Gentiles & The Circumcision Covenant
The Purpose of Gentile Proselytes & The Circumcision Covenant
The circumcision / non-circumcision of gentiles created the most powerful controversy for the first century Christian Church. Whilst it get's little visibility today, at the time, no other doctrinal controversy or debate eclipsed it. Even more surprisingly, this relative backwater of a subject has massive implications for the Christian religion today.
Here at www.gentiles-and-circumcision.info we consider the subject of whether Gentiles should be circumcised under the New Covenant.
No, it doesn't sound particularly exciting really does it? But again; the implications that the study of this subject has are massive and understanding it, is an important vehicle for preserving true doctrine.
For our predecessors, in the first century church the subject of gentile circumcision (or more accurately non-circumcision) was dynamite.
But before we go there ...
How Do We Know Gentile Non-Circumcision Was A Massive Issue For The Church?
To answer this question, let's take a helicopter view.
If we do a word search on the subject in the New Testament (after Christ’s sacrifice), we find the issue of whether gentiles should be circumcised or not, is a subject to which Paul refers to 13 times directly (and more times indirectly) in Galatians. In fact it's the crux of the Galatian heresy. Furthermore he makes 16 similar references to the subject of circumcision / non-circumcision in his epistle to the gentile Church at Rome.
Additionally there are 10 references in Acts, and of course most importantly it was the subject of the only recorded doctrinal council in the New Testament at Jerusalem in Acts 15.
Which Other Doctrinal Controversy Was Greater?
No other doctrinal controversy recorded in the New Testament is as big as the non-circumcision of gentile proselytes. Try and find one.
Most Christians believe that the written Torah-law of the Old Testament is "done away". If that's true, why didn't that create a bigger controversy for a church which originally grew out of the synagogue system?
Acts 13:42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.
Where is The Controversy About "Doing Away" With "Old Testament" Torah-Laws?
Where is the same scale of debate and contention that we can see relating to the non-circumcision of gentile proselytes, for the so called "doing away" of the:
- the "Jewish" Sabbath,
- "Jewish" Holy Days in Leviticus 23,
- the Levitical sacrificial system,
- the "Jewish" food laws about clean and unclean meats (Genesis 7, Deuteronomy 14)
- etc. ?
Why Wasn't This Controversy Even Bigger Than Gentile Non Circumcision?
Actually, because these doctrines defined the religion of the synagogue and the Old Testament, why don't we see an EVEN GREATER degree of controversy IF the apostles "did away" with the written Torah-law? So why does the New Testament record no serious controversy about any of these defining Old Testament doctrines.
Why no Serious Controversy About "Doing Away" With "Old Testament" Doctrines?
Our assertion is that there was no serious controversy about the written-Torah law being "done away" for a very simple reason.
Mal 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I do not change; NKJV
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. NKJV
And that's the massive impact on the "christian" religion today.
Christianity is Missing A Massive Ingredient
As uncomfortable for some people as it is, Christianity today has largely lost its (so called) "Jewish" foundation. Actually, although the Bible sometimes refers to the first five books of the Bible as "the law of Moses" the written Torah-law is and remains the law of God. The ten commandments and the statutes and judgments were given by God to Moses. And only three verses before the start of the New Testament what do we read?
Malachi 4:4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. NKJV
Don't Believe This Website, Believe the Bible
Because these questions are such important subjects, as a matter of principle, please question everything that we're going to cover. In fact don't believe us (or anyone else for that matter) believe the Bible. Decide for yourself, how our arguments stack up or fail to stack up, like the Bereans did:
Acts 17:10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. NKJV
Next: God's Covenant With Abraham's Descendents - Genesis 17
© www.gentiles-and-circumcision.info Jan 2006.
Is the law really done away in Galatians and if so, why do many christian theologians believe that Paul kept Nazirite vows & offered sacrifices at the temple after the crucifixion?