Acts 15

Read Acts 15.

The early church was booming. Both Jews and Gentiles were responding to the gospel. The bride of Christ was still enjoying the excitement of the honeymoon phase, if you will.

And then Acts 15 happened.

First, there arose in the early church “no small dissension and debate” regarding the requirements for the newly converted Gentile Christians (v. 2). Later in Acts 15, “a sharp disagreement” arose between two prominent ministry partners, Paul and Barnabas, and their differing opinions of John Mark (v. 39). Fissures were forming in the first-century family of faith.

But the early church leaders refused to allow dissensions, debates, and disagreements to slow the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church. The Jerusalem Council quickly convened to denounce any unnecessary obstacles that might hinder “the Gentiles who turn[ed] to God” (v. 19). Paul and Barnabas opted to carry on their respective ministries in different directions rather than dwell on their disagreement (though I’m inclined to believe they eventually reconciled based on Paul’s later affirmation of John Mark in 2 Tim. 4:11).

It’s probably no secret to you that dissensions, debates, and disagreements still arise in the church some 2,000 years later. May we learn from our first-century family of faith and be equally determined to acknowledge and address our disagreements in ways that do not distract from the mission to make disciples.

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