Tensions in a Diverse Community
In building a community, there are basic principles, and also particular problems that arise. The church in Rome likely started after Pentecost (ad 30) as the “visitors from Rome, Jews and proselytes” (Acts 2:10) who became believers returned home (25 yrs before Romans, ad 56). Many Roman Jews were from freed slave families, from Pompey’s conquests a century earlier, not citizens. In c. ad 49 emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome because of conflicts over the new faith (Aquila & Priscilla, Acts 18:2). Claudius died ad 54. Jews returned. The church had been non-Jewish (Gentile) and now has returning leaders. How is all this supposed to play out. Some Gentiles said God rejected the Jews and brought in Gentiles.
Paul, the Pharisee who became apostle to Gentiles, wants to deal with the issue. Not just with practical advice but by understanding the whole narrative of Scripture and their place in it. He has worked with many of the returning Jews and is committed to the nations/Gentiles.
The Troublesome Grace that Makes New People