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Paul’s Arrival at Jerusalem November 6, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
Tags: , , , ,

Here are my thoughts on Acts 21:17-26.

Summary: In this passage, Paul and his companions arrived at Jerusalem; the local church greeted them warmly. Later, Paul delivered a report of his missionary endeavors among the Gentiles to James and the elders of the local church. They then implored him to display his respect for the Mosaic law by joining four believers – who had taken a religious vow – in their purification rites. That would constitute a conciliatory action on his part toward the Jews and the Jewish believers. Paul then acceded to their request.

Thoughts: Here, we see that Paul acceded to the request of James and the elders in Jerusalem that he display his respect for the Mosaic law. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 26:

His courtesy is most praiseworthy, in that he not only humbled himself for the sake of the ignorant, but also deferred to those who foolishly and groundlessly suspected him. He might well have expostulated with them because they had been so ready to believe reports damaging to his reputation. By abstaining, he showed great patience; by being so careful to win their favor, he was remarkably moderate.

This passage spurred me to consider other “gray areas” within Christianity and the degree to which one can compromise on those points. Here are some “gray areas” where I (personally) could be somewhat flexible:

  • whether women should be allowed to serve as pastors and/or elders
  • the Presbyterian practice of baptizing infants
  • (on a related note) the practice of baptism via sprinkling
  • how often one should observe Communion.

Here are some other “gray areas” where I (personally) could not compromise, though:

  • whether professing homosexuals should be allowed to serve as pastors and/or elders
  • whether the church should tolerate recreational marijuana use
  • whether it is proper to attend an interfaith service.

Admittedly these are controversial points, and I should not presume to speak for other believers in this regard. Hopefully, though, believers can agree that it is most important to help others see the truth of the Gospel message. We need wisdom from God in order to put that desire into practice.



1. Tides and Tidings - November 7, 2016

I think Paul would have had the same kind of problems.

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