Managing Conflicts While Crossing Borders
Week 37: 07/09/2023. Fri
The harmony of the early church's outreach was heavily disrupted when differences emerged over the Gentile issue—should Gentile believers become Jews first, then become Christians? Or can Gentile believers become Christians directly without adopting the rites and regulations that applied to only Jews?
The church was split into two factions. Peter hesitated to outreach to the Gentiles without continuing to hold on to the Jewish rules of clean and unclean. This was so even when it was God who told Peter to eat (Acts 10:13-14). This hesitation would alienate the Gentile prospects already even before one could start to outreach to them with the gospel content.
On the other hand, Philip was more open to reach out, even to the Ethiopian official (Acts 8:27–30).
Crossing borders entails embarking on solving conflicts of many kinds. We solve major ones first–the status of the new believers. Who are they in Christ? The growth of the community of God's people during Peter's time required his cohort to transit to accepting Gentiles while refraining from imposing long cherished rites that only applied to themselves.
Be quick to understand God's specific mission. Be slow (or even stop) in allowing personal prejudices to disrupt the mission of God to the ends of the earth.