Acts 10 Peter's acknowledgement of Gentiles being "kosher" (Why did it take so long)

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Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
I am puzzled that Peter is so slow to accept that Gentiles are to be "saved from the wrath to come". Back in Acts 6 we have evidence of Stephen preaching the abbrogation of the Mosaic customs. For this he is martyred. Paul seems to head up the persecution of the Hellenistic Christians for which Stephen was the spokesman.

Yet Peter, the Apostles and the Hebrew speaking church are spared/ignored. Why?

The petition re: the distribution to hellenistic widows suggests some distance or unfamiliarity with the Hellenistic Church. The Apostles do not seem keen to exercise authority save to devolve the matter to the Hellenistic church (or did these Hellenists also serve the Hebrews?).

There does seem to be a divide between the Hellenistic church who are aware of the immanent destruction of the Temple and the abbrogation of Moses customs and the more orthodox, Hebrew speaking Jewish Christians.

When Peter was asked about Stephen's sermons what did he say? "I'm not so sure about his exegesis?" or "If it happens it happens - so why worry about it now?".

Here in Acts 10 God really has to hit Peter over the head to get through to him that the gentiles are not to be excluded or looked on as second class citizens when they come to faith.

I don't think Stephen would have had the same problems in grasping the abbrogation of the Mosaic laws!


As I reflect on this it strikes me as curious that the leaders of the Hebrew and Greek missions are so orthodox. John the Apostle personally knows the High Priest and at Jesus trial goes down to the gatehouse to let him in. Paul is not just Jewish but a pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin (?).

These were Jewish Jews!

So the questions:
1. How deep was the division between Hellenist and Hebraic fellowships
2. Why were the Hebraic Jews not persecuted
3. Chronologically when/how long did it take to start preaching to gentiles
4. Was Peter playing catch up to the martyred Stephen
5. Was Stephen pre-empting what was to come later (i.e. Acts 10) and so God took him home?
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
Eoghan,

My pastor just preached through Acts 10 and is now in Acts 11! (I'd say chapter 11, but really we're doing very well financially...)! Great stuff!!


First, I'm curious as to why you abbreviate God as you do. Surely you know that was Jewish tradition and not commanded by God?
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
Judaism plural

As I continue to study Acts 11 it dawns on me that the Apostles did not see themselves as anything but Jewish. The authorities at the time recognised several "sects" of Judaism and as such were not overly exercised by those that remained withing the broader definition of Judaism.

There was no "normative judaism" from which a deviation might readlily be detected. That came later after the fall of the Second Temple 70AD and the rise of rabbinic Judaism.

The Hebrew speaking believers and the Apostles seem to have stayed within these wider demarcations of Judaism. Now the gospel goes out to the uncircumcised and that boundary is pushed (if not broken).

Small wonder Peter was held to account for his actions.
 
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