Did Paul and the Jerusalem-church see each other as partners?

  • Question

    Did the leaders of the Jerusalem church consider Paul a fellow apostle and/or worker in Christ, and did Paul regard them as the same? Did they see each other as parts of the same unified so-called body of Christ? Did they regard each other as same-team allies? Would they take communion together?

  • Scholars

    • Michael Licona: “It is now generally accepted that no split existed between Paul and the Jerusalem leadership.” [The Resurrection of Jesus (IVP Academic, 2010), 493.]
“Yes, after all…
  • Paul was same-team allies with Jerusalem church leadership

    Three people put their hands together in team-agreement.

    Paul was same-team allies with Jerusalem church leadership.

    …like Peter [Forthcoming]

    …like James [Forthcoming]
    like Barnabas

    This is relevant because being allies with these leading members is essentially want it meant to be partners with the Jerusalem church.

  • Barnabas partnered with Paul (co-pastoring etc.)

    Two guys facing forward, one with a friendly arm around the other.

    Barnabas partnered with Paul (co-pastoring etc.)

    After all…

    …he introduced Paul to the church as an ally1
    …he made Paul his co-pastor in Antioch for a year
    …together they got donations for the Jerusalem church
    …together they visited Cyprus etc. to evangelize
    …together they appealled to the Jerusalem council
    …together they circulated the council's judgment
    …they were ready to evangelize more together
    …Paul continued praising Barnabas
    …Paul and Barnabas’s cousin were partners

    This is relevant because Barnabas was a leader in the Jerusalem church.2

    1. The main evidence here is:

      Acts 9:26 -- “When he [Paul] came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.” This is especially relevant for this article because Barnabas was a leading and trusted member[?], and so his introduction and endorsement of Paul would be successful.

    2. We know this for several reasons. For example,
      • The Jerusalem church “sends” Barnabas on missions (Acts 11:21-26)
      • He was in a position of authority to endorse Paul to them (see Acts 9:26 above)
      • The Jerusalem church listens to Barnabas in general, and sees him as God-inspired. (Acts 15:12)
  • Paul consulted with them as Jesus-biography authorities to learn from

    Two men are inside of a house. One has a speech bubble with Jesus's head inside.

    Paul consulted with them as Jesus-biography authorities to learn from.

    After all…

    This is relevant because the apostles—avid proclaimers of Jesus's story and mission—will naturally feel friendly towards persons who seek them out as authorities.

  • The Jerusalem church celebrated Paul’s conversion

    The Jerusalem church celebrated Paul’s conversion.

    Galatians 1:21-24 — “I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea… they kept hearing, ‘He who once persecuted us is now preaching…’ And they were glorifying God because of me.”

  • They saw God’s work in Paul and commissioned him

    They saw God’s work in Paul and commissioned him.1

    Acts 15:25-26 — “[The Jerusalem council wrote a letter to Antioch saying,] it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Gal 2:7-10 — “[They saw] I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised... James and Cephas and John… gave to me… the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” (Gal 2:7-10; it says they also invited Paul’s churches to financially help the poor in famined Jerusalem.)

  • Paul and his churches sent financial relief to the Jerusalem church

    Paul and his churches sent financial relief to the Jerusalem church.1 This is relevant because it was Paul who collected and brought the funds.

    1. E.g. Acts 11:28-30 — “a great famine... And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.” [Much more forthcoming]
  • Paul reports to and appeals to the Jerusalem church’s council

    Paul reports to and appeals to the Jerusalem church’s council.1

    Acts 15:2-30 — “the brethren [at the Antioch church] determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue [of circumcision].... [In Jerusalem] they were received by the church... The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. ... [James the head leader said] Therefore it is my judgment on circumcision…’ [and] it seemed good to the apostles and the elders …they sent this letter by them, ‘The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to [you]… we have sent Judas and Silas [with this letter and Paul]’ [So Paul and Barnabas etc.] delivered the letter… [and the Antioch church] rejoiced.”