Third episode in a six-episode series called Epanding the Table. In this episode, we explore an event in the early church that doesn’t get talked about very much except by theologians, scholars and seminary students. Yet, the Council at Jerusalem is an event which the Gospel writer Luke attaches the highest importance to. This is an epoch-making event. The Council was a meeting of the apostles and elders of the Jerusalem Church. It was convened to consider the terms on which Gentile believers might be admitted to the church membership. Did one become a follower of Jesus based on behaviors such as being circumcised or what types of food they ate? Or did one become a follower of Jesus because of the work of the Holy Spirit and because by faith we are saved? This was the debate that the early church had to work through and still has to work through today. How do we talk about being a missional church? Is there a difference between a membership-model and a missional-model church? As you listen to this episode, does an answer to this question become clearer? How is the Holy Spirit at work in this event?
In this six-week series, we look at how the followers of Jesus after his crucifixion went from disciples to apostles. Jesus instructed them that they were to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. But this commission wasn't as easy as they anticipated. Conflict arose with the growing numbers of followers. They had to figure out how to be a gathered community of Jesus across the world. They had to discover what it means to expand the table. Being a follower of Jesus no longer meant that you came from a certain people, place, or nation.