Praying for Church Planting through the Book of Acts
The first council of church history occurs here in Acts 15. Gentile inclusion into the church had introduced a new element for most Jews. This required a patient, careful response. Gathered in Jerusalem were two camps: those who believe the Gentiles needed to obey the Mosaic Law and those who did not. The apostles and elders from surrounding cities gathered to consider the matter. It is inevitable that we encounter new developments for which we do not already have a theological "box". Discernment and patience are necessary skills for church leaders. So, we pray for gospel discernment throughout our ministry.
Peter and James, both apostles, stand to give their response to the discussion. Peter reminds them of the reality of God's saving work among the Gentiles. God had given to them the same Holy Spirit given to the Jewish believers. James helps to end the conversation by proposing that they require only that Gentiles abstain from a few cultural practices that, in general, should not be seen among God's people regardless of whether they follow the Mosaic Law or not. God was clearly in this moment because of the reception by the other apostles and elders as well as the Gentiles in Antioch. So, we pray for the grace to celebrate the fresh work of God and for unity.