Galatians 2.1-10

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Just recently the issues of division in the Church came up again in a conversation I was having.  “How can we say we have it more right than others?” 

Even the great Apostle Paul went to make sure what he was teaching and preaching was right.  He went to the Apostles in Jerusalem and presented the Gospel he was proclaiming.  And he, like they in Jerusalem, were on the same page.  That is, St. Paul was preaching and teaching the right stuff.  Even still there were those present whose desire was to bring slavery back onto people.  What St. Paul means here is that there were those present desiring to have”the law” observed by all Christians, Jew or Gentile.  That is why, previous to this statement, Paul mentions how Titus was not forced to be circumcised by the Apostles in Jerusalem even though he was a Greek.  Paul says, “we did not yield to them for a moment, so that the truth of the Gospel might be preserved for you.”

Now, this was over issues of circumcision of the flesh that Paul stood his ground in defiance.  Imagine what Paul would say over matters regarding the Body and Blood of Jesus, or pluralism, or creedal confessions, or any number of other “teachings” that have crept into the Church?  In 1 Timothy 1 the Apostles excommunicates men from the Church for teaching that the Resurrection of the dead had already happened!  What would he do to people who taught that the Sacrament was not the Body and Blood of Jesus?  What might his attitude be to folks who said something like, “Meh, the Muslims, the Jews, the Hindus, and Christians are all right. ”  What might he say to us when we just say something like, “Well, we agree on 99% of everything.  So, that is good enough.”

And look at the reason the Apostle gives for his exclusivity and rigidness!  For the sake of others!  So that they might receive the true and unadulterated Gospel (story) of Jesus.  Exclusivity and Rigidity’s main concern is Evangelism to future unknown people according to St. Paul.  Let it be so for us as well.  And if it is, then let us commit ourselves all the more to knowing the unswerving Truth of the Gospel, so that at the appropriate time we might give a good and clear confession and proclamation. 

Pastor Betlz