The book of Acts portrays stages of the development of the self-awareness of primitive Christianity. The account has important sociological as well as theological implications for the study of Christian origins. Acts indicates that geographical and cultural expansion exposed and focused attention upon underlying causes of disputes and debates which were a part of the self-definition process. From focus upon "side issues" such as ritual and ethnic practice the church came to the realization that the real struggle lay in varying views of the Christian way of salvation and its relation to Judaism. It was these issues which made necessary the Council of Jerusalem of Acts 15.

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