Tribalism or Christianity

Tribalism was a problem in New Testament times. Although the universality of the gospel seems obvious to us, it took the early Christians years to realize that the message of salvation wasn’t just for Jews. Then they shared it with Samaritans, since they already believed in the same God, practiced circumcision, and held to a very similar religion. It took divine intervention to get the early disciples to share the gospel with non-believers, and even then, some weren’t too happy about it.

In Acts 11, we see that the believers were scattered from Jerusalem and went out spreading the good news… to Jews. Over time, some came to share the message with Greeks, and many non-Jews were converted. The church in Antioch was one of the first integrated churches. The people around this church came to realize that this was not just another Jewish sect, yet it wasn’t one of the Greek mystery religions either. Astonished at the disappearance of tribalism, the citizens of Antioch had to invent a new term for these disciples: Christians.

When Christians overcome the barriers created by man, the world takes notice.

4 thoughts on “Tribalism or Christianity

  1. I can’t wait to meet those guys — the Cypriot and Cyrene brothers who first took the gospel to the true Hellenes. I wonder how Luke, the brilliant investigator, missed getting their names.

  2. In Christ
    In Christ
    In Christ

    One New Man
    Put on the new self
    Put on the new self

    So making peace
    created after the likeness of God
    renewed… after the image of its creator

  3. I’ve been reading about this lately; specifically Luke and how his Luke-Acts account really pays little attention to the Gentiles as a primary focus, even going so far as to remove contact between Jesus and Gentiles (and when he does, he excuses it or uses apologetic language).

    Luke’s major focus was that Jesus came to restore Israel first. Thus, we have the Samaritans, who to Luke were indeed Jews, being converted first; that is, joining the orthodox Jews who believed in the orthodox Jewish Jesus.

    It is quite fascinating. Even looking at Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels, how little Jesus cares for the Gentiles. In every instance it was they who came to Him. Jesus merely foreshadowed what was to come when He crossed the sea; but even then He never instigated anything with Gentiles.

    Take a look at the Good Samaritan parable; which, by the way only Luke has. Notice there is not ONE Gentile in the parable; it deals with Jews and Samaritans only. So who is my brother? In that parable, it wasn’t a Gentile! They were dogs to Jesus, as He told that woman.

    Jesus came to re-establish Israel, a combined Israel, under one King; King Jesus. Indeed, as Jesus said, He came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel and he forbid his disciples while He was on the earth to go into Gentile territories. This had to happen first before any mission to the Gentiles happened. The Isaianic prophecies, for one, are clear about his. In reality, the mission to the Gentiles as an exclusive mission doesn’t get a green light until Acts 28:28. All the times before the mission first went to synagogues. Gentiles were on the outside looking in, but listening and believing!

    It was a primary mission to join the Samaritans with the orthodox Jews first.

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