A battle rages in churches across America, or rather between churches across America. Denomination is up against denomination as the church divides. Why? Not any doctrinal issue, per se, but because of insignificant differences in how one should live their lives.
Neither side is without fault in this battle between legalism and radical confucianism. Of course, these terms do little to actually describe the issue properly as they are extreme labels used by either side of the issue to paint their opponents in a negative light.
Last week, we learned that extra-moral concerns have brought about some divisions within the body of Christ. Questions such as what music is edifying to the Lord, what attire one should wear and so on, are causing confrontation.
This should come as no surprise. Indeed, in Romans 14, God confronts this very issue, albeit with different examples. Here Paul talks to the Church and discusses those issues of eating meat. His discussion of these examples culminates in our theme verse, Romans 14:14,
"I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean."
As I mentioned last week, this revelation is incredibly scary out of context. Thus, I would like to clarify how it deals with extra-moral concerns this week by examining the context in full.
This Sunday an article was posted by two of my friends on Facebook. These two friends are largely fundamental, but the article they posted was directing blame at fundamentalism for offenses that are quite frankly not the fault of any movement.
The articles starts out with legitimate problems of sexual abuse and harassment occurring at fundamental colleges. It goes without saying of course that these problems could happen (and do) at any institution, fundamentalist or otherwise.
Yet this article opines that at its core, this problem is somehow the fault of the fundamentalist viewpoint.
We have thus far in this series seen a few reasons why we should not condemn someone because of their choices on extra-moral concerns. However, simply not condemning is hardly the easiest lesson to apply in our everyday lives as it is rather vague and abstract.
Starting today, we will be seeing in more detail what this course of action entails by seeing what the Lord would have us do. And yes, the information for how we should live our lives also comes from Romans 14.
Today is no different. I once again want to use another way of teaching to describe what I mean by extra-moral standards. These standards are placed by Christians as tools to fight against their possible corruption. We place them in our lives because we fear that violating these standards could dampen our relationship with the Lord or with others.
We are to worry about where we stand on issues of extra-moral concerns, not where others stand, yes, this you have expressed all sorts of different ways, but sir, how do we stand on these issues?
I'm so glad you asked because Romans 14 has a magnificent answer to your question!
We remember from a few posts ago that to eat with offense is sin, or rather to violate your extra-moral standards is a sinful act. But why exactly? Looking at Paul's explanation, we find a simple process by which we must make our decisions.
What better way to end a series than to show specific steps that all Christians should take about that which we have been discussing? Indeed, that is what we will examine today as we conclude this series. What I want to review is simply what we should do about it. So below we have three applications to our everyday lives.