The label applied
Tertullus asserted Paul to be “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5).
Tertullus called Christians “Nazarenes” because they followed Jesus of Nazareth. But he also labeled them a sect.
The label denied
Here’s how Paul responded: “…according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers…” (Acts 24:14—emphasis added). Paul considered Pharisees a sect (Acts 26:5), but not Christ’s church.
If not a sect, what is it? It is the household of God (1 Timothy 3:15), the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).
When Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18), was His intention to add yet another sect? Was it a mere sect Jesus bought with His blood (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:23, 25)?
Was Tertullus right and Paul wrong?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/
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