Monday, August 7, 2017

Answering "Tough Questions Answered" on Gentile salvation

This is my reply to a "Tough Questions Answered" article entitled:
Posted: 04 Aug 2017 06:00 AM PDT

I skip most of the article because I'm only interested in the part that makes the least bit of sense:
While Peter is speaking, he is interrupted by the Holy Spirit pouring into the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house. The Jewish companions of Peter are amazed at what is happening. Arnold explains:
    The Torah-observant Jews recognize the remarkable significance of this event. God is now accepting Gentiles on the same basis that he did the Jews—on the sole basis of believing in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. These Gentile believers will not be required to be circumcised, offer sacrifices, observe the Jewish festivals, or keep Jewish dietary laws as a means of entering or maintaining their position in the new people of God.
Arnold has apparently forgotten the entire gospel history.  Jesus had a mission to Gentiles no less than he had to Jews: Mark 1:45, Matthew 4:15, etc.  The idea that Jesus never told anybody how Gentiles could get saved until God gave the Acts 10 vision to Peter, is total bullshit if the gospel histories are true.
Seeing this, Peter commands his companions to baptize these Gentiles in the name of Jesus Christ. Darrell Bock, in Acts, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, summarizes:
    God directs an epoch-making event in which Gentiles are accepted in fellowship and receive the gospel.
Say what?  How can acceptance of Gentiles at this point in Peter's life in Acts 10-11 be anything close to "epoch", when the 4 canonical gospels make clear that Jesus did a substantial amount of preaching among Gentiles?  It is my contention that somebody is lying:  If Jesus really had such a Gentile ministry, Gentile salvation would not have been regarded as a new theological development to Peter or the rest of the church as late in the game as Acts 10-11, so either a) the gospels are lying and Jesus preached only to Jews, or b) Acts is lying and painting Peter and the church as nearly universally Jew-oriented.
Their faith leads to the gift of the Spirit, the sign that the new era has arrived. In addition, they are not circumcised and yet table fellowship and full hospitality between Jews and Gentiles ensues.
 Well excuse me, but I would have figured that if Jesus had a Gentile ministry as Matthew 4:15 says he did, the question of whether Jewish Christians could have table fellowship with uncircumcised Gentile Christians would have been resolved before Jesus died, for how could it be otherwise?  Sorry, somebody in the bible, either the gospel authors, or the author of Acts 10-11, is lying about how things really happened.

    The Trinity is quite active here (Gaventa 2003: 173–74). God takes the initiative. Jesus Christ is at the center of the plan. The Spirit confirms that all of this is God’s work. The actions that take place represent the act and will of God working in harmony. The church does not lead here but follows God’s leading, thereby learning a great deal about how God views people.
How much did Peter and the apostles learn about how God views people, during Jesus' three year ministry?  A lot?  A little?  Did anybody think to ask the obvious gentile question before Jesus died?

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