Dear Church Family,
It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and us not to place any burden beyond these necessities:
In some social groups and in some places, for example, the older members are inclined to demonstrate their superiority over the new ones and create or enforce some rules for the new members to observe. Failing to do so, the new members might be victimized by them. I remember in our younger days, we learned that in the post-primary schools older students used to call new students, “ freshmen”, whose tails would be “cut” after they had completed one year in the institution. These senior students sometimes created duties for the younger ones as a way of looking down on them. Failing to do so would cause the new students to be penalized. These were funny things students did at school to younger ones. Thanks be to God I didn’t have that experience.
This is the way I would see what happened during the apostolic times. How the early converts from Judaism insisted that those newly converted by Paul and Barnabas were forced to observe the Mosaic Law of the Jews in order to be accepted into the Church. This is how a debate ensued between them with Paul and Barnabas who were the apostles of the Gentile converts. To bring a resolution to this problem, a delegation led by the Apostle Paul, Barnabas and the Jewish converts, were to confer with the elders of the Church in Jerusalem. This was what gave rise to the Council of Jerusalem. In its decision, the Gentile Christians were freed from the Mosaic obligations but had only to obey the moral laws. The Holy Spirit, as was said, guarded them in their decision.
From this Council, other Councils sprung forth at different times in the Church, such as :
The Council of Nicaea – 325 AD
First Council of Constantinople – 381 AD
First Council of Ephesus – 431 AD
Council of Chalcedon – 451AD
And many others down to the Vatican Council II, in 1959 of the last century.
From there we can think of other Councils in the Local Church :
The Diocesan Councils, Priests’ Councils, Laity Councils, Parish Councils, etc. The aims of these councils are for the spiritual renewal of the members, administrative purposes in the Church, and for growth of faith and salvation of humanity.
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