Home > Healthy Church Network blog > Defining Moments in Church History… (2)

Defining Moments in Church History… (2)

For the student of the New Testament Church, few moments are more poignant and pivotal than Peter’s journey to Cornelius’ house and ultimately to the Jerusalem Council. The story begins in Acts 10 and spans the next five chapters, and is the first of our eight most defining moments in the history of the Church.

Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring eight events that have significantly shaped the world of today’s Church. I’ve no intent to say that these are the most important such events, but they represent seeds sown for which we find a significant modern harvest. And certainly the beginnings of the Gentile infusion into the Church must be one of those.

Poor Simon Peter, caught up in a moment his history hadn’t prepared him for. Like his compatriots, Peter viewed the God of Israel as, well…the God of Israel. Gentiles weren’t on the religious radar but were kept from the closest places with God. But Peter’s vision at Simon the Tanner’s house and the subsequent preaching expedition to the house of a Roman officer sure changed all that. In fact, when Peter proclaimed the full message of Christ, the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentiles in the room with such a display that Peter immediately connected their moment to the one he and his friends experienced in the upper room.

Some time later, the leaders in Jerusalem were struggling with the issue of Gentile response to the Gospel. Surely there had to be some adherence to Jewish ideals if the young Church were to open their doors to such people. Paul, a persecutor-turned-preacher was seeing amazing results among both Jews and Gentiles, but the two didn’t mix well and some issues needed to be settled.

In that Acts 15 moment, it was Simon Peter who stepped forward. His story of the Cornelius’ experience changed the course of history as there could be no arguing with the way the Holy Spirit and come upon them like “He did on us.” (more less what Peter said).

And that was the testimony needed to open wide the Church door to the Gentiles. Today, of course, one would be hard-pressed to see the Church as anything other than a Gentile reality. Thankfully, there are still Jews coming to Christ, but today’s Church is a worldwide force penetrating every culture as it searches for the ends of the earth that Jesus spoke of.

So, this is the first of our key moments in Church history and the only one of the eight that’s described in the biblical record. Our next stop will propel us nearly three centuries forward. Stay tuned…


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