Council of Jerusalem

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The Council of Jerusalem was the convening of the Apostles and Paul and other Christian leaders around A.D. 50 to decide which Jewish traditions would be required of Gentiles who converted to Christianity. Specifically, the community in Jerusalem believed that non-Jewish converts to Christianity needed to be circumcised and to accept Jewish law, while Paul argued that that should not be required. Paul was able to convince the rest of the early Christian leaders that his views were correct, and the requirements that converts be circumcised was dropped.

The Council decided to make the burdens as light as possible on converts:[1]

It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and ourselves not to saddle you with any burdens beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these and you will do what is right.

The Catholic Church sees in Acts 15 the divinely inspired precedent of calling an authoritative council of Christian bishops to settle matters of dispute over doctrine and practice.[2]


  1. Acts 15:28-29
  2. See Acts 20:28-32; Titus 3:0-11; Matthew 18:15-20; James 5:19-20;
    John 14:15-17, 23-26; 15:1-10; 16:12-15.

See also



Ecumenical council


Great Apostasy