"They received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  Therefore many believed."--Acts 17:11

Berean Christadelphians


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Berean Christadelphians
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I was told that a preacher named Arthur Bailey had a great explanation of why Galatians is not a condemnation against those who would try to keep the Law of Moses, or in more modern terms, keep portions of the Law of Moses.  He has apparently given a 25 part utube talk, each utube video over four hours.  But a lot of it is singing and what Christians call testimony, with only an hour to an hour and a half his teaching.  And that is more often than not, off subject.  So the actual discussion of Galatians is quite limited.

But, if I was going to trudge though this, I thought I would note what I have found there. The first thing I have noted, surprised me.  I found that Mr. Bailey takes a much different approach to at least one aspect of the subject, than his fans. Mr. Bailey wanted to explain to us about the Apostle Paul and the difficulty he was having in putting together assemblies of Jews and Gentiles.  Quoting Mr. Bailey in the start of his discussion, tape 1, 

“So as Paul goes out, he begins to teach these fledgling congregations, many who were Jewish as well as Gentiles, who were coming together for the first time as an assembly.  It was literally against the Torah, the interpretation of Torah, for a person who was Jewish or Hebrew to even have assembly or fellowship with non Hebrew people, because everyone who was non Hebrew, who was not keeping the Law of Jehovah, was defiled.  The Law explained and it identified what defilement and uncleanness was.”

I agree with Mr. Bailey on this question.  This blending of Jews and Gentiles was clearly a problem for the Apostle Paul.  But those who tell us that the Christadelphians misunderstand this subject, tell us that it was NOT against the Torah for Jews to meet with Gentiles.  They tell us that it was only the teaching of the Pharisees which made it wrong for a Jew to assemble with a Gentile, not the Torah itself.  Peter's own testimony to the question would seem to be quite clear:

Act 10:28  And he [Peter] said unto them [Gentiles assembled in the house of Cornelius,] Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 

We are told that Peter is living by the laws of the Pharisees, and not by the Torah.  It was only the oral law of the Pharisees that made it wrong to assemble with Gentiles. Clearly, Mr. Bailey has it right.  It was wrong, according to the Torah, for a Jew to assemble with one not keeping the Torah.  It would have been Mosaically defiling to that Jew, to assemble with a Gentile not keeping Torah.  And that would, almost universally, include all Gentiles, with only a very few exceptions of Gentiles who had become proselytes.

Now, the parable which God uses to teach Peter this lesson, was clear enough.  The text in Acts reads: 

Act 10:9-16  On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:   And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.   And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.  And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. 

In the parable, the animals which Peter recognized as unclean, he refused to eat.  God tells him that what He has cleansed, Peter was not to call common.  The obvious connection to the immediate call to go the Gentiles, would seemingly have been impossible to miss, and Peter did not miss it.  

But we are told to believe that in fact, the animals were not unclean.  Peter only thought they were unclean, because of the teaching of the Pharisees.  They were all clean animals, which, for some reason or other, Peter only misunderstood to have been defiled.  

The answer is absurd on several layers.  First, if the animals were only Pharisaically unclean, not Mosaically unclean, as Peter understood them to be, why did God say He had cleansed them?  And God repeated that he had cleansed them three different times. God wouldn't have needed to abide by the logic of the Pharisees to cleanse that which was not defiled in the first place.  But God does cleanse them.  So obviously, they had been defiled, so that they were in need of divine cleansing.
Second, why would anyone assume that Peter was living after the traditions of the Pharisees?  There is no testimony to this effect.  The Pharisees were the learned class of elitists.  Peter was a poor unlearned fisherman, who knew Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees.  Peter was no doubt chosen to be a disciple, and foremost among the disciples because of his dedication to divine law, not because he was a Pharisee.  

We are told:  "but you can find the comparison of Gentiles to unclean animals in the Talmud.  Therefore Peter must be quoting the oral law."   

I wouldn't doubt but that you can find such a reference in the Talmud.  The Talmud is 6200 pages long.  You can find every aspect of Jewish life, true and untrue in the Talmud.  So finding this in the Talmud is not a proof of anything, but that the Jews made the connection of unclean animals to Gentiles, and that God, in this parable, confirmed that their connection had been correct.  (I say 'their connection" but even this may be wrong.  The Talmud is not assembled for over 100 years after the death of Jesus, so who can say what was in the Oral Law, before it was recorded?)

Did not Jesus call the Gentiles "dogs," an unclean animal?  (Mark 7:27-28) Was he quoting from the Oral Law, or from what he knew the Mosaic Law was intended to portray to the Children of Israel?   

So I would say that Mr. Bailey gets the first point correct.  Sadly, it is just a case of even a blind squirrel occasionally finding an acorn.
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