Within the church of Jesus Christ, there have always been sinful thoughts and practices, and one consistent area of sin is that of ethnic prejudice and racism.
In the ancient world, Romans had the tendency to despise Jews, and those of Hebrew descent returned the favor. Consequently, when Christ rose from the grave, poured out his Holy Spirit, and established his New Covenant community, ethnic division did not simply disappear. Over and over again, racism raised its ugly head.
In the opening chapters of Acts, Hellenistic widows were already being sinfully overlooked. This was something that had to be addressed. Repentance and reconciliation were necessary that the church might continually enjoy revitalization.
Some years later, in the Galatian congregation, leaders and laypeople refused to enjoy table fellowship one with another. Even Peter and Barnabas were swept up in this transgression. Paul saw this, grieved, and rebuked them to their face…
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