11/3/11 Deuteronomy 16-18; Psalm 38; Galatians 2
S: Galatians 2:11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.
O: There was no denying that Peter was indeed the man chosen by Jesus to lead the church. But that doesn’t mean he was incapable of error.
He had earlier been taught by the Holy Spirit that Gentiles are to be accepted into the church without having to first become circumcised Jews, in the incident with the sheet let down from heaven with different kinds of animals before God sent him to lead Cornelius to Christ.
However, many Pharisees like Paul had become Christians, but most of them, unlike Paul, still retained their own Pharisaic prejudices against the uncircumcised. So they became an influential faction in the early church – the Judiazers.
Peter allowed himself to be influenced by the Judiazers to shun the uncircumcised Christians, so Paul was forced to confront him for disobeying Jesus’ instructions to transcend the circumcision barrier.
A: It is right and just for us to show proper respect to our pastors and Christian leaders. However, they, too, are imperfect human beings, and we must not give them blind support.
Many a church has been led astray by unquestioning following of pastors who stray into some kind of extremism. We need to have many mature Christians in every church who know the scripture well and are able to detect if the pastor strays.
Each of us as individual believers have a responsibility to grow in our faith and understanding of scripture to be able to play such a role, while at the same time being properly submissive to our spiritual leaders without usurping their authority unjustly.
P: Father, help me to hold that proper balance between submission to my spiritual authorities and discernment in case they go astray.