Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Exclusivity Doctrine and Circumcision

At first, the Christian Church was made up entirely of Jews. This makes sense, of course, for Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. The apostles only went out to Jews originally because they did not realize Jesus was relevant to everyone (and the Mosaic Laws, which they still kept, did not allow them to easily evangelize Gentiles).

But then God's visions to Paul and Peter opened the door to the Gentiles. They were evangelized, but they were required to convert to Jewish customs, including circumcision because...of course...the Jews still thought the blessings of Jesus only were for the Jews.

This caused a great deal of problems for Paul in particular. There were many Gentiles who wanted to join Christianity, but they did not want to go through circumcision...which is very painful in adults. The circumcision requirement was keeping Gentiles "at the gates," stopping salvation to reach everyone who wanted to follow Jesus.

And so the Jerusalem Council was held [Acts 15]. After Peter and Paul spoke, James offered as a compromise to foster peace in the church between Jewish Christians (who demanded all Christians be circumcised and follow the Law) and Gentile Christians (who Paul had told did not need to be circumcised.) James' compromise was to require the Gentiles to keep some of the Law, avoiding the actions many Jews found particularly repugnant.

The thing that intrigues me about this piece of church history is that circumcision was stopping people from joining the church and following Christ, keeping thousands of people out of the church, and the decision was made not to require it (for good reason).

Today a similar situation occurs in conservative Christianity. How many people love Christ's teachings but just cannot get over the idea that only Christians avoid hell? The requirement to hold this doctrine seems like a modern circumcision requirement, keeping millions of people from pursuing biblical Christianity...instead they find churches that do not care about the Bible or they just reject Christianity altogether.

The Jews were certain scripture required everyone to be circumcised....just like modern conservative Christians are certain the Bible says all non-believers go to hell.

But those early Jewish Christians were wrong about their understanding of Scripture, and Paul showed them. And evangelicals are wrong about their interpretation of scripture... and I hope to show them.

2 comments:

Bailey said...

Dave,

Honesty concerning His Word is truly appreciated. As you know, we both labor and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God who is the Savior of ALL men (especially of those that believe). Nevertheless, be encouraged - the first will come last, and the last will be first good friend; the Truth is like a breath of fresh air.

Consider what the modern winds of doctrine promote and how they have been propagated, and contemplate what Yah'Shua meant in Matthew 9:13 and 12:7. For those who love the Truth, place His words spoken in the New Covenant in context with Jeremiah 7:22-23 and Hosea 6:6, etc.. As the depth and variety of God's mercy became revealed, David pondered, 'Why do you boast in evil, O mighty men? ...'

He learned the lovingkindness of God endures all day long!

Did you ever hear of Yah'Shua employing tactics such as bribery, lying, war mongering, etc. - to solve His issues; or better yet, to rectify ours?

Of course not; He said, "I always do the will of My Father."

Although He was surrounded by folks (jews, etc.) who ostensibly were God's people and ostensibly kept the commandments, He did not resort to fruitless tactics because they are not the Father's principles.

It seems many modern folks, jew & gentile alike, seem to encounter tremendous difficulty with the acceptance, and therefore perception, of a supreme God who delights in exercising lovingkindness, justice and righteousness within the sphere - even more so with one who would dare offer EVERY man their lucky lotto numbers - lol

'Churchians' appear of this breed of spirit, and so, become much the same; they cannot believe the Father of Life offers the 'wicked' Samaritans a comparable wage, considering all the former have 'sacrificed' & 'been taught about god.' If anyone is to see one, we highly recommend giving them a hug ...

The gospels say that Yah'Shua "trusted no man," and He kept Himself separate from them spiritually even though He was among them constantly; healing, teaching, and receiving abuse and persecution because He was peculiar to them and a threat.

How did He threaten them? By making them face up to their justifications; their lies to themselves.

May the blessings of servitude and humility continue to reveal the Truth concerning reality.

One Love

Matthew said...

After reviewing your work, I have to say: Impressive. Based on everything you didn't say, I KNOW I am not crazy. lol. Let me just re-iterate that its positively wonderful to meet you Dave, and Bailey too. I'm certain that I'll be reading your stuff more often. After all, I know good when i see it.

Peace and Love
Matthew