Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Matters of Conscience

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. -- Romans 14:2
 A brief riff on yesterday's post:

This is the American verse in Romans 14, which is the probably the American chapter of Romans, which may be the most American book of the Bible.  We belong to different denominations and hold different views on church authority, on communion, on all kinds of things.  People have killed other people over transubstantiation.  I believe what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:29, For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself, but I would not say that means exactly the same thing to me that it means to the average devout Catholic.  That would be a matter of faith that I have between myself and God. 

Being in one accord doesn't require that we have exactly the same understanding of everything.  The error of most varieties of ecumenicism is that they end up saying our matters of faith do not matter when they matter very much, just not in the horizontal.  What matters in the arms of the Cross is how we treat one another.  We ought always to humble ourselves and give preference to the wants and needs of others.   

As long as a person who claims to be a believer is not actually doing anything to bring shame to the Name of Christ, it is not our concern.  Certainly when someone is living and acting in a way that everybody knows is wrong -- like the man in Corinth who was sleeping with his mother, or a woman who cheats on her husband, or a man who gets drunk and beats his wife or causes a car wreck, a thief, a liar, a glutton, or a gossip -- we should call them out.  If they claim to be in Christ while living in open, obvious contradiction to Him, we should have nothing to do with them and not allow them into our communion until they repent and step away from their egregious sin.

Otherwise, I believe what I believe.  I may think someone is wrong about some point of doctrine, and I will hold to my belief, but I will let God deal with both me and my brother.  We could both be wrong.  Or both right.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye, do unto others...and then run!
I mean, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

mushroom said...

I have noticed that sometimes even when you do someone a genuinely good turn, it's not always a good idea to stick around.

As the hillbillies say, Some people just can't stand prosperity.