Friday, November 17, 2006

Acts 15: First Council of Legalism

The forerunner of all subsequent councils that met to discuss Biblical interpretations and theological conclusions was the Council of Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 15. This meeting dealt with an issue of tremendous importance to the early believers. The young church faced a question serious enough to buy Paul and Barnabas bus fare to Jerusalem to discuss it.

Some Jewish Christians taught that new Gentile Christians essentially had to convert to Judaism in order to be compliant Christians. Paul and Barnabas insisted that this was an error. It should not surprise us that Paul was virtually dumbfounded by the return to the Law: “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel”.

To settle the conflict, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem and with the apostles considered the issues. Their decision has far-reaching implications even down to our time, and is important in discussions with Adventists on the Sabbath and other requirements.

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