Becoming as all Things to all People

Question:

As usual I hesitate to ask you more questions but here goes! ,  it says in Acts 24 v 17 that Paul after several years brought alms to the nation and presented offerings in the temple, it would seem that this happened after his conversion, why would he present offerings when the Lord Jesus had been the final sacrifice as the Passover lamb, ,  I understand the offerings still went on until the temple was destroyed in 70 AD but didn’t think believers would do that.


‚  Also if you have time, a sister in the Lord is very troubled after getting an unsatisfactory answer from one of her elders on a situation that is in her church, a woman in adultery is taking from the Lord’s table and my friend believes that she shouldn’t take the Lord’s supper from the same table whilst this lady is participating in it. ‚  I said to her I would ask your advice and told her that you are very busy so may or may not have time to answer. ‚  

There seems to be more and more compromise going on on very important issues nowadays, especially if the person who needs to be addressed is friendly or a family member of the oversight. ‚  Contending for the faith is getting tougher in our experience, ‚  thank you Jacob, God bless, Rosie

Answer:

As to your first question, the answer as to why the apostles continued temple worship, Nazarite vows etc. as believers: as you rightly point out pre 70 AD the circumstances were different as for an interim period Moisaic Judaism still existed (as per the prophecies of Daniel chapt. 9) and talmudic Judaism had not yet fully developed as a made alternative fulfilling the prophecies oif Jeremiah chapter 2. It is correct to preface the answer by pointing these things out as they illucidate that background and historical circumstances etc.

The answer itself is found however in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 where Paul teaches “acculteration” as an evangelistic strategy in ‘becoming as all things to all people’. ‚   Becoming “as” all things he stresses is not th same as becoming all thing; he writes: “as one under the law though not being under the law myself but being under the law of Christ”. In Athens in Acts 17 he became “as” an Areopagite philosopher presenting the epicurean and stoic philosophers the gospel within their own cultural context and world view. At his Roman trials Paul played his Roman card doing the same to present the gospel to his fellow Romans.

Although an apostolic role model for us, we must however bear in mind that Paul was a Roman, a Jew, and a helenistic (though not a helenised) intellectual. An example of this would be Hudson Taylor, who was English and the first missionary to China, adopted the Chinese culture minus its pagan superstitions, in order to reach Chinese people with the gospel. Following Paul, Jewish believers to this day still generally celebrate the Passover, but do it in a Christo-centric manner showing Jesus to be the messianic fulfillment of it. They can and do invite unsaved Jewish family and friends to the seder and use it evangelistically as my own family has done. The same would be true of celebrating Hanukka showing Jesus as ‘the light of the world’ etc. The Greek text of the New Testament does not say that Jesus is the “end of the law” , but rather the “teleos” or aim of the law. Thus Paul, as with most believing Jews today, used the law to aim people towards Yeshua / Jesus as the way of salvation. Again, 1 Corinthians is the epistle that most explains these things you ask about. In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, ‚   The Lord through Paul teaches retaining one’s own cultural and ethnic identity, just as chapter 9 teaches acculteration as an evangelistic and mission strategy.

I trust this sufficiently clarifies matters.

Concerning your second question , objectively and as a matter of principle someone in active adultery who takes The Lord’s supper eats and drinks judgment to themselves, fails to discern His body, and defiles His table. As Jude said “they are blemishes on our love feasts”. It is moreover the responsibility of the leadership of a congregation to uphold the sanctity of communion. 1 Corinthians 5 forbids us from even eating with such a one which in the context of the epistle means The Lord’s supper relating chapter 5 to chapter 11. I only point these things out however as a general truth and not with any reference to any specific person or situation involving people and circumstances with whom I am unfamiliar. My comments above should be seen as a doctrinal remark and not made in connection to anyone in particular. ‚  

 

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