councils

councils
Porcius Festus became procurator of Judaea in 59 CE and confronted Paul, a prisoner at Caesarea; after consulting his advisory council he confirmed Paul's appeal to Caesar. Paul's trials follow what was predicted in the apocalyptic chapter of the synoptic gospels (e.g. Luke 21:12, following Mark 13:9)—the warning that disciples will be handed over to councils.
The meeting between leaders of the Church of Jerusalem and delegates from Antioch led by Paul and Barnabas described in Acts 15 is often referred to as the Council of Jerusalem. At it a compromise was reached between Jewish Christians and those spearheading the successful mission to the Gentiles. The former feared for moral standards if Gentiles flooded into the Church without any obligations to keep the Jewish Law; the latter insisted that the Holy Spirit was being given to Gentiles without their first becoming Jews (by circumcision). James the Lord's brother, presiding, suggested a compromise: no compulsory circumcisions before admission to the Church, but Jewish food laws should be respected in order to ensure a common table-fellowship at meals.
There is doubt whether this harmonious Council took place. Clearly Luke, author of the Acts, was anxious to portray the Church as an institution of reconciliation and peace and he may have given an imaginative account of a meeting also mentioned by Paul (Gal. 2:2 ff.) which took place privately at Jerusalem and where the discussion was evidently heated. Moreover, it is odd that Paul never has a word about the decree (Acts 15:20) which, if it had existed, he had only to quote to settle some of his disputes.

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