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Acts 15:1-18

And so the early church slipped into institutional mode within a score of years after Jesus. Doesn't take long. Here's the story of the church at their first council where they are debating the rules and regulations of membership: should the Gentiles be circumcised, along with food laws and who might they be allowed to associate. All the side issues before they got to the main one of whether salvation was open to Gentiles ie the church was becoming universal and it was still in Jewish cultural mode. Which has been a problem for the church (and any institution) ever since.

A big issue, especially in faith, is to separate cultural issues from truly faith issues because we do tend to focus on cultural thing before the much leaner, more minimalist faith thing. Faith is actually very simple and basic. Jesus never really complicates it. He sums it up often in a couple of lines: love God and love neighbour, everything else is commentary. It really does get down to simple things like that and then we complicate it with rules about gender and sexuality and race and denomination and eucharist etc.

Of course there need to be rules. It keeps order, but then the kingdom of God doesn't seem to go in for order at all. It works against a whole lot of cultural rules such a good Samaritans, prodigals allowed to return, enemies to be loved, children brought into importance... and so on.

Looking forward to the General Assembly in a few weeks?!?!

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Rev Roddy Hamilton

0141 942 8827

Scottish Charity SC012997

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