we do not know if Paul even succeeded in reaching Spain?
In concluding his second letter to Timothy, Paul sent the greetings of the brothers, naming, among others, Pudens and Claudia. (2 Tim. 4:21) An early British king had a daughter by the name of Claudia who was sent to Rome to receive education. Because her husband, a Roman, was named Pudens, this couple have been linked with this verse to show a connection with Christians in Britain despite the fact that the two names are separated in Timothy by that of Linus, an unusual procedure if they were husband and wife.b There is nothing beyond the names to support the identity and, as both names are of frequent occurrence in the classic writings of the time, the resemblance has no value.
The silence of the Bible record calls for our respect. Nowhere do the Scriptures hint that Joseph of Arimathea was guardian to Jesus. If it had been important for us to know whether Jesus left Palestine between the ages of twelve and thirty, the information would have been given in the Bible. Why waste time on theories about the “silent years” and miss the very purpose of Jesus’ ministry on earth?
DISMISS LEGEND AND TRADITION
There is no real support for the many traditions that convince only the credulous. “Gracious and touching as some of these legends are, the truth of history compels us to admit that they have no foundation in fact. Christianity in Britain during the Roman occupation can boast neither apostolic origin nor vigorous life.”2
So we will not read into our Bible more than is stated clearly there, or grasp at will-o’-the-wisp straws to try to bolster up a theory, the purpose of which is mainly to back up the independence of the English Church’s claim to apostolic origin. Said one-time Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Henry H. Milman, “The visit of St. Paul to Britain, in my opinion, is a fiction of religious national vanity.”3
The early Christians were anxious to spread the good news as far as possible and they did so without partiality, going where the spirit led them. Instead of singling out a small island and glorying in traditions of doubtful validity, true Christians today will also spend time in spreading God’s Word, not only in Britain, but throughout the inhabited earth.
1 The Everlasting Gospel, by E. Newgass, page 19.
2 History of the Church of England, by H. O. Wakeman, page 4, 7th edition.
3 The History of Christianity, by H. H. Milman, volume 1, page 458.
The Bible’s Honesty
◆ Newspaper columnist Sydney J. Harris was so impressed by the utter honesty of the Bible that he wrote in his column: “Most books which propagate a single point of view, which propound a specific faith, do exactly this: They severely ignore all inconsistencies, all weaknesses, all adverse comments made by their enemies. But the Old Testament is seething with evidence of such human flaws and frailties. Consider the bitter books of the prophets, such as Isaiah, which attack the religious leaders, condemn the people for perverting their faith, and warn that the judgment of God will be hard against them. Can anyone imagine the U.S. Republican National Committee including a scathing denunciation by Adlai Stevenson in its campaign literature? Or vice versa, of course. Yet this is exactly what the editors of the Old Testament permitted to become part of Holy Scripture.”—The Telegraph-Journal, December 16, 1959.