The Christians in Jerusalem’s early church were in crisis. Should they admit gentiles into their fellowship? Could gentiles be believers? Resolution of these questions did not come easily, but finally the Jews swallowed their pride and begrudgingly allowed the gentile outsiders to come into the fold. Their guidelines seemed fair enough: all the new converts had to do was to be circumcised and follow the laws of Judaism. But it wasn’t quite that simple.
Paul responded to their actions in a letter to the Galatians. He told the Jerusalem Christians that their welcome did not go far enough. The gentiles did not have to subscribe to all the Jewish regulations, he insisted. All these gentiles had to do was be baptized and proclaim Jesus as Lord. It was a new day. Even these non-Jews were children of God with no strings attached.