Reactions to Paul’s Letter to the Galatian Church

The Sacred Sandwich web site posted this on February 20th, 2009. It bears repeating–and discussing.


If Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians
was Published in Christianity Today

Dear Christianity Today:

In response to Paul D. Apostle’s article about the Galatian church in your January issue, I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone of this hit piece. Why the negativity? Has he been to the Galatian church recently? I happen to know some of the people at that church, and they are the most loving, caring people I’ve ever met.

Phyllis Snodgrass; Ann Arbor, MI


Dear Editor:

How arrogant of Mr. Apostle to think he has the right to judge these people and label them accursed. Isn’t that God’s job? Regardless of this circumcision issue, these Galatians believe in Jesus just as much as he does, and it is very Pharisaical to condemn them just because they differ on such a secondary issue. Personally, I don’t want a sharp instrument anywhere near my zipper, but that doesn’t give me the right to judge how someone else follows Christ. Can’t we just focus on our common commitment to Christ and furthering His kingdom, instead of tearing down fellow believers over petty doctrinal matters?

Ed Bilgeway; Tonganoxie, KS


Dear CT:

I’ve seen other dubious articles by Paul Apostle in the past, and frankly I’m surprised you felt that his recurrent criticisms of the Church deserved to be printed in your magazine. Mr. Apostle for many years now has had a penchant for thinking he has a right to “mark” certain Christian teachers who don’t agree with his biblical position. Certainly I commend him for desiring to stay faithful to God’s word, but I think he errs in being so dogmatic about his views to the point where he feels free to openly attack his brethren. His attitude makes it difficult to fully unify the Church, and gives credence to the opposition’s view that Christians are judgmental, arrogant people who never show God’s love.

Ken Groener; San Diego, CA


To the Editors:

Paul Apostle says that he hopes the Galatian teachers will cut off their own privates? What kind of Christian attitude is that? Shame on him!

Martha Bobbitt; Boulder, CO


Dear Christianity Today:

The fact that Paul Apostle brags about his public run-in with Peter Cephas, a well-respected leader and brother in Christ, exposes Mr. Apostle for the divisive figure that he has become in the Church today. His diatribe against the Galatian church is just more of the same misguided focus on an antiquated reliance on doctrine instead of love and tolerance. Just look how his hypercritical attitude has cast aspersions on homosexual believers and women elders! The real problem within the Church today is not the lack of doctrinal devotion, as Apostle seems to believe, but in our inability to be transformed by our individual journeys in the Spirit. Evidently, Apostle has failed to detach himself from his legalistic background as a Pharisee, and is unable to let go and experience the genuine love for Christ that is coming from the Galatians who strive to worship God in their own special way.

William Zenby; Richmond, VA


Kind Editors:

I happen to be a member of First Christian Church of Galatia, and I take issue with Mr. Apostle’s article. How can he criticize a ministry that has been so blessed by God? Our church has baptized many new members and has made huge in-roads in the Jewish community with our pragmatic view on circumcision. Such a “seeker-sensitive” approach has given the Jews the respect they deserve for being God’s chosen people for thousands of years. In addition, every Gentile in our midst has felt honored to engage in the many edifying rituals of the Hebrew heritage, including circumcision, without losing their passion for Jesus. My advice to Mr. Apostle is to stick to spreading the gospel message of Christ’s unconditional love, and quit criticizing what God is clearly blessing in other churches.

Miriam “Betty” Ben-Hur; Galatia, Turkey


EDITOR’S NOTE: Christianity Today apologizes for our rash decision in publishing Paul Apostle’s exposé of the Galatian church. Had we known the extent in which our readership and advertisers would withdraw their financial support, we never would have printed such unpopular biblical truth. We regret any damage we may have caused in propagating the doctrines of Christ.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Christianity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Reactions to Paul’s Letter to the Galatian Church

  1. Megan says:

    This is a good one, Sharon. I’m looking forward to the discussion on this.

  2. Linda says:

    Me too except I have to go reread Galatians first.

  3. David says:

    The one time where the word “anathema” is used in the Bible is in Galatians and in defense of the gospel. Paul is discussing a false, Judaizer gospel that looks a lot like the real one. Paul’s attitude towards the gospel is so fundamentally different than those in today’s churches because Paul is a sheep. He is writing to to sheep and the goats and wolves do not like it. Those who wrote the ‘letters to the editor” are goats thats why they come from the position that all the Galatians are Christians regardless of their gospel. But that is the very thing in question!

    Notice how they even try to turn the charge of heresy around on Paul – “Apostle has failed to detach himself from his legalistic background as a Pharisee”. Even if this were true doesn’t it show that there is such a thing as gospel and heresy?

    I wonder how our Mormon neighbors will react to this. There are true prophets, a true Christ, and a true gospel . . . there are also false prophets, false Christs, and false gospels. It seems (key word there) that some of the Mormons here have a hard time mentally ascending to even the possibility that false gospels/Christs/prophets can exist. This is not so true of Mormons of yesteryear. There was a time when Mormons, especially their leaders, had no problem calling all other churches apostate. The BoM says there are two churches – the church of the Lamb and the church of the Devil. If Mormonism is the restored gospel doesn’t that mean that ours is broken/tainted and thus different?

    The goats and wolves try to look like sheep and mingle in with them but the sheep have no desire to look like goats or wolves.

  4. rick b says:

    People seem to forget or dont care, Sheep do not hand over their skin. If a wolf comes in Sheeps clothing, then that means the wolf killed the sheep in order to get the skin. Rick b

  5. Ralph says:


    I do not have a problem with the fact that there are (not ‘can be’ but ‘are) false prophets/churches/christs. We still teach that our church is the only way to return to Heavenly Father – that in itself denotes that all other prophets/churches are incorrect/false. As far as Christ goes, I tend to see it as we believe in the same HISTOICAL figure – ie born in Bethlehem, lived in the Middle East, suffered and dies to atone for our sins and was resurrected so we can be resurrected. The part we deviate from is His deity – we claim He is God’s only begotten Son, you claim He is a conglomerate of sorts with God. So one ideology is false and the other is true. That is an easy concept as well. And all LDS members know and realise this.


    So how many did you kill with your martial arts talents? Are you nice and warm in your fleece jacket? 🙂

  6. rick b says:

    Ralph, I have killed zero people to date.
    If you do not agree with me, then please tell me, if the Bible says, False prophets and teachers, and wolves come in Sheeps clothing, where do they get the sheeps clothing?

    it clearly states, the wolves come to tear apart and kill the flock. rick b

  7. Ralph says:


    I don’t think you got the joke by your response. I am implying that you are the wolf and you got your sheep skin/fleece jacket by killing a sheep (or more) using your martial arts skill.

    Just so you don’t get shirty, you were implying that the LDS are the wolves (ie meaning me and the others) in your statement, I was just turning it back.

    But I do agree with you about the wolves entering the flock, Jesus was the one that taught it.

  8. Ralph says:


    Funny thing I just thought of – my name ‘Ralph’ means ‘wolf counselor’.

    And you are about my age so you would most likely remember the cartoon with the little lamb, sheepdog and wolf. The lamb was ‘Lambsie’, the sheepdog was ‘Sam’ and the wolf was – you guessed it – ‘Ralph’.


  9. Ralph said “Funny thing I just thought of – my name ‘Ralph’ means ‘wolf counselor’.”


    Our (Anglican) rector’s called Ralph too. I guess the name’s not such a good test for which one’s the ‘wolf’ and which one’s the ‘sheep’…

    …but we digress.

    I’d better follow Sharon’s lead and get my teeth into Galatians.

  10. Just read Galatians (again) – wow!

    Maybe its just me, but what stood out for me this time through was the Hagar-Sarah metaphor (Gal 4:21-31). What I think Paul is saying is something like this; if you want to be justified under the law, you’re a child of Hagar, but if you want to be a child of the promise and justified by faith, you’re a child of Sarah.

    What struck to me was the enmity between the two mothers, as summarized by Sarah’s hostile statement “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac” (Gen 21:10, NIV). Paul is telling the Galatians not to be idiots; if they choose Hagar (representing Sinai, the law, circumcision) they’re bound to make enemies with Sarah (representing faith, the promise and the true inheritance of God’s covenant with Abraham – see Gal 3:29).

    So, you can’t have it both ways. Either you’re justified by faith in Christ or you’re not.

    You can’t have “justified by faith in Christ and…”, as in “justified by faith in Christ and by the works of the law” (or “justified by faith in Christ and allegiance to [insert name here]) . Try that, and Sarah will throw you out!

  11. David says:


    Yours is the more historic LDS position but I am not sure it is shared, or at least openly espoused, by your LDS brethren. Judging by the posts of some of the Mormons here they see themselves and us as Christians. It seems many Mormons do not have an either/or view of the gospel but rather an add-on view. I have heard it described to me by Mormons that what we have is true but incomplete. Your gospel merely adds to ours and does not contradict it.

    I do not think we disagree on the deity of Christ but rather on the very nature of deity. Given, the classical LDS view of God I do not see how you can state that Jesus is God’s “only begotten Son”. What do you mean by “only begotten Son”? Jesus is only deity in the same way that you and I can become gods and their are other “only begotten” Sons of their Heavenly Fathers. You and I are spirit children begotten by Heavenly Father.

  12. Megan says:

    Martin, that is what exactly what I have heard (Hagar=law and condemnation, Sarah = faith and justification, or something very like that) in sermons before.

  13. rick b says:

    Ralph, I did understand you were Joking and Under stood the Joke, and yes I was saying You guys are wovles.

    Just curious here, Do LDS teach or Follow Lent? I give up lent every year for lent, But thats just me. The Bible does not teach Lent, so I do not follow it. Rick b

  14. Ralph says:


    The LDS church does not teach or practice Lent. But there are some members out there that follow it as a ‘left over’ from their pre-LDS life as they thought it was a good thing for them and helped bring them to be more spiritually in-tune. Kind of like our fast Sunday each month.


    All of the first paragraph you wrote is what is taught by our church – that you do have some truths in your religions but we have the full truth, etc. but we do teach that it is only through the LDS church one can receive full salvation and return to Heavenly Father. So we do teach that anything other than LDS is false. There is also a quote that goes around the church about teaching converts, which goes something along the lines of – bring what you have and keep the good/true things, discard the rest.

    So this would mean something like – we (LDS) believe in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, as do you. When you join the LDS church keep that belief, but discard the belief in the Trinity. And so on.

    As for Jesus being the Only Begotten, this is in reference to Jesus being the only physical Son of God. This is referenced many times in LDS literature. Yes, we are God’s spirit children but Jesus is also a physical child, thus referred to as the only Begotten – which the newer translations of the Bible seems to have left out from what I learned last week.

  15. David says:


    So, you believe that Jesus was physically sired by the Heavenly Father in the same way other fathers sire children?

    My point is that our competing gospels are in an either/or relationship. The add-on view is inaccurate; the Mormon gospel contradicts the historic (Biblical) Christian gospel and visa versa. The apostle Paul seems to have a more militant approach than you do – “anathema” verses “keep the good”.

    Given what you have stated would not the whole “another Jesus” thing be a legit issue and not a loophole as at least one latter-day saint here has suggested?

  16. NM says:

    Mr. Piper over at DesiringGod, gave a sermon on this very subject of Hagar and Sarah, way back in the 80s! Entitled, “Hagar and Slavery Vs. Sarah and Freedom”

    …it’s worth a listen.

  17. Ralph says:


    No I do not believe that Heavenly Father sired Jesus as you imply.

    As far as ‘anathema’ vs ‘keep the good’ goes – if you were learning English as a second language and started out in America, then the English you would learn would be tainted with the Americanisms, accent and spelling. If you then came to Australia, then would you have to relearn English? No, there would be a basis to work from, similarities which you do not have to relearn. However, one would have to give up the bad spelling, bad pronunciation and bad colloquilisms and learn the true, good ones.

    In the case of religion, we LDS teach that all of the other faiths, be it Muslim, other Christian, Buddist, Hindu, etc, have some elements of truth as they all mutated from the true religion/faith that Adam and Eve had. So we say that you can keep these truths/good things and do not need to relearn them, but discard the bad and relearn that.

    For example, let’s say an LDS decided to convert to Evangelicalism – would they have to give up the notion that Jesus is their Saviour and Redeemer? No, but they would have to relearn the application of His grace. Would they have to forget about baptism? No, but they would have to relearn what it is all about. Would they have to give up their belief in a God? No, but they would have to relearn about His nature. And the list goes on.

    So yes, while we are in an ‘either/or’ relationship in the way af salvation and truth, there is still a basis of truth that can be built on and not discarded when one converts to the other.

    As far as your last question goes – like I said, We both believe in the same historical figure Jesus who was born in Bethlehem to Mary, and step-father Joseph. Who grew up in the Middle East and who suffered, and died for our sins and was resurrected so we can live again. Do you disagree with any of that so far? Its His deity that we disagree on – and since He forms part of your God then yes it does extend to the nature of Deity that we disagree on as well. Its the applications of His grace that we disagree on as well.

    Also, I have never heard that our religion does not contradict yours as you said you have, but I have heard it taught that we add to yours – as I have shown. We add the truth back in and remove the false.

  18. Martin_from_Brisbane says:

    David said “My point is that our competing gospels are in an either/or relationship.”

    Actually, if we follow Paul’s Hagar-Sarah analogy, they are competing enemies, not complimentary aspects of the same ‘family’.

    The question is; who are the children of Hagar and who are the children of Sarah?

    Ralph’s statement “We add the truth back in…” sounds very similar to the message of the Judaizers of Galatia, which could be reasonable inferred as “We add circumcision back in…”

  19. mrgermit says:

    RalpH; I liked this

    For example, let’s say an LDS decided to convert to Evangelicalism – would they have to give up the notion that Jesus is their Saviour and Redeemer? No, but they would have to relearn the application of His grace. Would they have to forget about baptism? No, but they would have to relearn what it is all about. Would they have to give up their belief in a God? No, but they would have to relearn about His nature. And the list goes on.

    and on and on…..and for this reason, the “information” can probably more accurately be called “disinformation”. If you doubt this, ask an ex-mo what the “retraining” process has been like. Has it been as benign as you make it sound ?? I’m thinking probably not, but I’ll ask the same question to Arthur S, Mobaby and co. and see what I get.

    The LDS view of “all faiths have some of the truth” rings hollow to me. I think (by the church at large) it’s used as more PR than anything. A nice intro into evangelism.


Leave a Reply