Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Romans 14

This really struck me this week, along with other passages of ecumenical acceptance and celebration. I struggle with knowing what to say here about this, because this struggle is planted so deep in my heart.
Though our theologies may differ, though the way we look, act, and speak may differ, we can be unified in Christ, and we can live in ways which celebrate our theological differences and respect the dignity of all.

Welcome all the Lord's followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. 2Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. 3But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. 4What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right.
5Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. 6Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honor their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don't eat meat.

7Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. 8Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. 9This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. 11In the Scriptures God says,

"I swear by my very life

that everyone will kneel down

and praise my name!"

12And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do.

13We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone's faith. 14The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

It is such a struggle in the body, isn't it?

It seems to me too that one of the biggest struggles the church faces is to know which issues to overlook and which it must stand firm on. In Paul's letters you see him doing both -- calling the churches out on certain issues that are non-negotiable (i.e. immorality) as well as making it clear in passages such as this that some things are simply not that important.

It seems there are two equally dangerous extremes. One extreme is to be judgmental about EVERYTHING. These people routinely get condemned by others. The other extreme tries to say that sin issues are included in Romans 14, and that we should be tolerant of willful sin in the body. This extreme seems to be growing in popularity in the North American church. But neither line up with Scripture.

I guess at the end of the day what we really need is wisdom.