Sitting on the fence; There’s nothing wrong with brotherly correction

Sitting on the fence; There’s nothing wrong with brotherly correction

Biblical Jews were known for having nothing to do with the gentiles(Matt 15:21-28). However, with the death and resurrection of Jesus, many Jews and gentiles became Christians (Matt 28:18-20). Hence, the division between them were erased by the foundational principle of Jesus which is love one another as brothers (John 13:34).

However at some point, some christians of Jewish background started objecting to the brotherhood, christianity of non-Jews and thus the salvation of non-Jews unless they were circumcized(15:1). Then, Paul and Barnabas decided bring the case to the Apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem. This was the reason for the first council of the Church(around 48–50 AD), the Jerusalem Council ( Acts 15:1-5).

However, the council ruled that the criteria for becoming a Christian is living righteous life and not circumcision , which they cited examples (Acts 15: 20).

Fast forward….

Peter came to Antioch and was associating and eating freely with the gentiles because they are all now Christians by faith of our Lord Jesus Christ which they share (Gal 2:11-12).

However, immediately some stricter Jews who are Christians came from Jerusalem, Peter “backed out and kept apart from the gentiles, out of fear of the circumcised” (Gal 2: 12)—fear of what those Jews would say.

Now, Paul rebuked Peter for such action of inconsistency, insincerity on that which has already been decided by the church in general (compare Gal 2: 11-16 and Acts 15: 1-29). In essence, the teachings of the church was that there is no more Jews nor gentiles in Christ, but all are brothers ( Acts 15:9).

If Paul was sitting on the fence when the issue of circumcision came up, certainly there shall be confusion and division in the church against Christ’s command and his teachings of togetherness (John 17:1).

If Paul was on the fence when Peter, out of fear became inconsistent, dishonest and hypocritical, many would have been laid astray(Gal 2: 13).

Every time that a turbulent, disturbing, divisive issues arise in the church ( local or universal) is God’s given opportunity to teach the people of God rightly and put those who out of fear, hypocrisy, convenience, ignorance, etc are being laid astray, in the right direction. That is one of our three munera (offices) as Catholic priests— to teach(with love), based on Christ role as a prophet, like St. Peter, Paul and apostles. And even to correct one another in brother love, as priests like St. Paul.

As for “if it’s of the Holy Spirit or of God, or not… let’s leave it, time shall tell (Acts 5:33-39).

The Jewish teacher of law, Gamaliel, who used this everliving phrase or idea, used it in the context whereby the Jewish elite class was trying to stop the operation of the apostles and disciples of Jesus, after the resurrection (Acts 5:33-39).

In the trending “zionite” case that we know, no one is trying to stop anyone from operation, but someone has been trying to point a multitude and a group leader to the right direction.

That is brotherly correction.

As for “christians (Catholic) don’t love themselves comment.”

Every Catholic should share his faith publicly and proudly even in matters like this without insult because it is in this way that we too witness to the truth of the gospel, educate ourselves and be open to learning.

In treating these cases, many Catholics have seen reasons to take their faith seriously and many have learnt a lot about their faith.

Remove the insult, everything is just wonderful.

If you like, share.

© Fr. Henry Charles Umelechi, 2024


Also read: Lessons from Chivido’s wedding

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