My Thoughts. . .
What did God have in mind when Jesus promised to build his, “church”? Some believed we should resurrect the Jerusalem congregation and make it our blueprint for restoration. Would that be a pattern? If so, then why did inspired members neglected to preach to the Gentile world for a generation or more? Who was at fault? A bewildered apostle Peter went to the house of Cornelius and introduced them to Jesus. The Spirit fell on the Gentiles causing Peter to command baptism. When this news reach Jerusalem it did not produce a chorus of “hallelujahs.” Time and conversions continued in the Gentile world. However, questions grew asking whether or those converts were “real Christians” without being circumcised. This question required a counsel made up of the apostles, elders, and Jerusalem congregation on whether to accept uncircumcised Gentiles as “true” Christians (Acts 15). Although the decision was made to accept Gentiles as saved without being circumcised, not all Jewish Pharisee Christians accepted that decision (Galatians 1:6-9, 5:4). Yes, God saved Pharisees. Jesus’ brother, the Jerusalem congregation, and other Jewish churches were allowed to continue following the Law of Moses (Acts 21:20). Gentiles were not required to do so. Tolerances between the two was commanded but not always followed (Romans 14). After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D., the Gentile churches grew, but not so with the Jewish ones. Jewish practices in the church were avoided by Gentile saints.
Scripture is one thing, but life can force alternate views to become acceptable. In 1860 to 1865 Southern disciples fought against Northern believers with each thinking that God was on their side. That thinking ended with 1.5 million military and civilian being killed. The views of disciples who were US citizens in 1918 were a lot different from the citizenry on December 7, 1941. Churches cold shouldered those members who fought in WWI but warmed up some in their attitude of those who served in WWII. Some German believers applauded Adolph Hitler’s resurrection of Germany’s pride after he was elected. Some blindsided themselves concerning his elimination of the Jews, gypsies, and others. That conflict ended with worldwide deaths of 70 to 85 million civilians and military from 1940 to 1945. Lessons were learned, but not enough to stop the same thinking process which continued to take lives from 1946 to the present.
Even today the idea is accepted that we may substitute Jesus’ instructions with practices more in line with modern culture. Whether this is permitted by God is not clearly outlined in Scripture. Usually, disciples of Jesus will criticize the political party in control rather than pray for them. Peter commanded Christians to “honor the king” even though Rome was applauding the lions in Coliseum events where those carnivorous beast were devouring Christians (1 Peter 2:17). If we do not agree with that kind of response, we describe how hot it will be for those politicians. If someone slaps us, we seldom turn the other cheek. When disagreements arise in a congregation, the dissension often destroys fellowship (Acts 15:36-40). Then both sides justify their behavior, believing God is on their side while the other is following Satan! If it were not for the grace of God, both would feel the heat!
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