The Philippian Fragment, by Calvin Miller (IVP, 175 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by Lawson Lau, editor at large, Impact magazine.
After months of meticulous letter writing in the twentieth century, Calvin Miller has come up with a long-lost second-century manuscript. It is one of the finest pieces of Horatian satire on the church, its leaders, and parachurch organizations that I have stumbled upon.
A mysterious and elusive German scholar, Helmut Niedegger, a specialist in Egyptology, Assyriology, and Coosiology opened a cryptic door on the milieu of Roman lions and gladiators. Stripped of its ravenous lions and quaint togas, the candid observations in The Philippian Fragment laugh at the foibles, and suggest strengths and models for present-day Christian living.
This figment of Miller’s imagination consists of seven letters from Eusebius, a newly appointed pastor of Philippi, to Clement, pastor of Coos. From Eusebius’s mind flowed such thoughts as: “A thin winebibber is no less credible than a thick teetotaler,” and, “There is something official and evil that always lurks around the board meetings of our church. When it is most blatant it disrupts the work of feeding the hungry or visiting the prisons.”
Strutting through the Philippian church were two strong-willed leaders. One was rich Coriolanus. His epitaph could very well read, “Where riches are, there lies unbridled power.” Then there was Elder Scrubjoy. Observed one of Scrubjoy’s former friends, a non-Christian: “He knew more funny stories than the god of wine himself. But he became a Christian and I haven’t seen him smile since.”
In the realm of eschatology, Eusebius wrote of his uneasiness over the urgent ministry of Quintus Quick, an itinerant preacher. The bumper sticker ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more