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THE DISPUTE OVER CIRCUMCISION

UNDAILY Episode 122


Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So, Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 

ACTS 15, 1-6 (NIV)


Antioch, the capital of the province of Syria, was a city where various cultures and religions converged. Here lived the Roman legate, and people eager for influence flocked to the city. It was here, fourteen years after Paul's conversion, that we observe events shaping early Christianity. As the Acts of the Apostles report, "certain men came down from Judea and began to teach the brethren, unsettling their minds." They proclaimed, for example, that without undergoing rites such as circumcision, one cannot be saved. This sparked one of the first debates among Christians about the role of Mosaic Law in Christianity.


 

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