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Acts 15

June 22, 2008

Just a short step back into my Church of Christ days.

It would seem that Acts 15 and the events surrounding this would forever challenge anyone’s ideas about patternism or any worship rules and church structure rules of what one must do to keep saved.

The Jerusalem council goes against many tenants of the patternistic Church of Christ. Send a letter to all of the churches? Gather as a group to establish acceptable practices for all churches? No autonomy there.
Explain that they should avoid food offered to idols, sexual immorality, eating strangled meat and from consuming blood? That list looks nothing like the one I grew up with. These pagan worshippers would have certainly needed to know how important instruments were.

I still don’t see how any can argue such a position in light of what transpired in Jerusalem. I guess James and the rest were mistaken. I guess they needed to wait for the entire New Testament to be compiled so they could cobble together a list of rules, dos and don’ts. I suppose if they had a completed NT they would have known better than to focus on meat, blood and sexual immorality.

I will never understand this one. Anyway, after the weekend I will be back to my regularly scheduled program. I just had a conversation that left me scratching my head. I will probably never get it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2008 3:09 pm

    Darin – Thanks for the post. We got to this verse during a study of Acts and it always seems funny to me. I mean, of all the things that the Jerusalem council could have written it was not the “biggies”. It is also interesting how people who try so hard to hold on to a pattern decide that this is not one.

    Here’s what is interesting… What IS Acts 15 saying? First I think that we can ALL learn from Acts 15:19 – we should not make it difficult for people who are turning to God. There’s a lesson there isn’t there? What do we do that makes it difficult for people who are turning to God? What should we stop doing? The second part is vs. 20 & 21… While we need to make sure we are not making it difficult for those who are turning to God, we also must understand the cultural context in which we live. The reason for their instruction in vs. 20 is because the law of Moses has been preached in every city from very early times (vs. 21) and so there are certain things we need to be aware of so that our influence isn’t damaged.

    Sorry for the rant, but it was a post that struck a chord in me.

    Love you brother.


  2. June 22, 2008 4:38 pm

    That is not a rant, that preaches.

    I have to use that one. That is an outline ready made.

  3. June 23, 2008 12:31 am

    Some have argued that the requirements put on Gentile Christians that you mentioned in your post were basically the rules from Leviticus that God says are expected of the aliens and strangers (Gentiles) living among them. In other words they were expected to keep the same rules as Gentiles had always been expected to keep if they were a part of God’s people. I have looked at Leviticus and it seems like there is a connection there but maybe not 100%. Hard to say.

  4. June 23, 2008 2:58 am

    I have heard that as well. Doesn’t that make it even more confusing?

  5. June 23, 2008 6:45 am

    Yeah. I missed my calling. It is sooo much fun coming up with lesson outlines. You’re right. Some things just preach. I should have been a preacher instead of construction. HAHA!! Although… I like not having my paycheck tied to my study of scripture. They can’t fire me and they can’t dock my pay. I enjoy being our pastor’s ally.

    Love you bro.


  6. benoverby permalink
    June 23, 2008 10:04 am


    That’s so true. The early disciples understood that God was uniting all things, things in heaven and things in earth. That ultimate purpose modulated their beliefs about their own boundary markers. They weren’t willing to allow their national boundary markers to become a test for fellowship and therefore a stumbling block for non-Jews. Today it is still a fact in general that churches of Christ are willing to make their own identity markers a boundary to fellowship with all others. Contrary to the early disciples, churches of Christ allow identity markers to modulate their beliefs relative to other matters. Fear and pride are at the center of this anti-gospel which has the effect of attempting to unite all things in the “church of Christ” denomination.

    It’s a madness that can drive some men out of ministry! : )

  7. June 23, 2008 5:59 pm

    Ben, I think your analysis contains a lot of truth. Not only does this madness drive some men out of ministry, it causes good people to do bad things.

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