Keith Hunt - Church History #9 - Page Nine   Restitution of All Things

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History of the Church #9

Jerusalem Synod/Circumcision


From the multi-volume work of Philip Schaff
(late 1800s)


The question of circumcision, or of the terms of admission of the
Gentiles to the Christian church, was a burning question of the
apostolic age. It involved the wider question of the binding
authority of the Mosaic law, yea, the whole relation of
Christianity to Judaism. For circumcision was in the synagogue
what baptism is in the church, a divinely appointed sign and seal
of the covenant of man with God, with all its privileges and
responsibilities, and bound the circumcised person to obey the
whole law on pain of forfeiting the blessing promised. Upon the
decision of this question depended the peace of the church
within, and the success of the gospel without. With circumcision,
as a necessary condition of church membership, Christianity would
forever have been confined to the Jewish race with a small
minority of proselytes of the gate, or half-Christians; while the
abrogation of circumcision and the declaration of the supremacy
and sufficiency of faith in Christ ensured the conversion of the
heathen and the catholicity of Christianity. The progress of
Paul's mission among the Gentiles forced the question to a
solution and resulted in a grand act of emancipation, yet
not without great struggle and temporary reactions.

All the Christians of the first generation were converts from
Judaism or heathenism. It could not be expected that they should
suddenly lose the influence of opposite kinds of religious
training and blend at once in unity. Hence the difference between
Jewish and Gentile Christianity throughout the apostolic age,
more or less visible in all departments of ecclesiastical life,
in missions, doctrine, worship, and government. At the head of
the one division stood Peter, the apostle of the circumcision; at
the head of the other, Paul, to whom was intrusted the
apostleship of the uncircumcision. In another form the same
difference even yet appears between the different branches of
Christendom. The Catholic church is Jewish-Christian or Petrine
in its character; the Evangelical church is Gentile or Pauline.

(Well Schall may have put it that way - but that ain't so at all;
the true Church of God was totally within itself, when conducting
itself aright - though as we see in 1 Corinthians they did have
party spirit, that Paul had to correct them on - Keith Hunt)

And the individual members of these bodies lean to one or the
other of these leading types.  Whereever there is life and motion
in a denomination or sect, there will be at least two tendencies
of thought and action - whether they be called old and new
school, or high church and low church, or by any other party
name. In like manner there is no free government without parties.

It is only stagnant waters that never run and overflow, and
corpses that never move.

( a point there has to be flow within the body of
Christ, but that flow has to be a flow that is righteous, and
most of what is popular Christianity is obviously not a righteous
flow, just look at all the hundreds of divisions in that which is
called the "Christian religion" - Keith Hunt)

The relation between these two fundamental forms of apostolic
Christianity is in general that of authority and freedom, law and
gospel, the conservative and the progressive, the objective and
the subjective. These antithetic elements are not of
necessity mutually exclusive. They are mutually complemental, and
for perfect life they must co-exist and co-operate. But in
reality they often run to extremes, and then of course fall into
irreconcilable contradiction. Exclusive Jewish Christianity sinks
into Ebionism; exclusive Gentile Christianity into Gnosticism.
And these heresies were by no means confined to the apostolic and
post-apostolic ages; pseudo-Petrine and pseudo-Pauline errors, in
ever-varying phases, run more or less throughout the whole
history of the church.

The Jewish converts at first very naturally adhered as closely as
possible to the sacred traditions of their fathers. They could
not believe that the religion of the Old Testament, revealed by
God himself, should pass away. They indeed regarded Jesus as
the Saviour of Gentiles as well as Jews; but they thought Judaism
the necessary introduction to Christianity, circumcision and the
observance of the whole Mosaic law the sole condition of an
interest in the Messianic salvation. And, offensive as Judaism
was, rather than attractive, to the heathen, this principle would
have utterly precluded the conversion of the mass of the Gentile
world. The apostles themselves were at first trammelled by this
Judaistic prejudice, till taught better by the special
revelation to Peter before the conversion of Cornelius.
But even after the baptism of the uncircumcised centurion,  and
Peter's defence of it before the church of Jerusalem, the old
leaven still wrought in some Jewish Christians who had formerly
belonged to the rigid and exclusive sect of the Pharisees.

(And obviously that sect of the Pharisees that has so-called
embrased the "Christian religion" were not really in tune with
the Father and Christ - at least a good portion of them were not
really embracing Christ, and being led into truth by the Holy
Spirit - Keith Hunt)

They came from Judaea to Antioch, and taught the converts of Paul
and Barnabas: " Except ye be circumcised after the manner of
Moses, ye cannot be saved." They no doubt appealed to the
Pentateuch, the universal Jewish tradition, the circumcision of
Christ, and the practice of the Jewish apostles, and created a
serious disturbance. These ex-Pharisees were the same whom
Paul, in the heat of controversy, more severely calls "false
brethren insidiously or stealthily foisted in," who intruded
themselves into the Christian brotherhood as spies and enemies of
Christian liberty. He clearly distinguishes them not only from
the apostles, but also from the great majority of the brethren in
Judaea who sincerely rejoiced in his conversion and glorified God
for it. They were a small, but very active and zealous minority,
and full of intrigue. They compassed sea and land to make one
proselyte. They were baptized with water, but not with the Holy
Spirit. They were Christians in name, but narrow-minded and
narrow-hearted Jews in fact. They were scrupulous, pedantic,
slavish formalists, ritualists, and traditionalists of the
malignant type. Circumcision of the flesh was to them of more
importance than circumcision of the heart, or at all events an
indispensable condition of salvation. Such men could, of course,
not understand and appreciate Paul, but hated and feared him as a
dangerous radical and rebel. Envy and jealousy mixed with their
religious prejudice. They got alarmed at the rapid progress of
the gospel among the unclean Gentiles who threatened to soil the
purity of the church.  They could not close their eyes to the
fact that the power was fast passing from Jerusalem to Antioch,
and from the Jews to the Gentiles, but instead of yielding to the
course of Providence, they determined to resist it in the name of
order and orthodoxy, and to keep the regulation of missionary
operations and the settlement of the terms of church membership
in their own hands at Jerusalem, the holy centre of Christendom
and the expected residence of the Messiah on his return.

Whoever has studied the twenty-third chapter of Matthew and the
pages of church history, and knows human nature, will understand
perfectly this class of extra-pious and extra-orthodox fanatics,
whose race is not dead yet and not likely to die out. They serve,
however, the good purpose of involuntarily promoting the cause of
evangelical liberty.

The agitation of these Judaizing partisans and zealots brought
the Christian church, twenty years after its founding, to the
brink of a split which would have seriously impeded its progress
and endangered its final success.


To avert this calamity and to settle this irrepressible conflict,
the churches of Jerusalem and Antiocll resolved to hold a private
and a public conference at Jerusalem. Antioch sent Paul and
Barnabas as commissioners to represent the Gentile converts.    
Paul, fully aware of the gravity of the crisis, obeyed at the
same time an inner and higher impulse. He also took with him
Titus, a native Greek, as a living specimen of what the Spirit of
God could accomplish without circumcision. The conference was
held A.D. 50 or 51 (fourteen years after Paul's conversion). It
was the first and in some respects the most important council or
synod held in the history of Christendom, though differing widely
from the councils of later times. It is placed in the middle of
the book of Acts as the connecting link between the two sections
of the apostolic church and the two epochs of its missionary

The object of the Jerusalem consultation was twofold: first, to
settle the personal relation between the Jewish and Gentile
apostles, and to divide their field of labor; secondly, to decide
the question of circumcision, and to define the relation between
the Jewish and Gentile Christians. On the first point (as we
learn from Paul) it effected a complete and final, on the second
point (as we learn from Luke) a partial and temporary settle
ment. In the nature of the case the public conference in which
the whole church took part, was preceded and accompanied by
private consultations of the apostles.

1. Apostolic Recognition.     

The pillars of the Jewish Church, James, Peter, and John -
whatever their views may have been before - were fully convinced
by the logic of events in which they recognized the hand of
Providence, that Paul as well as Barnabas by the extraordinary
success of his labors had proven himself to be divinely called to
the apostolate of the Gentiles. They took no exception and made
no addition to his gospel. On the contrary, when they saw that
God who gave grace and strength to Peter for the apostleship of
the circumcision, gave grace and strength to Paul also for the
conversion of the uncircumcision, they extended to him and to
Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, with the understanding
that they would divide as far as practicable the large field of
labor, and that Paul' should manifest his brotherly love and
cement the union by aiding in the support of the poor, often
persecuted and famines-tricken brethren of Judaea: This service
of charity he had cheerfully done before, and as cheerfully and
faithfully did afterward by raising collections among his Greek
congregations and carrying the money in person to Jerusalem. 
Such is the unequivocal testimony of the fraternal understanding
among the apostles from the mouth of Paul himself (Galatians).
And the letter of the council officially recognizes this by
mentioning "beloved" Barnabas and Paul, as "men who have hazarded
their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." This double
testimony of the unity of the apostolic church is quite
conclusive against the modern invention of an irreconcilable
antagonism between Paul and Peter.  

2. As regards the question of circumcision and the status of the
Gentile Christians, there was a sharp conflict of opinions in
open debate, under the very shadow of the inspired apostles.

There was strong conviction and feeling on both sides, plausible
arguments were urged, charges and countercharges made, invidious
inferences drawn, fatal consequences threatened. But the Holy
Spirit was also present, as he is with every meeting of disciples
who come together in the name of Christ, and overruled the
infirmities of human nature which will crop out in every
ecclesiastical assembly.

The circumcision of Titus, as a test case, was of course strongly
demanded by the Pharisaical legalists, but as strongly resisted
by Paul, and not enforced. To yield here even for a moment would
have been fatal to the cause of Christian liberty, and would have
implied a wholesale circumcision of the Gentile converts, which
was impossible.
But how could Paul consistently afterwards circumcise Timothy?
The answer is that he circumcised Timothy as a Jew, not as a
Gentile, and that he did it as a voluntary act of expediency, for
the purpose of making Timothy more useful among the Jews, who had
a claim on him as the son of a Jewish mother mother, and would
not have allowed him to teach in a synagogue without this token
of membership; while in the case of Titus, a pure Greek,
circumcision was demanded as a principle and as a condition of
justification and salvation. Paul was inflexible in resisting the
demands of false brethren, but always willing to accommodate
himself to weak brethren, and to become as a Jew to the Jews and
as a Gentile to the Gentiles in order to save them both. In
genuine Christian freedom he cared nothing for circumcision or
uncircumcision as a mere rite or external condition, and as
compared with the keeping of the commandments of God and the new
creature in Christ.

In the debate Peter, of course, as the ecumenical chief of the
Jewish apostles (NOT at all so - there is never ANY word anywhere
in the NT that Peter was EVER "chief" of any group of apostles,
this is all man made teaching by people like Schaff who were
indoctrinated with a top down "theological church structure" that
they themselves were part of in their church life - Keith Hunt)
although at that time no more a resident of Jerusalem, took a
leading part, and made a noble speech which accords entirely with
his previous experience and practice in the house of Cornelius,
and with his subsequent endorsement of Paul's doctrine. He was no
logician, no rabbinical scholar, but he had admirable good sense
and practical tact, and quickly perceived the true line of
progress and duty. He spoke in a tone of personal and moral
authority, but not of official primacy. He protested against
imposing upon the neck of the Gentile disciples the unbearable
yoke of the ceremonial law,  and laid down, as clearly as Paul,
the fundamental principle that "Jews as well as Gentiles are
saved only by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." 

After this bold speech, which created a profound silence in the
assembly, Barnabas and Paul reported, as the best practical
argument, the signal miracles which God had wrought among the
Gentiles through their instrumentality.

The last and weightiest speaker was James, the brother of
the Lord, the local head of the Jewish Christian church and
bishop of Jerusalem, (NO...Schaff is putting his ideas into your
mind. There is not ONE word in the NT that makes James the "head"
of the Jerusalem church - it is just not there, but do you see
how people like Schaff can sneakingly lead you up and then drop
in words that are not in the Bible period - Keith Hunt) who as
such seems to have presided over the council. He represented as
it were the extreme right wing of the Jewish church bordering
close on the Judaizing faction. It was through his influence
chiefly no doubt that the Pharisees were converted who created
this disturbance. 

(Once more Schaff has put in your mind things that are NOT there.
The account says nothing about James representing the extreme
right wing of the Jewish church...the account does not even come
close to saying such a thing. What people can imagine and then
try to put into your mind as you read their writings....what a
very good example here by Philip Schaff - Keith Hunt)

In a very characteristic speech he endorsed the sentiments of
Symeon - he preferred to call Peter by his Jewish name -
concerning the conversion of the Gentiles as being in accordance
with ancient prophecy and divine foreordination; but he proposed
a compromise to the effect that while the Gentile disciples
should not be troubled with circumcision, they should yet be
exhorted to abstain from certain practices which were
particularly offensive to pious Jews, namely, from eating meat
offered to idols, from tasting blood, or food of strangled
animals, and from every form of carnal uncleanness. As to the
Jewish Christians, they knew their duty from the law, and would
be expected to continue in their time-honored habits.

(Schaff gets it all wrong here also. For the full truth on this
Jerusalem Conference, I ask the reader to study my studies on
"Church Government" and also what I have written on this section
of Acts in "The New Testament Bible Story" - both are on this
website - Keith Hunt)

The address of James differs considerably from that of Peter, and
meant restriction as well as freedom, but after all it conceded
the main point at issue - salvation without circumcision. The
address entirely accords in spirit and language with his own
epistle, which represents the gospel as law, though "the perfect
law of freedom," with his later conduct toward Paul in advising
him to assume the vow of the Nazarites and thus to contradict the
prejudices of the myriads of converted Jews, and with the Jewish
Christian tradition which represents him as the model of an
ascetic saint equally revered by devout Jews and Christians, as
the "Rampart of the People " (Obliam), and the intercessor of
Israel who prayed in the temple without ceasing for its
conversion and for the aversion of the impending doom.

(And what Schaff is talking about here is Acts 21:17-26 - the
truth of which is fully explained in my "New Testament Bible
Story" under Acts 21 - Keith Hunt)

He had more the spirit of an ancient prophet or of John the
Baptist than the spirit of Jesus (in whom he did not believe till
after the resurrection), but for this very reason he had most
authority over the Jewish Christians, and could reconcile the
majority of them to the progressive spirit of Paul.

(Nope he had no authority per se over anyone. He had guidance but had
no authority to make anyone do anything. He had teaching ability
as all the apostles did, but people then had to prove from the
Scriptures if they were teaching according to the Scriptures,
just as the Bereans did when Paul went preaching to them - Acts
17:10-12 - Keith Hunt)

The compromise 

(It was not a "compromise" at all - the truth of the matter was
ascertained and a directive was adopted by all as to the truth
from the Scriptures and direct miracles of God to do with this
matter, as in the ministery of Peter and Paul - Keith Hunt)

of James was adopted and embodied in the  following brief and
fraternal pastoral letter to the Gentile churches. It is the
oldest literary document of the apostolic age and bears the marks
of the style of James:

The apostles and the elder brethren unto the brethren who are of
the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greeting Forasmuch
as we have heard, that some who went out from us have troubled
you with words, subverting your souls, to whom we gave no
commandment, it seemed good unto us, having come to be of one
accord, to choose out men and send them unto you with our beloved
Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and
Silas, who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word
of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to
lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that
ye abstain from meats sacriflced to idols, and from blood, and
from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye
keep yourselves, it shall be well with you. Farewell" (Acts

The decree was delivered by four special messengers, two
representing the church at Antioch, Barnabas and Paul, and two
from Jerusalem, Judas Barsabbas and Silas (or Silvanus), and read
to the Syrian and Cilician churches which were agitated by the
controversy. The restrictions remained in full force at least
eight years, since James reminded Paul of them on his last visit
to Jerusalem in 58. The Jewish Christians observed them no
doubt with few exceptions till the downfall of idolatry, and the
Oriental church even to this day abstains from blood and things
strangled; but the Western church never held itself bound to this
part of the decree, or soon abandoned some of its restrictions.

(Now Schaff is talking about the apostate church that arose in
the West - Rome - in the 2nd century as it departed from many
truths of the true Church of God under the original apostles -
Keith Hunt)

Thus by moderation and mutual concession in the spirit of peace
and brotherly love a burning controversy was settled, and a split
happily avoided.


The decree of the council was a compromise and had two aspects:
it was emancipatory, and restrictive.

(It had no "compromise" at all - it was the truth of the matter
derived from the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit - Keith Hunt)

(1.) It was a decree of emancipation of the Gentile disciples
from circumcision and the bondage of the ceremonial law. This was
the chief point in dispute, and so far the decree was liberal and
progressive. It settled the question of principle once and
forever. Paul had triumphed. Hereafter the Judaizing doctrine of
the necessity of circumcision for salvation was a heresy, a false
gospel, or a perversion of the true gospel, and is denounced as
such by Paul in the Galatians.

(2.) The decree was restrictive and conservative on questions of
expediency and comparative indifference to the Gentile
Christians. Under this aspect it was a wise and necessary
measure for the apostolic age, especially in the East, where the
Jewish element prevailed, but not intended for universal and
permanent use. In Western churches, as already remarked, it
was gradually abandoned, as we learn from Augustine.   

(And once more Schaff goes off track for Augustine was part of
the Babylon Mystery Religion that was founded in Rome AFTER the
death of the Peter and Paul, and which grew strong after the
death of the apostle John near the end of the first century. By
the time of Augustine it had transformed itself into a much
different church than it was in the days of the first century
apostles - Keith Hunt)

It imposed upon the Gentile Christians abstinence from meat
offered to idols, from blood, and from things strangled (as fowls
and other animals caught in snares). The last two points amounted
to the same thing. These three restrictions had a good foundation
in the Jewish abhorrence of idolatry, and every thing connected
with it, and in the Levitical prohibition. Without them the
churches in Judaea would not have agreed to the compact. But it
was almost impossible to carry them out in mixed or in purely
Gentile congregations; for it would have compelled the Gentile
Christians to give up social intercourse with their unconverted
kindred and friends, and to keep separate slaughter-houses, like
the Jews, who from fear of contamination with idolatrous
associations never bought meat at the public markets. Paul takes
a more liberal view of this matter - herein no doubt dissenting
somewhat from James - namely, that the eating of meat sacrificed
to idols was in itself indifferent, in view of the vanity of
idols; nevertheless he likewise commands the Corinthians to
abstain from such meat out of regard for tender and weak
consciences, and lays down the golden rule "All things are
lawful, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful,
but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but his
neighbor's good."

(Schaff gets it all up-side-down and in-side-out on this part of
Acts 15 and the teaching of Paul. I refer you to my "New
Testament Bible Story" on Acts 15 and 1 Cor.8:1-13 for the truth
of the matter on those sections of the New Testament, which will
show there is no contradiction here in Acts 15 with the teachings
of Paul - Keith Hunt)

It seems strange to a modern reader that with these ceremonial
prohibitions should be connected the strictly moral prohibition
of fornication. 

(There is no "ceremonial" anything in Acts 15:20-21 as Schaff
tries to put in your mind. Again see my "New Testament Bible
Story" for the truth of all of Acts 15 - Keith Hunt)

But it must be remembered that the heathen conscience as to
sexual intercourse was exceedingly lax, and looked upon it as a
matter of indifference, like eating and drinking, and as sinful
only in case of adultery where the rights of a husband are
invaded. No heathen moralist, not even Socrates, or Plato, or
Cicero, condemned fornication absolutely. 
It was sanctioned by the worship of Aphrodite at Corinth and
Paphos, and practised to her honor by a host of harlot-
priestesses! Idolatry or spiritual whoredom is almost inseparable
from bodily pollution. In the case of Solomon polytheism and
polygamy went hand in hand.... Paul had to struggle against this
laxity in the Corinthian congregation, and condemns all carnal
uncleanness as a violation and profanation of the temple of God.
In this absolute prohibition of sexual impurity we have a
striking evidence of the regenerating and sanctifying influence
of Christianity. Even the ascetic excesses of the post-
apostolic writers who denounced the second marriage as "decent
adultery" and glorified celibacy as a higher and better state
than honorable wedlock, command our respect, as a wholesome and
necessary reaction against the opposite excesses of heathen

(Well....the fact is truth should always prevail over setting up
some "doctrine of men" like "celibacy" just because some wanted
to "sleep around" as we call it today, when and with whom they
chose - Keith Hunt)

So far then as the Gentile Christians were concerned the question
was settled.
The status of the Jewish Christians was no subject of
controversy, and hence the decree is silent about them. They were
expected to continue in their ancestral traditions and customs as
far as they were at all consistent with loyalty to Christ. They
needed no instruction as to their duty, "for," said James, in
his address to the Council, "Moses from generations of old has
in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues
every Sabbath." 

(Oh wait a the context friends, this "Moses being
read in the synagogue every Sabbath" was FOR the Gentiles, see
verse 19. James said we need not trouble them with much words,
BECAUSE Moses was being read each Sabbath.....the Gentiles would
learn more as they continued to attend Sabbath services each
Sabbath day!!! Now that is just the plain truth of verses 19-21,
but it goes right over the head of Philip Schaff - Keith Hunt)

And eight years afterwards he and his elders intimated to Paul
that even he, as a Jew, was expected to observe the ceremonial
law, and that the exemption was only meant for the Gentiles (Acts

(Again Schaff is way off the mark - way out in left field in his
last sentance. Schaff is from planet Pluto on his remark here. 
The truth of Acts 21:20-25 is explained for you correctly in my
"New Testament Bible Story" under Acts 21 - Keith Hunt)

But just here was a point where the decree was deficient. It
went far enough for the temporary emergency, and as far as the
Jewish church was willing to go, but not far enough for the cause
of Christian union and Christian liberty in its legitimate

(Wrong again for Schaff - he just really had no idea about the
truth of all this - Keith Hunt)


the chief battle-fields of modern historical criticism. The
controversy of circumcision has been fought over again in German,
French, Dutch, and English books and essays, and the result is a
clearer insight both into the difference and into the harmony of
the apostolic church.
We have two accounts of the Conference, one from Paul in the
second chapter of the Galatians, and one from his faithful
companion, Luke, in the 15th chapter of Acts. For it is now
almost universally admitted that they refer to the same event.   
They must be combined to make up a full history. The Epistle to
the Galatians is the true key to the position, the Archimedian
(Greek is given).
The accounts agree as to the contending parties - Jerusalem and
Antioch - the leaders on both sides, the topic of controversy,
the sharp conflict, and the peaceful result.
But in other respects they differ considerably and supplement
each other. Paul, in a polemic vindication of his independent
apostolic authority against his Judaizing antagonists in Galatia,
a few years after the Council (about 56), dwells chiefly on his
personal understanding with the other apostles and their
recognition of his authority, but he expressly hints also at
public conferences, which could not be avoided; for it was a
controversy between the churches, and an agreement concluded by
the leading apostles on both sides was of general authority, even
if it was disregarded by a heretical party. Luke, on the other
hand, writing after the lapse of at least thirteen years (about
63) a calm and objective history of the primitive church, gives
(probably from Jerusalem and Antioch documents, but certainly not
from Paul's Epistles) the official action of the public assembly,
with an abridgment of the preceding debates, without excluding
private conferences; on the contrary he rather includes them;
for he reports, 15:5, that Paul and Barnabas "were received by
the church and the apostles and elders and declared all things
that God had done with them," before he gives an account of the
public consultation, ver.6. In all assemblies, ecclesiastical
and political, the more important business is prepared and
matured by committees in private conference for public discussion
and action; and there is no reason why the council in Jerusalem
should have made an excep tion. The difference of aim then
explains, in part at least, the omissions and minor variations of
the two accounts, which we have endeavored to adjust in this

The ultra - and pseudo - Pauline hypercriticism of the Tubingen
school in several discussions (by Baur, Schwegler, Zeller,
Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, Holsten, Overbeck, Lipsius, Hausrath, and
Wittichen) has greatly exaggerated these differences, and used
Paul's terse polemic allusions as a lever for the overthrow of
the credibility of the Acts.  But a more conservative critical
reaction has recently taken place, partly in the same school (as
indicated in the literature above), which tends to harmonize the
two accounte and to vindicate the essential consensus of
Petrinism and Paulinism.

2. THE CIRCUMCISION of TITUS---We hold with most commentators
that Titus was not circumcised. This is the natural sense of the
difficult and much disputed passage, Gal.2:3-5, no matter
whether we take in ver.4 in the explanatory sense (nempe, and
that), or in the usual adversative sense (autem, sed, but).     
In the former case the sentence is regular, in the latter it is
broken, or designedly incomplete, and implies perhaps a slight
censure of the other apostles, who may have first recommended the
circumcision of Titus as a measure of prudence and conciliation
out of regard to conservative scruples, but desisted from it on
the strong remonstrance of Paul. If we press the (Greek given)
compelled, in ver.3, such an inference might easily be drawn, but
there was in Paul's mind a conflict between the duty of frankness
and the duty of courtesy to his older colleagues. So Dr.Lightfoot
accounts for the broken grammar of the sentence, "which was
wrecked on the hidden rock of the counsels of the apostles of the

Quite another view was taken by Tertullian (Adv. Marc., V. 3),
and recently by Renan (ch. III. p.89) and Farrar (I. 415),
namely, that Titus voluntarily submitted to circumcision for the
sake of peace, either in spite of the remonstrance of Paul, or
rather with his reluctant consent. Paul seems to say that Titus
was not circumcised, but implies that he was. This view is based
on the omission of (Greek given) in ver. 5. The passage then
would have to be supplemented in this way: "But not even Titus
was compelled to be circumcised, but [he submitted to circum-
cision voluntarily] on account of the stealthily introduced false
brethren, to whom we yielded by way of submission for an hour
[i.e., temporarily]."

Renan thus explains the meaning: "If Titus was circumcised, it is
not because he was forced, but on account of the false brethren,
to whom we might yield for a moment without submitting ourselves
in principle." He thinks that (Greek given) is opposed to the
following (Greek given). In other words, Paul stooped to conquer.

He yielded for a moment by a stretch of charity or a stroke of
policy, in order to save Titus from violence, or to bring his
case properly before the Council and to achieve a permanent
victory of principle.    

But this view is entirely inconsistent not only with the
frankness and firmness of Paul on a question of principle, with
the gravity of the crisis, with the uncompromising tone of the
Epistle to the Galatians, but also with the addresses of Peter
and James, and with the decree of the Council. If Titus was
really circumcised, Paul would have said so, and explained his
relation to the fact. 
Moreover, the testimony of Irenaeus and Tertullian against must
give way to the authority of the best uncials ( B A C, etc.) and
versions in favor of these words. The omission can be better
explained from carelessness or dogmatio prejudice than the

I would say that Schaff here is correct - Paul with his
personality and tone of the book of Galatians, is telling us that
Titus WAS NOT circumcised.

Keith Hunt

To be continued

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