Tuesday, June 10, 2014

This week's lesson: the apostles and the law

"You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him." -- Peter, speaking to Cornelius (Acts 10:28, NIV).
You might be an Adventist if you know that . . .
  • "Haystacks" aren't just for cows.
  • "Pathfinders" aren't just made by Nissan.
  • And when the pastor says he's going to quote his "favorite author," then he's probably not going to read you something by Stephen King.
No, there's more to being Adventist than just the 28 Fundamental Beliefs; there's that bundle of habits, mores, expectations, and inside jokes that make up TAL: The Adventist Lifestyle.
Or if you like, then you could call it "the Adventist Torah."
When the Bible talks about "the Law," after all, then it's talking about more than just the Ten Commandments -- and more than just the 613. No, it's talking about the bundle of habits, mores, expectations, and inside jokes that formed and defined Jewish identity.
In fact, you'd get a much more accurate view of the New Testaments's attitude towards the Law if you just took out that word every time it appeared, and substituted the phrase, "Jewish Lifestyle."
To be sure, there's nothing wrong with that lifestyle per se -- no more than there's anything wrong with our lifestyle per se.  No, it gives us a sense of identity. It fosters a sense of cohesion. And if nothing else, then it makes it a lot easier to plan meals for Saturday night.
(And just for the record: I love haystacks. Really.)
But when God's Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and the members of his household, then God made it really, really, really obvious that you could be one of His people . . . 
Even if you didn't follow the Jewish Lifestyle.
Did Peter believe this? 
With reluctance.
Did the Church in Jerusalem believe this? 
With reluctance.
Do we believe this?
Well, you're not an Adventist if you don't say, "yes."
But you wouldn't be human if you didn't say "yes" . . . 
With reluctance. 

No comments: