The Effect of Culture

The sub-culture of the church in Jerusalem almost destroyed the budding Christian movement with its insistence on adherence to certain ritualistic practices found in Torah. As I read Acts, it is actually the church at Antioch that started the true cultural revolution; and the church at Jerusalem had to meet together to keep up with what God was already doing in the world. If I’m not mistaken, it was at Antioch that followers of Christ were first called Christian. Simply, they were known as those that belonged to Christ, due to their ability to reach their community for Christ.

It was at Antioch as well that Paul and Barnabas were set apart for apostolic ministry. In fact, culturally relevant ministry is always "apostolic" in nature. (What I mean by apostolic here is the motivation of "seeding" churches into their respected cultures.) The inability for the Jerusalem Church to discern Cultural self-discovery almost imposed unenforceable claims on cultures that were not necessary. However, frighteningly, God intervened, and allowed persecution to disperse the church at Jerusalem. It was then the apostles left "home" for other lands.