Randy preached on Romans 14 on Sunday. Edifying and challenging, as the Word should always be to us. The passage challenges those who differ on secondary matters (specifically dietary concerns and when to have church) to come together in love. They must not abandon fellowship and need to learn to respect each others’ convictions. Provided people are eating or not eating “by faith,” in Christ, they’re cool. That’s the bottom line. Both can be serving Christ if they do what they do in faith.
Well the question now is, “What is a secondary matter?'” Certainly there have been those who have divided over Jesus’ resurrection and a belief that God’s Word is in fact, God’s Word. But there also have been denominations formed because of an anti-alcohol stance (can you just see John Knox rolling over in his grave!) and pre-millenial end times views. Not good. So how do we figure out what is worth fighting over and what is worth putting up with?
I’ll be doing a series now on how to know what’s really important (contending for the faith-Jude 1:3) and what we should be able to disagree on but do so in love (Romans 14).
There are three main areas to look at. We’ll visit the first one now. Our standard: the Bible.
There are some things in the bible which are very clear. Jesus is fully God (not just a dude). In order to deny that, one would need to add words to the bible (as Jehovah’s Witnesses do) or ignore certain parts of it. Other things include His bodily resurrection from the dead, our sinful humanity, our need to gather and worship Him, etc..
Now there are some things which are not as clear. Are there a number of clear passages which tell us exactly how to vote, that tattoos are evil, head scarves are needed for women, exactly how to school your child, how Sunday worship should look, etc…? No.
Those things which find greater clarity and space in scripture we should contend for. We should hold them with higher levels of certainty. Those things which find less clarity should move us toward more charity. St. Augustine (not the city) once said something similar. Of course, not in English.
This is the first step. Some things may be clear to me and not to you, and vice versa. So there is a second step we need to take. In time. Probably a day.