When a council gave sound counsel – Wednesday, 5th Week of Easter – Acts 15:1-6

Paul and Barnabas have returned from their first missionary journey. As a rule they always went first to the synagogue to preach the message of Christ, as they did in Iconium and Antioch of Pisidia. But we know that in Lystra there was no synagogue and so the apostles began to preach to the people in the streets. It is here that they first minster to the Gentiles.

On returning to Antioch, they report to the whole Church that “God had opened the door of faith for the Gentiles.” As inconsequential as this statement may seem, it will be the cause of much division in the Early Church and become for Paul, a constant challenge in his ministry.

It was in Antioch, that some individuals who came down from Judea, began to teach that salvation could only be obtained through fidelity to the Law of Moses and as manifested through the act of circumcision. From Paul’s own experience of his first missionary journey, he had come to believe that one was saved by Jesus freely, and that the Mosaic Law had no role to play in salvation. It is no wonder then that he and Barnabas had “no small dissension and debate” with these individuals from Judea.

It is interesting to see how the Early Church solved their disagreements; and dare I say with a spirit that goes beyond the mere confines of what we consider democracy. We are told that in order to resolve this dispute, the Church in Antioch decided to send Paul, Barnabas and “some of the others” to Jerusalem to discuss the issue with the apostles and elders.

Spread the love ♥
Continue Reading