Mental cloudiness is the curse of every human being. Until we get to heaven and finally see, hear, and understand everything clearly, we squint and peer ahead, trying to make sense of a world gone crazy. We’re all sinners. Even reborn and sanctified Christians, even (especially) Christian leaders, need to stay tuned into and obedient to God’s Word.
Despising and shunning Gentiles had been so deeply ingrained into the Jewish culture in which Simon Peter grew up that he apparently had only partially bought into the Pentecost idea that the doors of faith were really being thrown open to all the world. He backslid into practices of racial and religious segregation. Paul was outraged: “When Cephas [i.e., Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before 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. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray” (Galatians 2:11-13).
Our own hypotheses and conclusions and habits and customs may be sincere. They may have been held for a long time and held by many others, maybe even the majority of your congregation or denomination. You too may be afraid of your version of “the circumcision group.”
Back to the Word. Always, back to the Word.