But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.” (Acts 15:1-5)
Some Jewish believers had come to Antioch and were teaching, “For your salvation by Jesus you must also keep traditional Jewish customs.”
So important did they feel it to be, it was decided that the matter needed to be discussed with the church leaders. Then in Jerusalem also some stood up to argue in the same way that the keeping of the Jewish circumcision rite was necessary for the salvation of non-Jews. [It was a little bit like saying to Tibetans, “Believe in Jesus as Saviour, but you must also keep on reciting ‘om mane padme hum’ in order to gain merit before God”]
So what did the apostles and elders decide? would non-Jews be forced to become Jews as it were? Read on to find out.