Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Weaker Brother ?

It seems the discussion about Christian liberty versus legalism has been going on for, well, some time before Paul wrote Galatians and Romans.

Between Two Worlds has this very helpful post originated from the work of John Feinberg (Ethics for a Brave New World, due out in November).

Feinberg suggests eight tests for moral decision-making in matters that are not absolutes; matter of liberty (freedom) versus limiting one's self (for a weaker brother). I encourage you to read the entire article here >>

And here is an outline and highlights of his major points:

1) The first question is, am I fully persuaded that it is right? Paul says (Rom 14:5, 14, 23) that whatever we do in these areas, we must be persuaded it is acceptable before God.

2) Second, can I do it as unto the Lord? Whatever we do, Paul says, we must do as unto the Lord (Rom 14:6–8).

3) Third, can I do it without being a stumbling block to my brother or sister in Christ? Much of Romans 14 (vv. 13, 15, 20–21) concerns watching out for the other brother’s or sister’s walk with the Lord. . . . If he or she sees us participate, he or she may be offended. As much as possible, we must avoid giving offense in these areas.

4) Fourth, does it bring peace? In Rom 14:17–18 Paul says the kingdom of God is not about things such as the meat we eat or what we drink. Instead, it is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

5) Fifth, does it edify my brother? The command to do what edifies is in the same verse as the charge to do what brings peace (14:19).

6) Sixth, is it profitable? In 1 Cor 6:12 Paul addresses the issue of Christian liberty, and he reminds believers that morally indifferent practices are all lawful, but they may not all be profitable.

7) Seventh, does it enslave me? (1 Cor 6:12). Many activities, wholesome and valuable in themselves, become unprofitable if they master us more than Christ does.

8) A final test is, does it bring glory to God? Paul discusses Christian liberty in 1 Corinthians 10, and in verse 31 he sums up his discussion by saying that whatever we do in these areas should bring glory to God.

And they conclude: "In sum, Scripture distinguishes between actions covered by moral absolutes and those that are not. Believers must make up their own minds (under the Holy Spirit’s leading) on what to do in matters of Christian liberty. Personal preferences must not be imposed on others. In deciding what to do, one should use these eight tests taught by Paul. Each one must answer those questions honestly before God. Whatever decision stems from that process of questioning, each must have the integrity to obey."

Sound advise.

3 John 8
Bill H.

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