If anyone is in the Kansas City area on January 16th, Thursday evening at 7:30, a screening will take place at the Tivoli Theater for the film A Polite Bribe. The film/documentary by Robert Orlando focuses around the journey of the Apostle Paul with a collection of money, gathered mainly from Gentile churches in Galatia, Macedonia, and Achaia (Corinth), that he is taking to the poor saints (Judean Christians) in Jerusalem. The thesis of the film is that Paul is attempting to unify Judean Christians and Gentile Christians with this charity. After the film, a panel discussion will take place with three local New Testament scholars: myself (Central Seminary), Andy Johnson (Nazarene Theological Seminary) and Israel Kamudzandu (St. Paul School of Theology). The possibility exists that the writer/director Robert Orlando might also attend.
While this episode represents only one small segment in Paul’s life, he must have considered this undertaking an important one. He makes direct reference to this project, which he calls the collection, in three different places in his writings: 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15; and Romans 15:14-32. With what spirit the Judean Christians received the collection is unknown; however, much speculation exists for its purpose. Was it simply a charitable act instigated by Paul because of generous heart? Or was there an ulterior motive behind his collection project?
For those interested, below is a trailer of the movie.