Hi Five Oakers, The weekend's coming and there are a few things I want to share with you.
A confrontation between the two most celebrated Apostles. A simple definition of the gospel. And a soaring declaration: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." All this and more this weekend as we look at Galatians 2:11-21.
C. Michael Patton on "Christianity, the World's Most Falsifiable Religion"
The central claims of the Bible demand historic inquiry, as they are based on public events that can be historically verified. In contrast, the central claims of all other religions cannot be historically tested and, therefore, are beyond falsifiability or inquiry. They just have to be believed with blind faith.
One More Thing
Do you have a tough conversation on your to-do list? How do you play it out in your head? Here's Paul's instructions on how to have one kind of tough conversation:
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness." (Galatians 6:1)
Earlier in Galatians (in the passage we're covering this week), he describes one of his own tough conversations.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (Galatians 2:11-12)
Doesn't seem very gentle. This is Peter, the Apostle, he's talking about. He confronts him to his face. He says he's condemned, motivated by fear and acting hypocritical.
There situation is different than Galatians 6:1. The stakes are enormous. But one Galatians commentator suggests reading this passage differently than we might on first glance.
Try Galatians 2:11-14 in a gentler tone; it can be done. And when done, the entire emotion of the passage changes. I ask if it is not possible to read this with tears in Paul's eyes and a thankful, but repentant, response on the part of Peter. We do know that Peter did not ultimately part company with Paul. This tense situation may have been an important growing experience for both apostles. (Scot McKnight, Galatians: The NIV Application Commentary)
Now think back to your tough conversation. What if you took Paul's advice in Galatians 6? What if when you played it out in your head, your tone was not only gentle but demonstrated how much you care about this person? What if instead of anger there were pain and tears? And what do you think might happen as a result of that kind of tough conversation? How might this be a growing experience for you and the other person?