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Is circumcision still required today?


Pr. Doug Bachelor

(Bible Answers Live, - radio program)

Caller: My question is on Acts the 15th chapter and is about circumcision. I was reading today about Abraham and circumcision, when God made the covenant with Abraham; and I’m wondering what happened here in the 15th chapter of Acts? What’s going on in this chapter where it says some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching?

Pastor Doug: All right. Yes In Acts 15, the Counsel in Jerusalem gives some summary advice to the Gentiles that were turning to Christianity on a few specific questions they had.

They had questions about eating things that were sacrificed to idols; they had questions about living with someone that you were not married to – was that fornication; and from eating animals that had been butchered by strangling rather than the throat being cut, because the Jews had laws about all these.

Caller: Ok.

Pastor Doug: And the Ten Commandments did not specifically address a couple of these things. So, they sent them back a letter and they said we write unto them that they abstain from the pollutions of idols; from fornication – now it’s not talking about when two people are married and they break the marriage by sleeping with others – they just lived together without getting married, and they asked is this ok, and the Bible says no, that’s fornication; and from things strangled and from blood. They were not to eat the blood of animals, which people still do – Christians do today – they shouldn’t do.

Caller: Ok. So is circumcision….

Pastor Doug: Circumcision is not mentioned here, but Paul later says circumcision is nothing. Uncircumcision is nothing – but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.

Caller: Ok so I guess my question is, where they’re talking about circumcision, where the argument comes up about it, is the problem that some Jewish believers were trying to get Gentiles to be circumcised?

Pastor Doug: Yup. Yeah that’s when Paul said, [1st Corinthians 7:19] ‘Circumcision is nothing. Uncircumcision is nothing – but keeping the commandments of God.’ So they were trying to impose circumcision on the Christians and it was part of the ceremonial law that God gave Abraham.