Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Unity in Diversity, Part 31 of 33

GUEST: Jeff Manion

TEXT: "Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died . . . It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak" (Romans 14:15, 21).

IDEA: We have the principles, but we have questions.

PURPOSE: How do we practice this principle of Scripture?

Paul says that we are not to do anything that leads another Christian to engage in behavior that he or she believes is deeply wrong. As a result, this weaker Christian commits sin and may be shaken in his Christian faith. Such a person could conceivably walk away from the whole thing.

Here are several questions we wrestle with as we try to act on this principle:

How do I know which brother or sister may be made to fall?

Do I always have to live by the highest common denominator? Do I have to abide by everyone else’s hang-ups?

Suppose I engage in behavior that has hurt other Christians, but I was unaware of it at the time?

Should strong or weak Christians make their opinions the official policy of a church?

Can a “strong” Christian do something in one situation that she can’t do in another?

Do all issues over which Christians disagree involve “strong” Christians and “weak” Christians? (For example, in the pro-life movement, home schooling, or women’s ordination.) If not, how many of the principles in Romans 14 apply?