In today’s (chronological) Bible reading… Acts 15,16… we see one of the major turning points in the church – and it came so early on!
Some of the converted Jews began to teach that all Christians had to be circumcised in order to be saved; not from cross to conversion, but from cross through circumcision to conversion. This was causing a rift in the church between the grace-plus-something crowd and the grace-only crowd.
It must have been difficult for once orthodox Jews to see their glorious religious system, given by God, had now been fulfilled in Jesus Christ… and was now out-of-date. So, rather than abandon it, they tried to blend the old religion with the new relationship.
We don’t see this debate surrounding circumcision in our churches today. But, we regularly struggle with those who advocate grace-plus-works. We regularly struggle with trying to blend old ways and new ways… tradition and relevance.
So, what do we do? How does the church work through these disagreements and debates and discussions? We should do now what they did then:
– Get Together.
– See What God is Doing in His Church.
– Find Out What the Bible Has to Say about it.
When they got together, and laid out the facts, and referenced the Bible, they came to the right conclusion. They DID NOT compromise doctrinally, but they DID consider others practically. In the decree, the church asked the Gentiles not to be deliberately offensive to the Jewish Christians.
All disagreements would be avoided if:
– We were less concerned about our way than God’s way… and would honestly set our way aside to discover God’s way.
– Those in the right would be considerate to those are not right yet.