conflict in missions
Acts 21:15-25 (JDV)
Acts 21:15 After this we got ready and went up to Jerusalem.
Acts 21:16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us and brought us to Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to stay.
Acts 21:17 When we reached Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters welcomed us warmly.
Acts 21:18 The following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.
Acts 21:19 After greeting them, he reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
Acts 21:20 When they heard it, they glorified God and said, “You observe, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.
Acts 21:21 But they have been informed about you – that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or to live according to our customs.
Acts 21:22 So what is to be done? They will certainly hear that you’ve come.
Acts 21:23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have made a vow.
Acts 21:24 Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay for them to get their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that what they were told about you amounts to nothing, but that you yourself are also careful about keeping the law.
Acts 21:25 With regard to the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter containing our decision that they should keep themselves from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
conflict in missions
The Christian leaders in Jerusalem were not trying to change Paul’s theology. They simply wanted to avoid conflict with those who thought Paul wanted to put an end to the Jewish culture. Their proposal could have worked, but it didn’t. The enemies of Paul attacked him anyway. The conflict was inevitable.
Wherever the gospel was taken by the missionaries, it conflicted with the local culture, and it still does. But it also brought light and truth that became a blessing to every land. Taking the gospel into a new place is a dangerous task. Even if we do all that we can do to blend in, we will still see conflict.
Lord, give us the courage to go, and the love to send missionaries, in spite of the risk.