“Fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me”.
Gal 2:1 GNB
Wherever there are human beings working together in a situation that is not controlled in an authoritarian way, there is likely to be disagreement sooner or later. It happens in political parties, sports bodies, labour movements, business federations, professional groups and churches.
In Christianity controversies crop up frequently. Usually they develop in the form of conflict between the more conservative (and usually older?) people on the one side and the more liberal or progressive people – often younger – on the other side. In the early church Paul and Peter had agreed that Paul would concentrate his efforts on taking the gospel of Jesus to Gentiles. Peter would direct his work to preaching to Jews. The Jews who had been converted to Christianity saw it as a new development within Judaism. The Gentiles who were converted believed that it was an entirely new faith that had nothing at all to do with Judaism. The (formerly) Jewish Christians believed the whole Jewish law applied and therefore any Gentile converts would need to be circumcised and comply totally with the traditions of Judaism. Paul, himself a Jew, believed that the grace of God freed the Gentiles from such obligations. When he went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus it was to argue about this issue. Eventually, Paul’s point of view prevailed.
You should not be afraid of controversy. History has shown that it is often through debate and argument that the truth – or at least a new way forward – is arrived at. Always seek the mind of Christ, respect other people’s views, and “speak the truth in love”.
Lord, help us to meet with each other in order to find the truth.