Text: Acts 15:12-21
To make decisions grounded in the Word
To remember Paul’s admonition to “be at peace” with others
JAMES, THE LEADER of the Jerusalem Council, makes what we might call a “compromise” decision to help both Jewish Christians still living under the Law of Moses, and Gentile Christians who may be familiar with the rhythm of Jewish life but not living according to its dictates. These points of guidance—avoid ritually unclean food, impure sexual relations, and meat from animals that have not been properly butchered—would make it possible for Jewish believers to continue in fellowship with their Gentile brothers and sisters. We can understand Paul’s admonition to bear with one another (I Cor 8) as an expression or interpretation of the Council’s decision.
Notice, too, that James leads the Council in their decision with an examination of the situation which is then interpreted in light of the Scriptures and tradition. The decision (in this case to change practice) is guided by the Spirit and welcomed by the whole Church. This model of Christian community grappling with an important issue is good for us to understand as we grapple with our own challenging decisions in our day.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks