Last night was our first bible study and it felt good to get back into it.We are discussing Corinthians,the letters of Paul to the church.I like Paul and although he's very rule oriented he was also very clear minded and responsible for the spreading of the faith and the set up of the church as we know it.
Paul was not with Jesus during his life time but he probably knew of Jesus.During the time before his conversion,He was a great persecutor of the new christian movement and those who belonged to it,not killing these new disciples but helping point them out so others could do the dirty work.
Paul allowed for the Gentiles to enter the christian faith but always hoped that the Jews would realize Jesus was the true Messiah and complete the circle of faith.
Many times in our Orthodox Icons Paul and Peter are seen either jointly holding a church in their hands or hugging each other.Peter and Paul knew each other.They were both friends and opponents.Paul calling Peter out when he refused to eat with the Gentiles at a meal that both Jews and Gentiles attended.
Paul understood the importance of the unity between Jew and Gentile.He felt that the Gentiles would help lead the Jews to the Messiah.
Belong to a small old church I have come to understand the importance of unity and tolerance.We could all use a little bit of Paul in all our churches welcoming the new people into the church but also encouraging the older members both together equals growth.We should not be an exclusive club but an inclusive faith.