I’m beginning to think more and more that not only will Position 3 succeed, but that it may be the right one to go with. I’m basing this on Acts chapter 15 (the Jerusalem Council). The only evidence Paul gave for gentiles to not be forced into circumcision, was not one of theology, but rather the fruits that he noticed being developed. Because when Paul speaks, he only gives evidence of how God has done great things through them and the gentiles “and they reported all things that God had done with them.” (Acts 15:4b). No Scripture with clear cut texts were provided.
Interestingly, it was the Pharisees who were using scripture, not even Barnabas or James used any. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” (v5)
And even more interesting is what James finally says: “Known to God from eternity are all His works. Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, (v19); “it seemed good to us” (v25a); “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us.” (v28a)
Here we see that James & the apostles made the judgement with the help of the Holy Spirit, and not one single text which gave clear evidence to go one way or the other. Therefore, can we (the Church) too, make such judgement’s, where the evidence is not so clear, with the help of the Holy Spirit? Unless I’ve missed something, I believe we have evidence of Position 3 being exercised here, in acts chapter 15. The gentiles we left alone, not forced into being circumcised, and I’m sure the Jewish Christians continued to be circumcised.
Whoa!..I just noticed something I’d never really looked into before. After the council, after everything went well, Satan would of been furious that he lost that battle, that I’m sure of. And the chapter ends with division. Paul and Barnabas go (thankfully only for the time being) their separate ways…hmm, maybe nothing, maybe some food for thought.
For me, the moral of the story is: even when God wins out, Satan still tends to find a way to bring division. But we should not allow our shortsightedness make us forget that Paul and Barnabas and! even Mark where reunited, and most likely more united that ever.
I’m going to hold onto that as my defense, to remind me not to over worry if something goes bad next year after the vote. I’ve read the last chapter of the Bible…Jesus wins