Author Topic: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?  (Read 1328 times)

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 45555
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« on: November 21, 2022, 07:32:20 PM »
1. Yes, Paul knew, he was there according to Acts 15 and hears about it again in Acts 21 when Paul returned to Jerusalem and faced charges that he was teaching the Jews who live among Gentiles to reject Moses. (Quotes from the CEB)

Acts 15:2: The church at Antioch appointed Paul, Barnabas, and several others from Antioch to go up to Jerusalem to set this question before the apostles and the elders.

Acts 15:12: The entire assembly fell quiet as they listened to Barnabas and Paul describe all the signs and wonders God did among the Gentiles through their activity.

Acts 21:18 On the next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James. All of the elders were present.

While this council affirmed "On the contrary, we believe that we and they are saved in the same way, by the grace of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 15:11); also imposed a few rules from Moses that are repeated three times in Acts.

Acts 15:20 avoid …                            Acts 15:29 refuse …               Acts 21:25 avoid …
the pollution associated with idols       refuse food offered to idols     avoid food offered to idols
sexual immorality                              blood                                    blood
eating meat from strangled animals    meat from strangled animals   meat from strangled animals
consuming blood                               sexual immorality                   sexual immorality

Acts 15:20 τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι …        Acts 15:29 ἀπέχεσθαι …     Acts 21:25 φυλάσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς …
τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων   εἰδωλοθύτων                     τό τε εἰδωλόθυτον
καὶ τῆς πορνείας                         καὶ αἵματος                       καὶ αἷμα
καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ                          καὶ πνικτῶν                       καὶ πνικτὸν
καὶ τοῦ αἵματος                          καὶ πορνείας                      καὶ πορνείαν

2. Paul does not make any reference to this decision when he writes about εἰδωλόθυτον in 1 Corinthians 8(:1, 4, 7, 10) and 10(:19). He does not prohibit it.

There are some with "knowledge." They know that false gods are nothing. The food has been sacrificed to nothing, so there's nothing wrong with (probably going to the pagan temple) and eating food there.

There are some who don't have this knowledge, who believe that such food was really dedicated to a false god. They cannot eat it. To illustrate the power of forbidden foods, a former Muslim talked about the first time he ate pork. He didn't know that it was pork. An hour later he asked about that meat. They told him it was pork. His body reacted. He vomited. My wrestling coach had a similar experience when he learned that the food he was eating in Japan was slug.

Food issues involve more than just knowledge in our heads.

While Paul doesn't talk specifically about εἰδωλόθτον that could be the context in his comments "One person believes in eating everything, while the weak person eats only vegetables" (Romans 14:2).

Paul confesses: "I know and I'm convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is wrong to eat in itself. But if someone thinks something is wrong to eat, it becomes wrong for that person" (Rom 14:14). [Note that "wrong to eat" is the CEB's translation of κοινός. Generally, it refers to "what is common, ordinary," but in regards to the cultic, it is often in contrast to what is sacred, consecrated, and thus can mean "profane" or "defiled." We continue to make this distinction between the consecrated bread and wine of the sacrament, and "ordinary" bread and wine that we eat at other places.]

I believe that this verse was the background for listing four positions within the ELCA in regards to same-sex relationships. For those who consider them wrong, they are wrong. For those who consider them acceptable, they are acceptable. I also see it in the LCMS in regards to women's participation in worship. Some think its OK and women read some lessons, etc. Others do not think it's acceptable, so women do not read.

Back to the main topic. Paul does not seem to indicate any knowledge about the Jerusalem Council's decree, which in participated in, according to Acts. Rather than advising Gentile believers to refuse to eat food sacrificed to idols; he indicates that he can be acceptable for some to do so - those who have the knowledge that they are nothing. He also puts himself into that category.

He seems to have had no knowledge of the prohibition against eating food that had been sacrificed to idols; or, if he knew, he disagreed with it.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4420
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2022, 12:32:41 AM »
So special revelation trumps tradition and Creed....nothing new under the sun coming from you.
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7224
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2022, 01:08:52 AM »
I believe that this verse was the background for listing four positions within the ELCA in regards to same-sex relationships. For those who consider them wrong, they are wrong. For those who consider them acceptable, they are acceptable. I also see it in the LCMS in regards to women's participation in worship. Some think its OK and women read some lessons, etc. Others do not think it's acceptable, so women do not read.

It seems that your window for convincing fellow Lutherans of this is closing.  From what I know of the LCMS, it was never going to fly. (Think of Mr. Carlson at WKRP.) More importantly, our own ELCA is preparing to reject your argument as well.  ELM and Reconciling Works, along with CWA 2022, have made it clear that they will not tolerate more than one position in the future ELCA. 

« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 01:19:41 AM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7224
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2022, 01:16:01 AM »
So special revelation trumps tradition and Creed....nothing new under the sun coming from you.

Oh, I doubt whether Brian believes in special revelation.  That would imply some kind of coherence within the Canon.  Furthermore, that would mean that the Church's Tradition [of Interpretation] which has found ways to discern this unity, would also be relevant. 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 01:18:05 AM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 45555
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2022, 01:18:50 AM »
So special revelation trumps tradition and Creed....nothing new under the sun coming from you.


Huh? What special revelation? Everything I posted is based on scriptures. Paul does not forbid the eating of food sacrificed to idols as the Apostolic Council's decreed. Perhaps you can offer a different understanding of εἰδωλύθτον in Acts 15; 21 and in 1 Cor 8; and Paul's comments about food in Romans 14.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 45555
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2022, 01:23:22 AM »
I believe that this verse was the background for listing four positions within the ELCA in regards to same-sex relationships. For those who consider them wrong, they are wrong. For those who consider them acceptable, they are acceptable. I also see it in the LCMS in regards to women's participation in worship. Some think its OK and women read some lessons, etc. Others do not think it's acceptable, so women do not read.

It seems that your window for convincing fellow Lutherans of this is closing.  From what I know of the LCMS, it was never going to fly.  More importantly, our own ELCA is preparing to reject your argument as well.  ELM and Reconciling Works, along with CWA 2022, have made it clear that they will not tolerate more than one position in the future ELCA.


No, I don't believe that the ELCA is going to reject my argument. There will always people in congregations - and perhaps a majority in some congregations - that hold to the traditional view of homosexual relationships. I had people in congregations who still opposed women's ordination 40 years after it was approved. My hope and expectation is that they will be welcomed in their congregations. That they can express their beliefs; but not force them onto other members. Similarly, I hope that those with more progressive believes will not force them or judge others who don't quite share their beliefs.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7224
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2022, 01:29:02 AM »
I believe that this verse was the background for listing four positions within the ELCA in regards to same-sex relationships. For those who consider them wrong, they are wrong. For those who consider them acceptable, they are acceptable. I also see it in the LCMS in regards to women's participation in worship. Some think its OK and women read some lessons, etc. Others do not think it's acceptable, so women do not read.

It seems that your window for convincing fellow Lutherans of this is closing.  From what I know of the LCMS, it was never going to fly.  More importantly, our own ELCA is preparing to reject your argument as well.  ELM and Reconciling Works, along with CWA 2022, have made it clear that they will not tolerate more than one position in the future ELCA.

No, I don't believe that the ELCA is going to reject my argument. There will always people in congregations - and perhaps a majority in some congregations - that hold to the traditional view of homosexual relationships. I had people in congregations who still opposed women's ordination 40 years after it was approved. My hope and expectation is that they will be welcomed in their congregations. That they can express their beliefs; but not force them onto other members. Similarly, I hope that those with more progressive believes will not force them or judge others who don't quite share their beliefs.

The CWA has already voted to do that very thing, and as the slogan goes, the CWA is the ELCA in assembly.  It will be written into the official policies of the ELCA.  And as you often point out, the official documents of the ELCA determine what "the ELCA believes."   
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 01:30:57 AM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15501
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Colorin
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2022, 03:39:29 AM »
So can one who opposes certain policies of the ELCA continue to express their Christian faith as a member of an ELCA congregation?
   So long as their opposition is not on essential matters of salvation, I would hope so. (I also know that in the present climate, what I hope for is not always the case.)
   Accepting gay marriage is not an essential matters of salvation.
   It seems to me that rejecting gay marriage (or some other practices) is for some an essential matter of salvation. If the denomination allows it, they say they cannot be in that denomination. Furthermore, they must denounce that denomination and its members as non-Lutheran or non-Christian.
   I have always known LCMS congregations where I would be glad to participate or even be a member. But even if I did not insist on raising the female or gay pastor issue, or if I did raise those issues for discussion, I would be run out.
   As an internal juridical or fellowship matter, that’s one thing. As a judgment on my faith or a condemnation of the denomination I would join that accepts gay marriage, that is something quite different.
   
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist  Writer for many church publications.

Richard Johnson

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10731
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2022, 09:03:40 AM »
So can one who opposes certain policies of the ELCA continue to express their Christian faith as a member of an ELCA congregation?
   So long as their opposition is not on essential matters of salvation, I would hope so. (I also know that in the present climate, what I hope for is not always the case.)
   Accepting gay marriage is not an essential matters of salvation.
   It seems to me that rejecting gay marriage (or some other practices) is for some an essential matter of salvation. If the denomination allows it, they say they cannot be in that denomination. Furthermore, they must denounce that denomination and its members as non-Lutheran or non-Christian.
   I have always known LCMS congregations where I would be glad to participate or even be a member. But even if I did not insist on raising the female or gay pastor issue, or if I did raise those issues for discussion, I would be run out.
   As an internal juridical or fellowship matter, that’s one thing. As a judgment on my faith or a condemnation of the denomination I would join that accepts gay marriage, that is something quite different.
 

You seem to think there are not also those who would refuse to be part of a denomination that did NOT allow gay marriage.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15501
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Colorin
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2022, 10:23:02 AM »
Agreed.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist  Writer for many church publications.

MaddogLutheran

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3754
  • It's my fantasy football avatar...
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2022, 10:49:17 AM »
So special revelation trumps tradition and Creed....nothing new under the sun coming from you.


Huh? What special revelation? Everything I posted is based on scriptures. Paul does not forbid the eating of food sacrificed to idols as the Apostolic Council's decreed. Perhaps you can offer a different understanding of εἰδωλύθτον in Acts 15; 21 and in 1 Cor 8; and Paul's comments about food in Romans 14.

As Pastor Charlton just observed, you refuse to be bound by prior historical interpretations of any such passages you find an obstacle to your updated meaning.  You're a gnostic whose secret/hidden knowledge is your Greek dictionary and grammar skills which unlocks the true meaning hidden for centuries by the patriarchy and misogyny of the Roman Empire.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 12:07:51 PM by MaddogLutheran »
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15501
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Colorin
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2022, 10:59:22 AM »
And if you do not think an oppressive patriarchy and vicious misogyny influenced the church over many many centuries, then you do not understand history.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist  Writer for many church publications.

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 20252
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2022, 11:04:09 AM »
And if you do not think an oppressive patriarchy and vicious misogyny influenced the church over many many centuries, then you do not understand history.
That the patriarchy has often been oppressive is well documented. That the solution to that problem should be for the patriarchy not to be oppressive or whether it means it should be abolished in favor of egalitarian anarchy is a question for which we have to look either to divine revelation or to modern sociology, but won't be able to look to both.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 11:40:41 AM by peter_speckhard »

MaddogLutheran

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3754
  • It's my fantasy football avatar...
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2022, 11:16:11 AM »
And if you do not think an oppressive patriarchy and vicious misogyny influenced the church over many many centuries, then you do not understand history.
Then I guess we should just burn it all down.  Where should we start, exactly?  Oh, that's right, we (well you and your fellow travelers) already have.  Except it has no limiting principle. 

How exactly do we decide what to keep?  What is untainted?  Sounds like your project is a revival of iconoclasm.  Yeah, I'm the one who doesn't understand history.  ::)
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 45555
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Was Paul Aware of the Apostolic Council?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2022, 01:39:20 PM »
So special revelation trumps tradition and Creed....nothing new under the sun coming from you.

Huh? What special revelation? Everything I posted is based on scriptures. Paul does not forbid the eating of food sacrificed to idols as the Apostolic Council's decreed. Perhaps you can offer a different understanding of εἰδωλύθτον in Acts 15; 21 and in 1 Cor 8; and Paul's comments about food in Romans 14.

As Pastor Charlton just observed, you refuse to be bound by prior historical interpretations of any such passages you find an obstacle to your updated meaning.  You're a gnostic whose secret/hidden knowledge is your Greek dictionary and grammar skills which unlocks the true meaning hidden for centuries by the patriarchy and misogyny of the Roman Empire.

Please share those historical interpretations. I just looked at the biblical passages for their "plain meaning." I didn't consult commentaries that might give those historical interpretations. (I note the "s" that there could be multiple historical understandings.)

You are right, I am not bound by historical interpretations. I believe that the Truth of scriptures is found by reading scriptures. Not by reading commentaries. When I read commentaries - and I have hundreds of them - it comes after I've spent a lot of time studying the biblical text. That is the source of God's Word, not commentaries.

However, I just looked at a couple commentaries on Acts and 1 Corinthians, including those in the Hermeneia series - both written by Hans Conzelmann. The closest they come to answer my question: "Was Paul aware of the Apostolic Council?" is Conzelmann's excursus that dealt with the relationship between Paul's trips to Jerusalem as described in Acts and in Galatians. A conclusion: "A harmonization of the data about the journeys to Jerusalem in Galatians and in Acts is not possible" (p. 121). If Galatians is used as the source for what happened in Jerusalem: "Gentile Christians should be free from the Law and Paul should take up a collection for the Jerusalem church in his missionary travels" (p. 121).

Another commentary on Acts in the Hermeneia series, by Richard Pervo. He writes in an excursus: "Although it is possible that the decree did originate in Jerusalem as a guide for mixed communities, it is more likely to have been worked out in a mixed Diaspora community where the desire for compromise was strong. Paul would have nothing to do with such compromises, so long as they were compulsory, and those liked to James (cf. Gal 2;12) would not have been likely to find this acceptable, since they seem to have required strict observance." (p. 376)

I ask again, what historical interpretations do you have to share? How do they answer they question: Was Paul aware of the Apostolic Council?
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]