We’ve been here before

From the first decades of the church, controversy over doctrine has troubled us. In the New Testament we have evidence of a deep and divisive debate over what followers of Christ should and should not do.

We find this in many places, but some of the evidence can be found in Acts 15 and 21, Galatians 2, and Romans 14. We see here the church and its leaders wrestling with and disagreeing over what food to eat, among other issues. And we see, especially in Romans 14, Paul’s pastoral wisdom in living within a church divided over doctrine.

Some people might think sex and food do not have a great deal in common, but they are both personal and bodily in ways that are quite intimate. (Maybe these are the words of a fat guy.) They also are both items on the list of particulars of the Acts 15 council.

I don’t know what we would learn from these biblical texts. Perhaps we would all be trapped by our original commitments. Peter and Paul had a tough time working through their differences. James and Paul appear never to have agreed.

Can we learn from the apostolic controversies or merely repeat them?