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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

29 September 2005

New Testament Circumcision

Q: Why was circumcision such an important issue in the Early Church?

A: Circumcision was being required of Gentile converts by some Jewish Christians or Christian pretenders. Collectively these legalists are often known as the Judaizers, people who worked to put Gentiles freed by the Gospel under the weight of the Law. Paul is especially harsh on such people in his Epistle to the Galatians, even mentioning how Peter sinned by attempting to please the “circumcision party” in Antioch (2:12). Medical circumcision was not the target of his displeasure; it was what was being done for religious purposes.

Chapter 5 speaks of how receiving circumcision after becoming a Christian causes one to sever himself from Christ, falling away from grace (v. 4). He then notes in chapter 6 that the very people who argue so vehemently for circumcision don’t “keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh. (6:13)” He concludes his attack on this and all other forms of works-righteousness by noting that it is not human deeds, including circumcision, that really matter; rather, the only truly important work is the action of God making us “a new creation. (6:15)”

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just come across your blog. I am a Missouri Christian and I believe that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made". American Christians are culturally blind to the beast of circumcision and I am trying really hard to open the hearts and eyes of those around me to get them to leave their son's perfect body alone, will you be the beackon of light? "But in fact, God has arranged the parts of the body, everyone of them, just as He wants them to be." 1 Cor 12:18
I believe that it is a sham that American Christians practice circumcision. God did not make a mistake. I find some of these links very useful in helping Christians sort through the American 'tradition of men'.
"What the Bible reallys says about circumcision"
Dr. P. M. Fleiss “The Case Against Circumcision” http://www.drmomma.org/2009/11/case-against-circumcision.html
You can find us on facebook at Intact Missouri.

02 May, 2013 16:27  

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