The Jerusalem Conference & Apostolic Decree

Galatians 2:1-21 versus Acts 15:1-35

Due to being embarrassed over the obvious contradictions between Galatians 2 and Acts 15, many Christian apologists try to claim that Galatians 2 does not equal Acts 15, that the events in Acts 15 occurred at an earlier or even later date than Galatians 2. This dishonest argument is addressed in chapter 3: Sacrificing Paul's Credibility to Rescue Acts.

Jerusalem Journey # 2

Paul says 14 years after he had visited with Peter; he went up to Jerusalem again. And he went in response to a revelation. Yet the Paul of Acts isn't going to Jerusalem because of a revelation, but is being sent to Jerusalem by the church in Antioch to settle a dispute that arose in the Antioch church.

Galatians 2:2 ... I went up by revelation ... See Context

Acts 15:2 ... they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem ... See Context

Note: It is from Acts13: 9 onward, that Saul is now referred to as Paul and curiously both his name and importance now precedes that of Barnabas.

Paul says while in Jerusalem, he revealed the gospel that he preached among the Gentiles to the leaders of the Jerusalem church in a private meeting. Yet Acts claims Paul and Barnabas reported everything to the entire assembly immediately upon entering the Jerusalem church.

Galatians 2: 2 ... communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation ... See Context

Acts 15: 4 ... when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. See Context

Paul says that circumcision became an issue of great contention in Jerusalem, for spies discovered that Titus was not circumcised. Whereas, Acts claims this is the very reason that the church in Antioch had sent Paul to Jerusalem in the first place, to receive instructions to settle a dispute concerning circumcision. Unlike Paul's account of spies and false brethren in the Jerusalem church, Acts claims they were merely "believers" who simply wanted the Gentiles to observe what was being observed in the Jerusalem church, for it was a SYNAGOGUE!

Galatians 2:3 ... neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty... See Context

Acts 15:5 ... which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. See Context

Paul says he stood his ground, refusing to submit to the demands that the Gentiles be circumcised. Whereas the wimpy Paul in Acts, is but a subordinate of the Jerusalem Church and must wait within the assembly as the elders and apostles of the Jerusalem Church huddle together to debate this most holy of concerns: What would God have them do with the Gentile's penis?

Galatians 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you ... See Context

Acts 15: 6 ... the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. See Context

According to Acts it wasn't Paul who rescues the Gentile's foreskins, but was James, the leader of the Jerusalem Church. For after listening to the muddled logic of Peter and glowing reports from Paul and Barnabas, James decides that he would allow the Gentiles to keep their little foreskins. Whew!

Acts 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God ... See Context

Paul says the leaders of the Jerusalem Church recognized that the gospel to the Gentiles had been given to him in the same manor that the gospel to the Jews had been given Peter. Yet in Acts there is no acknowledgment of that at all, it says God had originally chosen Peter to be the apostle to the Gentiles, not Paul. But during the silly squabble over what was to be done with the Gentile's foreskin, Peter claims that since God has given the Holy Ghost to the Gentiles too, what the heck, anyone can preach to them now.

Galatians 2:7 ... they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8: (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) ... (See Context & Galatians 1:16)

Acts 15:7 ... Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel ... See Context

Paul says an agreement was reached in Jerusalem that he should take his gospel to the Gentiles, and they would go to the Jews. In this agreement, Paul explicitly says only one thing was asked of him: To remember the poor. Whereas in Acts, a wimpy Paul stands subserviently by as James decrees that although the Gentiles my keep their little foreskins, they will be required to observe certain laws of Moses. Nothing is said of the poor.

Galatians 2:9 ... they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 10: Only they would that we should remember the poor ... See Context

Acts 15:20 ... that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21: For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. See Context

Galatians versus Acts

Part 1: Is God The Author of Confusion?

Part 2: The Jerusalem Conference and Apostolic Decree

Part 3: Sacrificing Paul's Credibility to Rescue Acts

Other writings of Wayne Lamar Harrington

In Defense of the Goodness of God


Revealing the Spiritual duality of the Bible. For it serves neither God nor truth to try and rationalize irrational things the Bible has said of God.

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