The Gentile Question that was resolved in the Council of Jerusalem is if non Jews should be circumcised to enter the church. This question creates a controversy because many people believe that, yes, non Jews should be circumcised to demonstrate their faith and be apart of the church community. They think that it proves their identity and loyalty to the Catholic Church. However, there are also several people that believe that, no, non Jews do not have to be circumcised to show their faith.
Among them is St. Paul, he believed that those practiced circumcision were “false brothers”. St. Paul stated, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). This means that by circumcising oneself, one will boast or praise themselves in order to prove themselves. The people that have a negative attitude towards circumcision and are not advocates for it believe that through Baptism we enter the church, not by circumcision. They also believe that they should prove themselves through prayer and prove themselves spiritually instead of physically.
Due to the rising controversy over the Gentile Question, the Council of Jerusalem met in Jerusalem to discuss the question, should non Jews be circumcised to enter the Catholic Church. The apostle Paul along with his friend Barnabas were ordained to discuss with the elders of the church of Jerusalem. The statement that made them go meet up with the elders is “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1).
This question started a controversy between the people who practice circumcision and Paul and Barnabas. The people that practiced circumcision stated that “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5).
After talking to the elders, Paul stated a speech to the believers saying, “Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:10-11). After finishing the speech many people began to listen and were in awe of what Paul had just spoken. He continued stating that they should not make it hard for people to turn to God, instead they tell them not to fall into temptations such as sexual pleasures, certain foods, and many other things. They wrote a letter and gave it to people. The people were happy and rejoiced because it encouraged believers, bringing them closer to God. In conclusion, the Gentile Question should non Jews be circumcised created a dispute among many people. Of those people against it were St.
Paul who believed that people circumcised themselves in order to prove their belief and boast about it. He believed that spiritually people needed to prove themselves not physically. In Galatians, he talked about people being foolish to practice these certain rituals. To discuss this question, Paul and Barnabas met with the elders in the Council of Jerusalem. They came to an agreement stating that although non Jews do not have to circumcised, they must follow a certain ritual which consists of abstaining sexual desires and not eating food from animals that were slaughtered.
Should non Jews be circumcised to enter the Catholic Church? No non Jews should not have to be circumcised to grow in God’s faith.