Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A less circular view of Romans 14

I know I've written about this before, but I need someone to help me see how the popular view of Romans 14 isn't spinning in circles. Romans 14, remember, deals with the issue of two brothers whose consciences are in different places on the subject of meat offered to idols or observing days in honor to God. One does it in all good conscience, the other cannot.

The opinion I keep hearing is that only if the subject in dispute is something that doesn't matter to God are we free to classify it as a "disputable matter."

How is this not circular reasoning, when the very question in dispute was whether it mattered to God or not?

Is Romans 14 suggesting that the brothers who were against these practices, in order to accept their brothers who were for it, needed to reach a mutual agreement one way or the other, or mutually agree that God was indifferent to these questions? Or is Romans 14 suggesting that each brother accept the other in spite of their difference of opinion on what God wants?

Maybe I'm wrong--it wouldn't be the first time, I suppose--but I just don't understand how it could be anything but the latter. Paul is not saying that we need to agree that something is disputable before we can get a long. Then it would no longer be in dispute!

He doesn't tell the brother who thought it was OK to eat meat offered to idols to "take a stand for the truth" and "separate fellowship" from his brother who thought it was wrong. They are to love each other and accept each other, because "God has accepted them."

Thus saith the Lord, as far as my imperfect mind can discern.

Join the discussion - Dicuss this post