Assuming Everything They
Are Trying To Prove
by Patrick T. Donahue
Some people say that Peter was sinning in ignorance by not preaching to the Gentiles until Acts 10, and that this proves that Christians receive automatic forgiveness of the sins that they commit through ignorance before and without repentance of those sins. It seems that these teachers, in absence of a verse that proves their doctrine, have resorted to "assuming everything they are trying to prove."
The first thing that they are assuming, is that Peter sinned by not preaching to the Gentiles until Acts 10. The Bible doesn't have any problem pointing out that Peter sinned in Galatians 2:11-17; doesn't it seem strange that the Bible never indicates that Peter committed a sin in the Acts 10 case? The reason it doesn't, is because Peter did not sin in this case. Acts 1:8 indicates that it was God's plan for the apostles to preach first "in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria," and then unto those in "the uttermost part of the earth." Romans 1:16 verifies this fact by stating that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." See also Romans 2:9 and 10 in connection with this point. So the Bible teaches that it was God's plan for the gospel to be preached to "the Jew first" for a period of time before it was to be preached to the Gentile. The Bible never says that Peter sinned by not preaching to the Gentiles at the first; that is just assumed by those under consideration in this article.
The second thing that is assumed in the proposition is the fact that Peter did not repent of this supposed sin. When Peter was led by the Holy Ghost to began preaching to the Gentiles in Acts 10, don't you think he would have repented of not preaching to the Gentiles, if he had been committing sin by not preaching to them before that day? His actions along that line sure changed that day didn't they? Of course, you don't read in Acts 10-11 of Peter repenting, because Peter did not sin by not preaching to the Gentiles before that day. It was part of God's plan to wait (Acts 1:8, Romans 1:16). It seems we have assumption on top of assumption.
The only point remaining in the proposition is the thought that Peter was forgiven of his supposed sin. Where does the Bible say that Peter was forgiven for not preaching to the Gentiles until Acts 10? It certainly doesn't say that in Acts 10 or 11. The Bible says nothing anywhere of Peter's forgiveness of this sin, because as we have already shown, the Bible never indicates that Peter had even committed a sin in this respect. Assuming and asserting is always easier than proving (with a Bible passage).
So we see that it is all assumption to say that Peter was sinning in ignorance by not preaching to the Gentiles until Acts 10, and that this proves that Christians receive automatic forgiveness of the sins they commit through ignorance before and without repentance of those sins. The Bible nowhere says that Peter committed a sin by not preaching to the Gentiles at the beginning. The Bible nowhere shows that Peter failed to repent of his action, had it been a sin. And the Bible nowhere teaches that Paul was forgiven of any sin that he didn't repent of, not in this case, not in any case. It seems that those using this case to prove their theory of automatic forgiveness, are "assuming everything they are trying to prove."
[Editors Note: Thanks to Pat Donahue for the article! Pat can be reached at: Patrick T. Donahue, 4607 Old Railroad Bed Road, Harvest, AL 35749, PatDonahue@mail.com]
Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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