ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF JERUSALEM
Paul started a firestorm when he began accepting converts into the church. He did not insist that they first become Jews. The conservatives within Christianity saw this as a dangerous break from tradition. In particular they demanded that new conversions be accompanied by circumcision--a painful rite in those days before anesthetics.
The turmoil led to what has been called, "the first Ecumenical Council". The meeting probably took several weeks. We see only the start and the end. Essentially, the liberal wing won the day. The Council sent a letter to gentile Christians approving the new policy. It provoked great joy and a wave of new conversions.
I AM GOING AWAY
At the Last Supper Jesus announced that he was "going away". The Church interprets this as a reference to the Ascension. Where, exactly, did Jesus go and why? The people of the Middle East took things literally. They believed that heaven was somewhere beyond the sky--which they thought was a dome above the earth. Jesus did not come to teach astronomy, so he rose up into the sky as a way of saying that he was going to something "greater".
Why did he leave? He was probably teaching that his followers should no longer look for physical apparitions. He would remain spiritually with them through his Holy Spirit. This would force the disciples to begin their mission to "go out to all the world and preach the good news."
ng others as Jesus loves them.
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