Communal discernment in the early church

  • Pieter G. R. de Villiers University of the Free State, South Africa

Abstract

This article investigates the often-neglected communal dimension of discernment by focusing on the way in which the early church responded to the controversy about the circumcision for gentiles in Acts 15. It analyses how discernment takes place mostly in times of ambiguity and crisis in which a faith community is challenged to seek the divine will. The article then investigates the way in which discernment takes place: it is first and foremost a communal matter which brings together all parties in order to participate in intense debate and weighing of possibilities. Before examining the awareness that discernment is about a contemplative gaze, the article analyses the way in which wisdom of community leaders and wisdom of the past play a role in discerning the right way.

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Published
2013-06-07
Section
Articles