New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Sunday, July 14 2002 Volume 02 : Number 119
 
[NTCP] circumcising Gentiles
Re: [NTCP] circumcising Gentiles
RE: [NTCP] circumcising Gentiles
Re: [NTCP] circumcising Gentiles

Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 15:34:46 -0400
From: "Linkh * bigfoot" <Linkh * worldnet.att>
Subject: [NTCP] circumcising Gentiles

"Behold I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit
you nothing." Galatians 5:2

I once heard a preacher come on campus, and, in the midst of his day-long
preaching about how God hated the people ("God hates all workers of
iniqutity.") he was preaching to because they were sinners, etc., he or his
wife quoted this verse on circumcision without explanation.

Paul, is, of course, talking to Gentiles who were being tempted to be
circumcised and thereby convert to Judaism. This was an issue of putting
their trust in the Law rather than in Christ.

Taken out of context, the verse above could be a bit disconcerting,
especially for men like me who were 'trimmed' a bit as infants in the
hospital.

One of my friends in Indonesia was a missionary reaching out to a mostly
unreached Muslim people group. There were maybe a few hundred Christians
out of tens of millions of people in that people group. This people-group,
the 'S' had a 5 stage life cycle, with certain cultural rituals at each
stage. One stage was circumcision. Circumcision is at age 5 for these
people, which is early compared to other Muslim people-groups (12 or 13.)
Boys could get involved in the mosque at a younger age.

My missionary friend said that the S Christians still circumcised their
children at age 5. I asked if they learned circumcision from Islam. He
said it was a cultural ritual that dated back to their Hindu days, and
though it was no big deal that the boys were circumcised.

The Christians involved in ministering to the S have developed or are
developing Christian versions of all 5 stages of their cultural rituals.

What do you think about this? Should Gentile Christians definitely not be
circumcised, no matter what the surrounding culture says?

Comments anyone? My guess is that Mike will have a comment. :)

Link Hudson


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Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 16:10:37 -0500
From: Phillip Cohen <harborlights3 * juno>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] circumcising Gentiles

Howdy,

Your post caught my eye. Here's my testimony.

I was raised in a ritualistic Jewish family. For around 7 years of my
youth, I was a full-blown hippie. I suppose my
spiritual-searching-for-God roots are more in the hippies than any other
phase of my life.

Well, for 25 years, I was with some very strict Mennonite churches. I
wore the hat, suspenders, painted my car black, and did all the other
"Scriptural" things important to them. 2 1/4 years ago we left, because I
still had many inner issues that never were resolved. See, the message
those things gave me was that God could only love me if I aligned with
the church's rules. So, the seeking hippie inside me never experienced
God's love.

To us, it became a violation of the theme of Galatians for the church to
require those extras. We measured each other's spirituality more on those
things than on the heart.

The way I understand Scripture, if folks want to Christianize rituals
from their former religion, as long as they don't violate Scripture, it's
OK. And, if church planters want to voluntarily impose these restrictions
on themselves, that's noble. But it should never be a requirement for
membership.

I know this only sheds partial light on your question, but perhaps others
can fill in the other gaps.

Blessings, pc


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Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 10:02:18 +0200
From: "Keith Smith" <castillofuerte * airtel>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] circumcising Gentiles

Hi Guy's!

This question is to me quite important at the moment, for two reasons.
Firstly, an Argentinean co-worker is trying to unload all sorts of cultural
and denominational baggage (norms, rules, laws and be dammed if you don'ts -
in short mustage and oughtery) on the dear folks here. My wife and I have
challenged him to back up his baggage from scripture, but of course he
can't. We preach freedom and grace to our folk, but it seems that some of
"the people like it that way". You can open the jail, give the folk the key
to the cell door, but so often they give it a polish, hang it around their
neck and dash back inside the cell, carefully locking the door after
themselves "just in case". Fortunately many are learning to live on the
outside, even if they do like to go back to the jail now and then to
reassure themselves that it's still there...... Please pray for us here in
Spain.

On a much more personal note. My M.D. tells me that I have to go and, as
link so stunningly put it, be "trimmed", for health reasons. Now I know that
this is in now way the same as what Paul is talking about, and it will in
now way affect my walk with the Lord. But you would be surprised how
reluctant I feel about having this simple intervention. I need freedom to be
trimmed!

Blessings to you all
Keith in Spain


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Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 19:06:54 -0400
From: "Dan Shepherd" <shepherd * nclministries>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] circumcising Gentiles

I don't talk much, but I tripped on this scripture earlier...

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor
uncircumcision; but faith working through love." Galatians 5:6

 


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #119

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