Ministry & Leadership - Spring 2017 - 22
and active in
22 Ministry & Leadership
preaching of the gospel (10:42-48).
God is teaching him, too, about authority.
What authorities will govern his life? Will
it be Jewish tradition, or will it be what
God has revealed of His purposes according to the Holy Spirit?
We might think this text is a nice historical anecdote that provides for us helpful
knowledge about how the church grew out
of the narrow confines of Judaism and
into the wider Gentile world; by and large,
though, we may think it isn't relevant to a
world such as ours that has outgrown prejudice and the authority of empty tradition.
We're "beyond this" in the 21st century
church, we proudly think to ourselves.
The Word of God is never irrelevant
to where we are, and the church must
prayerfully consider who might be "the
unclean" in our practice of mission. If any
custom or boundary is inhibiting us from
seeking to reach a certain group of people,
then it is an authority other than the Word
Peter's struggle to see the implications
of the authority of Jesus Christ is our
struggle. What informs our thoughts and
attitudes? Who directs the church how
she is to follow Christ? These are questions Peter needed to answer in his own
way, given his background. He needed to
ultimately ask: Which is the authority in
my life: the traditions of my people and
the accretions of my religion, or the Word
of God? God spoke to him here in Acts 10
and said, "Do not call unclean what I have
God is still calling His church to crash
customs and break boundaries to communicate the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Where is He calling you?
Blair Smith, recently
received his Master of
Divinity degree from
RTS and is a Ph.D.
candidate at Durham University in England.
Contact him at email@example.com.