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Religion & Theology
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The significance of the council of Jerusalem (Research Paper Sample)

Instructions:
Explore the Significance of the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 in the light of the cross cultural context which gave rise to the situation. Discuss briefly how the events in Galatians 2:11-14 contribute to our understanding of the cultural issues raised in the Council of Jerusalem source..
Content:
Explore the Significance of the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 in the light of the cross cultural context which gave rise to the situation. Discuss briefly how the events in Galatians 2:11-14 contribute to our understanding of the cultural issues raised in the Council of Jerusalem The book of Acts Summary The book of Acts’ genre is a Narrative history comprised of various sermons with the author of the book being Luke who was a Gentile, a doctor and a writer of the book of Luke’s gospel. Luke inscribed the book of Acts around 60-62 A.D then developed and published it in view of the Gospel of Luke and in this book the vital personality figures are the likes of Paul, Peter, John, Stephen, James, Timothy, Lydia, Barnabas, Apollos and Silas. The main purpose why Luke inscribed the book of Acts (Acts of Apostle) was to account on how the Holy Spirit empowered the believers and worked to disseminate Christ’s gospel and modelled for the future Church. The book of also holds the foundational history of the Church’s origins, how the Church proliferated from Jerusalem to Rome and elaborates on how the Church transformed from being an absolute Jewish institution to becoming a gentile and global institution. Eventually it documents on how Christianity transitioned from a religion of Jewish to that of Gentile and global institution which is an international faith, because Jesus Christ is for all and by the same token salvation is for all. Peter obtained a revelation, in Chapter 9-12, that stated gospel was literally not just for the Jewish but rather inclusive of the gentiles and that is when the gentiles like Cornelius who (who was a Roman Commander) and Saul (who was a persecutor) became passionately Jesus’ followers and initiated the dissemination of the word of God by preaching and evangelising, hence the term Christianity began to be used in Antioch. Following an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, Soul changed his Hebrew name to a Greek name Paul with the motive of reaching out to the gentiles, so then Paul and Barnabas began to evangelise and carried out the second missionary journeys to the gentiles and succeeded in some cases whilst encountering opposition in other cases. In Chapter 15 that is when a Jerusalem Council was formulated with the aim of providing permission to spread the gospel to the gentile people.[Smith.(2004-2016) http://biblehub.com/summary/acts/7.htm accessed on 02/10/2016] [Ibid] [] [ibid] [ibid] [ibid] [ibid] [ibid] Glimpse of Acts 15 Rogers describes Acts 15 as a presentation of how far the motion has been diverted from being an isolated one to a much more comprehensive. There has been substantial change with some Jewish believers concerned that things were becoming uncontrollable as according to some Jews interpretation, some Gentiles had come into faith with little or no mandate on how to live. Those Jews who had acknowledged Jesus Christ as their Messiah did not regard themselves as an element of the religious movement which was non-identical from Judaism. Their understanding of the scriptures in relation to the Messiah is the only thing that had changed otherwise they interacted, behaved and lived like Jews, after accepting Jesus as their Messiah of God. The matter of concern for the Jews was that the Gentiles were not being fully commanded in the Law of Moses, of which for many Jewish this was totally unsatisfactory.There were challenges regarding the entry of the Gentiles into Church and Luke identified the nature of the Church as becoming solely an establishment of the Jewish, composed of the Jews only who had no motive to repent nor accepting the Gentiles to partake in that establishment. Luke observed that motive as of making up a New Israel composed of both Gentiles and Jews bringing a dilemma of understanding whether this was practical and possible for Jewish Christians and Gentiles to fellowship together without the Jewish getting contaminated and become ‘unclean’ by being in contact with the Gentiles who were regarded as no remarking the Laws of Moses. The other concern was whether the Gentiles could genuinely be in a relationship with God and ‘his people’, by simply receiving and embracing Jesus as their Messiah particularly where there was a question of whether they were not supposed to receive and acknowledge the Jews Laws first and be circumcised.[Rogers.(2003).p 32] [ibid] [ibid] [ibid] [ibid] [Marshall.(1980).p 30] [ibid] The Book of Galatians Summary The book of Galatians is regarded as a letter from Apostle Paul which he inscribed to the people of early Christian communities in Galatia and these letters are also referred to as the epistles to the Galatians. Studies have suggests that Galatians is to be visualised as belonging to the genre so called apologetic letter in which Paul exhibits himself as the defendant whilst his adversaries were the accusers.The book displays Paul expressing bitterness as he tried to make sure the converts in those Churches were kept on the right path of truth and not be led to deceitful ways. As Ward puts it, Galatians is a piece of information that elaborates on how Paul wrestled for the early Christianity life and if he had lost the fight Christianity would then have been rendered an inferior sect of Judaism.[Swindoll. (2016). HYPERLINK "/resources/bible/the-pauline-epistles/galatians" /resources/bible/the-pauline-epistles/galatians . accessed on 3/10/2016] [Fung. (1988). P29] [Swindoll] [Ward.(1972).p19] Paul’s victory indicated that a Gentile would not need to turn into a Jew so as to become a Christian.[ibid] Glimpse of Galatians 2:11-14 Galatians document reveals Paul acting in defence for his Apostleship and how he comprehended the gospel, not only for his benefit but for the goodness and benefit of the gospel of Christ for men had twisted and distorted the gospel into another gospel In Galatians 2:11-14, Paul opposed Cephas when he came to Antioch because prior some men had come from James, Cephas used to feast with the Gentiles, and yet when they arrived he started to segregate himself from the Gentiles for fear of those that were from an uncircumcised class. Cephas’ hypocrisy escalated resulting in other Jews joining in as well as people like Barnabas, going out of the way of the true gospel. On realising that they had gone astray, Paul approached Cephas in front of them all and echoed: "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not a Jew, how is it then that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish custom? In verse 15 of Galatians 2 voiced that they who were not sinful Gentiles and were Jews by birth, understood that the works of the Law did not justify a person rather it is by faith in Jesus Christ therefore they too had put their faith in Jesus Christ so that they would be justified by faith and not that the works of the Law should justify them because no one is justified merely by the works.[ibid] [Galatians 2:11-14(NIV)] [ibid] [ibid] [Galatians 2:15-16] The link between Galatians 2:11-14 and Acts 15 . Mathews echoes that there is no consistency in answers to whether the second visit to the Galatian and that in Acts is similar stating that the commonly accepted chronology associates the visits of Acts 15 with the visit in Galatians 2:1.Looking at the readings from the book of Acts 15 there are certain issues that connects it to the book of Galatians and it appears the most central problems were that of circumcision. In Acts 15:1 certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers that: "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." Similarly Galatians 5:3 it reads "Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law”.Apart from the problems of circumcision there were other matters that surrounded the early Christian Church. Eighteen months prior embarking on his first missionary journey, Paul entered Antioch where he received reports that the Churches he had begun in Galatia had faced huge challenges whereby those of Christian faith seeking to live under the Mosaic Law had caused a lot of influence on the Galatian Church leading to Paul writing the book, few months before attending the Jerusalem Council in AD49. Prior attending the Jerusalem Council Paul’s Epistles talks with lucidity and wisdom regarding the controversial problems encountered in the early Church which were to do with frictions between the Christian gentiles and Christian Jews. He put emphasis on the importance of Christians to accept unity in Christ irrespective of their racial differences, for according to him Paul, these were trivial matters, and hence he called the Galatians deserters of Christ by moving themselves away from the truth of the gospel.Citing from Ramsey, Mathews says he would identify the Galatian 2:1 visit with that of Acts 11:30 which then allowed the Council at Jerusalem to take place at Antioch. Referring to other scholars, that the events in Galatians 2 happened prior the Acts 15 conference, he says it took a while for the Jewish believers to consider Paul’s thought and by association with those that came from Jerusalem, In Galatians 2, James is regarded as one who is against the table fellowship with the Gentiles. According to Wright, the group in Acts 11 was a tough group within the believers in Jerusalem and his view of this group as the same that appears in Acts 15 and also in Galatians resulting into later problems. In acts 15 however by the time of the conference, James recognised the correctness of Paul’s viewpoint even though he might not have been enjoyable to fellowship with the Gentiles. Whilst Peter was not in Antioch he succumbed to pressure from Jews who were connected to James and were against the table fellowship, as such it is ...
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