Pew Research says 2 ½ billion Christians are in the world today—among them 1.2 billion Catholics and 800 million Protestants. God’s church is divided in many ways: by geography, by theology, but also due to pride. Notice how the early church went about resolving certain differences among them. When the issue arose of whether new converts had to be circumcised according to the Law of Moses, Acts chapter 15 records how they resolved it. They met as mature leaders recognizing their duty to honor and obey the Lord Jesus who started the church. Each side patiently listened to the other side. They introduced relevant Scripture to the issue; they took note of what God was obviously doing in their midst. After both sides had spoken, the convener, James, summarized and gave his proposal for a solution. His proposal made sure the main thing remained the main thing—that Gentiles should not be hindered from becoming members of the body of Christ. He offered concessions to address egregious issues of idolatry and immorality. These leaders used prayer, Scripture, reflection, and dialogue to help them come to a wise decision and avoid a church split. Today, we can profit from their model.
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