From my reading in Acts 15:1-21 in the One Year New Testament.
It has always been hard for people to turn to Christ in every culture.
There are things every culture promotes that are opposed to following Christ. It is difficult for someone to give up what society says in order to follow God.
It is even more difficult when Christians make it harder to turn to God by adding extra legalistic rules.
This is what was happening in the Jerusalem Church. People were being told that they need to be circumcised in order to be saved. Regarding this dispute the apostle James said,
“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” Acts 15:19
We should not make it difficult for people to turn to God!
Often in our churches we won’t accept people until they dress, talk, and act like us. But in order to make it easy for people to come to God we must create an atmosphere were anyone can walk in and feel welcomed.
The danger of legalism is that it starts out as a genuine desire to please God, but often leads to alienating people you could potentially reach.
Adding extra rules to the Bible does not actually make you more holy, instead it makes outsiders think that they could never live that way.
My goal for the ministries I lead is to have a place where people can hear a uncomfortable message in a comfortable environment.
Full surrender to Christ is already a hard message, we dare not make it harder with man made rules.