Acts 11:1-18 serves as the basis for this Spiritual Leadership Concept.The passage deals with a new paradigm running up against the existing paradigm. God uses His servant, the Apostle Peter, to present a change in the prevailing pattern of thought to those earliest converts into Christianity in Jerusalem. God gets across to the leaders in the church that both Jews and Gentiles will be in the body of Christ. God brings down the existing standard opinion that Jews only will be in Christ’s Body and clearly confirms that Gentiles will also be included in His salvation.
A paradigm refers to a prevailing pattern or model of thinking or acting. Paradigm can be defined more thoroughly as a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing what is or what should be for the community that shares them.
The following verse from the passage at hand shows the collision with the existing paradigm – Jews and Gentiles are to be separate, not mingling in spiritual matters.
"Saying, 'You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!' " (Acts 11:3 NKJV)
Here we see on the other side of the collision that God's Spirit has broken through to bring the acceptance of a new paradigm, a new standard – Jews and Gentiles will share in God's salvation and church.
"When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, 'Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.' " (Acts 11:18 NKJV)
Spiritual Leadership Concepts
What can leaders learn from this passage about changes brought by God?
- Changes in paradigms, prevailing views, may be initiated by God through one leader who is used to impact other leaders.
- Life with God in Christ is dynamic – changes will come.
- Leaders in churches and ministries need to be open to hearing from God through those whom God chooses to bring a paradigm change – a change in the standard.
- Don't expect changes to be accepted without some opposition by the paradigm police.
- Shifts in prevailing patterns are best initiated and implemented by God's Spirit.