CHRIST, THE GOSPEL AND CULTURAL CONFLICT
THE GOSPEL--CONFLICT RESOLUTION WITHOUT COMPROMISE
Acts 15 - Christ and Cultural Conflict - The Church as a Change Agent (the problem raised produced the Book of Romans and Galatians)
Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the book, Christ Against Culture
Christ equals culture
Christ against culture
Christ renews culture
Christ challenges culture
Acts 15 - The Center of The Early Church and the Turning Point Toward The West (Europe, Western Civilization)
I. WHO WERE THE DEBATERS? Peter, Paul, Barnabas and James (15.22-29)
II. WHY DID THEY FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THAT GENTILES COULD BE SAVED? (e.g. Genesis 12 - All the nations of the earth); Ruth, a Moabite; Jonah and Ninevah)
III. IT RAISED THE QUESTION OF HOW JEWISH CHRISTIANS LIVING UNDER THE LAW COULD HAVE FELLOWSHIP AT THE TABLE WITH GENTILES?
IV. WHY HAS THIS SECTION OF ACTS RAISED SO MUCH CONTROVERSY?
(James quotation from Amos 9.11-12 (Acts 15.13-21)
A solution was required in order for peaceful coexistence of Jewish and Gentile Christians.
Then and Now! What is our response -- Just 40 Days Before 2000??
Permanent lessons learned:
1. Salvation is an issue of Christian Faith.
2. Fellowship is an issue of Christian Love.
Questions Raised by the Council of Jerusalem:
1. The Jewish leaders had no difficulty with the general concept of believing Gentiles- Why not?
2. What particular difficulty did they have? (Acts 15.1-4)
3. In what way were the 'very foundations of the Christian faith ...being undermined'?
4. Why did Paul oppose Peter so strongly? (15.5-21)
5. Luke summarizes the three speeches made by Peter, Paul and Barnabas, and James. To what threefold work of God does Peter draw attention?
6. What contribution did Paul and Barnabas make to the debate?
7. What lies behind James's statement that God has taken 'from the Gentiles a people for himself' in verse 13?
8. Why does he quote from the prophet Amos? On what does he base his conclusion?
9. James's judgment includes a request that Gentiles abstain from four things - why these four?
10. Are they moral or ceremonial issues? (Acts 15.22-29)
11. What three important points are made in the letter?
12. What led to Paul and Barnabas splitting up?
13. In Galatia, Paul circumcised Timothy. How can he be defended against the charge of being inconsistent in his attitude to Jewish law?
14. What happened to the churches as a result of the Jerusalem Council's decision?
15. What is it that preserves the unity of the Church?
16. How did Paul 'unite the church without compromising the gospel' and 'defend the church without sacrificing the unity of the church'?