myself don’t need outmoded methods of investigation, witnesses, or due process, and therefore my rule of thumb is to immediately assume the worst based on the testimony of anybody, and then you can always pick up the pieces later. Suspected abusers should be immediately and explicitly condemned, rebuked, and in no uncertain terms consigned to the lowest pit of Hades. Let’s face it: they probably did it and if they didn’t, they probably did something else bad at some point. Original sin and all that. There’s no need to give second thought to this. Take the knives away and due process later, that’s what I always say.
The second rule is that you must never (under any circumstances) say or write anything that might give anyone who claims to be a victim the impression that their situation is tolerable. When you wrote, “a slave is the freedman of the Lord” and “in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God,” you were (unwittingly, no doubt) feeding the psychosis of slavery and confusing victims of slavery about whether they should seek freedom or not. This is absolutely disgusting, Mr. Pastor Apostle Paul. Not only this, your careless rhetoric leaves room for slave owners to believe that they have the right to own other human beings and control them. This is pure evil. What were you thinking? I suspect that you weren’t thinking at all about the ramifications of your rhetoric. How could you? Do you even have letters after your name like I do? What if by some masterpiece of disaster, your letter were to be read by future generations of Christians? What kind of poison have you unleashed on the Church? Can’t you see how unqualified and untrained you are for this work?
I urge you to immediately and publicly apologize and write a complete retraction of your letter to the Corinthians (citing me and my ministry in order to demonstrate your true repentance) or else I will be forced to conclude that you are determined to harbor abusers in your midst and I will start sending passive aggressive smoke signals to all my colleagues around the Mediterranean about your so-called “ministry.” From now on, I would urge you to run all of your “letters” by me or at least some random Roman journalist before sending them, as you are clearly way out of your league. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that slave owners in Corinth are some of your biggest financial supporters. You must be under tremendous pressure to keep them happy with you. This is a common challenge in the churches of God, but this is why I started APCG to
harm help people like you.
I offer this professional advice free of charge. First consultations are always free. But let me know if I can be of further help. I would be glad to come to Corinth to clean up your mess and sort through everything for you. Again, I’m a professional. Did I mention that I was certified by Little Caesar’s Counseling Accreditors of the Aegean? My fees are very reasonable.
Most humbly and sincerely,
Lamoz Bigwigian, VCPAC* APCG**
*Very Certified Professional Abuse Consultant
**Abuse Prevention Counselors of Greece