Chapter 15 of the Acts of the Apostles is crucial in many ways regarding the early Church that Luke is describing. Midway through the book of Acts, Luke describes the procedure and outcome of the Jerusalem Council. After the Jerusalem Council, Paul alone dominates the missionary work as described in Acts. The convocation of the Council of Jerusalem became necessary because Christians of Jewish origin began insisting that Gentile Christians should observe the Mosaic Law and should undergo circumcision. The admission of Gentiles into the Church had begun some time earlier with the conversion of Cornelius, the high profile Roman centurion. But the issue started becoming more acute after Paul and Barnabas returned from their first missionary journey.
As this issue persisted and it could not be settled locally, the Church in Antioch decided that this had to be discussed in the presence of the authorities in Jerusalem and so chose Paul and Barnabas as their representatives. Up to this point in Acts Jerusalem has been a focal point, as the mother Church and the doctrinal centre. It was right that appeal was to be made to the mother Church. The mother Church was led by James who took a balanced view on the matter. He was the broadminded leader who, while basically agreeing with Peter about no circumcision and no obligation to observe the Mosaic Law for Gentile Christians, sought to preserve the unity and peace of the Church. The first Christians were Jewish, and their background, culture and sentiments had to be respected. This was the reason why he proposed the dietary and marital regulations for the Gentile Christians who lived among such Jewish Christians. Luke presents James as a Church official who seeks a reasonable compromise in the interest of the Church at large.