A Ministry of Grace in the Heart of Andover

Faith Gives Identity | May 15, 2017

Liberal  or conservative; protestant or catholic; Republican, Democrat or Independant; Pro-life or Pro-Choice; Duck Dynasty or Modern Family viewers; Vikings fans or Packer fans; and the list of the different types, lables or identities of everyday Americans goes on and on. We are a culture of many different ideas and beliefs. Sometimes this brings us strength. Sometimes it divides.

This was  the case in the early days of the church which found its beginnings within a strong Jewish identity and culture. However, as the good news of the empty tomb was unleashed into the world and began to change and transform the lives of many non-Jews living in the incredibly diverse Roman Empire, the question became: Should non-Jewish Christians adopt the practices of the Jewish Christians? The specific issue? Circumcision and table fellowship rules

Through the witness of the Holy Spirit coming upon the Gentiles believers in the same way it did with the Jewish Christians, plus the wisdom of the church leaders, the two different and conflicts identities were embraced and accepted. How? Through prayer, time, conversation, and faith.

Is the same possible for us today? Good question and one we will consider this weekend as we gather to lift up that in the midst of all of our differences today, our faith gives identity!