Acts 15v1 "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved"
- The church will often face those who wish to add to, diminish from or over extend the terms of communion established by the word of God. The principles of Acts 15 can be applied to all and any of these situations also. It is just as unscriptural to diminish from as to add to what God requires.
- In this case there was addition to, but in much of the New Testament e.g. Corinth and Churches of Asia there was a laxity on these matters i.e. participation in idolatry and immorality.
- Differences in relation to terms of communion may often relate to correct interpretation of scripture including the prohibitions of the mosaic law and the degree of continuity between old and new treatments
- Sometimes this may even impact upon and distort the teaching of the gospel and v24 subverts and plunders souls
- This will also subvert the foundations of the church
v.2-3 "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren."
- Where terms of communion are distorted in this way division and strife inevitably results
- Which will lead to permanent disunity (Rom 14:1)
- It is our duty to resist and oppose false teaching and practice that subverts the unity of the church and the purity of the gospel in this area
- It is the role of church courts to handle such questions and to assert the scriptural view upon it.
- Ignoring such questions or making them a matter of individual conscience will not settle them as they concern the whole church