11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
As I have said, I am in the process of outlining 3 approaches that individuals and Churches have in dealing with situations that are are all based on the parable of the Prodigal Son. One approach which I have labelled the elder brother, religious approach is focussed on being “right” with God but in the end is pursing a lifeless, slavic, self righteouss obedience. The other approach is the methods of the younger, irreligious brother. The parable of the Prodigal son shows both of these methods to be incorrect. The third method is the what I am labelling the Gospel approach to life and Church and is focussed on the cross and the God who revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ
All problems, I believe, personal or social come from a failure to use the gospel in a radical way, to get “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Gal.2:14). All pathologies in the church and all its ineffectiveness comes from a failure to use the gospel in a radical way. I believe that if the gospel is expounded and applied in its fullness in any church, that church will look every unique. People will find both moral conviction yet compassion and flexibility. For example, gays are used to being “bashed” and hated or completely accepted. They never see anything else. The cultural elites of either liberal or conservative sides are alike in their unwillingness to befriend or live with or respect or worship with the poor. They are all alike in separating themselves increasingly from the rest of society.