We would like to thank you for coming to us to proclaim the testimony of God, determined to bring us the good news of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion. (1Cor 2:1-2) We are glad that you replied to our message sent by Stephanasa, Fortunatus, and Achaicus. (Ehrman 233) Without your arrival in Corinth we would still be worshipping the old gods instead of the One True God, the God of the Universe. (Ehrman 230) Corinth has had a troubled history, in 146 B.C.E our beloved city was destroyed by roman conquerors, to then be rebuilt in their image. Before your coming we were home to a wide range of religious and philosophical movements. (Ehrman 227) We welcomed you ideas and embraced your message of salvation through Jesus Christ, our lord: But you write to us to inform us of our errors in worship of the lord. We have gathered to reply to your letter to discuss what you would call sexual misconduct, through the proper practices of marriage and chastity, as well as the procedures of our worship and gatherings of our church in Corinth by our practice of eating ‘idol’ meat.
We write to you now because our community still stands divided on many issues, many claim fidelity to different factions and different leaders, maintain they have spiritual superiority and claiming to represent the true faith, such as Cephas or Apollos. (Ehrman 232)
We understand your message of the lord to be one of salvation involving an understanding of God’s grace and forgiveness of sins. Jesus Christ is Lord, that in him God has provided for the salvation of mankind through his crucifixion on the cross and that he will soon return to bring all things to an end, and this message is it is for all those who believe. (Ehrman 236)
Firstly, you say to us:
“…each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband… Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time… so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (7:2-5)
How can we be certain that Satan would not tempt our minds and bodies, and lead us astray from the words of the lord you have shared with us? It is in out best interest, in seeking salvation through Jesus Christ, to practice sexual abstinence from all potential partners so we may not be tempted by sin. We would not want to hand our flesh to Satan for destruction because of our sexually immorality. It was you, Paul, that said “ It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father's wife.” (1Cor 5:1-5) We can only argue that this kind of depravity was brought on by the temptation of flesh, and we do not wish to sin.
You have preached that “the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried”, we wish to practice this both out and inside of marriage. (1 Cor 7:8) Those who choose to marry do so because they can not practice self-control, and are aflame with passion. (1 Cor 7: 9) Through marriage you have told us that the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Cor 7:4) Therefore together they practice abstinence so they may be fully be committed to Christ, and not be tempted in this age, the end of days. (Ehrman 236)
Secondly, you seem deeply concerned with our eating of idol meat, you say to us:
Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience,…