The following was part of the the announcements in LCG services yesterday:
Powerful New Evidence Supports Male Circumcision: Considerable research supporting male circumcision has surfaced over the last decade. As a result, The American Academy of Pediatrics just reversed its 13-year stance. A five-year review of more than 1,000 circumcision studies resulted in the Academy’s conclusion: “Systematic evaluation of English-language peer-reviewed literature from 1995 through 2010 indicates that preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure. Benefits include significant reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life and, subsequently, in the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and th e transmission of other sexually transmitted infections” (Pediatrics, September 2012, Vol. 130, No. 3). The Academy also recommends insurers begin covering the procedure (ibid.). While the scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the procedure, there are still many opponents. A court in Cologne, Germany, recently ruled that infant male circumcision opposes “the fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity” (CBS News, August 27, 2012). Roughly 4,000 years ago God commanded Abraham to be circumcised (Genesis 17:11-13) and continued this command with the Israelites (Leviticus 12:3). By giving these commands, God was ultimately protecting baby boys (and their future wives), and instituting a practice that would keep them healthier than their enemies—and even blessing their descendants (Deuteronomy 7:12-15). Science is simply “uncovering” the powerful physical reasons why God gave this loving command so long ago!
As the above says, thousands of years ago, God told Abraham to implement circumcision:
9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” (Genesis 17:9-14)
Now, although the New Testament teaches that Gentile adult males do not have to be circumcised in order to be Christians (Acts 15:24-29), the Apostle Paul had Timothy circumcised anyway (Acts 16:3).
Even though the apostles ruled that adult Gentiles did not have to be circumcised in Acts 15, my own reading into early church history suggests that many Christians continued to circumcise their male babies after this declaration (though not necessarily in all Sabbath-keeping groups).
The early 20th century theologian J.J.L. Ratton reported:
The early Church at Jerusalem, retained most of the distinctive customs of the Jews, such as circumcision, kosher meats, the Jewish Sabbath, the Jewish rites, and worship of the Temple. Our Lord, Himself, lived the exterior life of a Jew, even so far as the observance of Jewish religious customs was concerned. The early Church of Jerusalem followed His example. The Jews looked upon the Hebrew Christians in Jerusalem simply as a Jewish sect, which they called the sect of the Nazarenes. (Ratton JJL The Apocalypse of St. John: a commentary on the Greek text, 2nd edition. R. & T. Washbourne, ltd., 1915. Original fromt he University of Michigan. Digitized Jun 12, 2007, p. 4)
Now, it should be mentioned that in the second century, non-Nazarene professors of Christ, like the heretic Justin, did not practice circumcision.
While the Bible does not list health benefits that come from circumcision, it would make sense that the Creator of the universe would only recommend physical practices that were beneficial for His human creation.
Several articles of possibly related interest may include:
Health Benefits for Circumcision Various studies show health benefits for male circumcision. Have Christians observed circumcision throughout history?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what doctrines the early Christians actually had? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?