Attempts to put sin in the text violates Text and Context:
"In matters of faith, unity; In matters of judgment, liberty; In all things, charity."
Practices, Beliefs and Brethren:
The only sin of this passage is that of judging a brother or practice sinful (vs. 10, 13) or eating while in doubt, offending conscience (vs. 20,23)
Allowing a weak brother to control fellowship destroys authorized liberties and violates Romans 14.
If an issue cannot be proven by "book, chapter and verse" to be in The Faith, Liberty must be allowed.
Notice how the text identifies these matters:
Informed, able to practice, right understanding, doing it to the Lord, convinced in own mind, gives God thanks. Danger: Cause weak to stumble; set brother at nought.
Uninformed, unable to practice, poor understanding, doing it not to the Lord, convinced in own mind, gives God thanks. Danger: Judge his brother, violate his own conscience.
Applied in New Testament to: Meats, Days, Circumcision, Jewish Customs (1 Corinthians 9:20)
Applied today to: Bible Classes, multiple containers, Christmas, movies, national customs
Weak Brother Destroys Practice of Authorized Liberties.
Moses E. Lard:
"These thoughts are his own private opinions respecting things about which there is no command. He, therefore, has the right to hold them without interference from others. The things which his thoughts respect are in themselves indifferent; and therefore the thoughts which relate to them are indifferent. Consequently, so long as the thoughts do not lead him who holds them into wrong, he is not to be disturbed in them."
Robertson L. Whiteside (pp. 266-277)
Bryan Vinson, Sr. (pp. 259-275)
A.W. Dicus (pp. 99-104)
They have tried:
"The implications of all this to unity and fellowship are weighty. It means that the gospel itself, not our doctrinal interpretations, is the basis of our being one in Christ and in fellowship with each other. That is, when one believes in Jesus and obeys him in baptism, he is our brother and in the fellowship. ... This is oneness and this is unity. That fellowship is strengthened and made joyful by doctrine, but it is the gospel and not doctrine that determines fellowship. ... In doctrinal matters there can be and will be diversity of opinion and interpretation. It was so with the apostles themselves. But this is good, for we stretch each other's minds and help each other to grow in knowledge in our mutual search for truth..."
"No honest opinion held by one who is in Christ Jesus and who respects his lordship, is 'another gospel.' Since it is the gospel which forms the basis of the fellowship with the Father, the Son and with one another in Christ, such an opinion can never be made a test of union or communion in Christ. A man may hold a view as to the perserverance of the saints, the manner of the resurrection, or the second coming of our Lord, and he may prove to be as wrong as one could be, but he cannot be debarred from citizenry in the kingdom of heaven by the other subjects...."
"I regard every sincere, contrite person on the face of the earth who believes in Jesus as the Son of God as God's child in prospect. He is God's child because he has been begotten of my Father but has not been born into the family relationship."
"My comments here will be based on Romans 14:1 -- 15:13. This section of Paul's most sublime epistle deals with doctrinal differences among baptized believers." (p. 2)
Roman Christians were mistakenly making "meats" and "days" matters of doctrine and attempting to bind in these areas. Paul wrote to correct this concept of substituting doctrine for personal judgment.
"The doctrine -- note, doctrine -- held by either group was tolerable to Paul. The attitude displayed by both groups was intolerable....
These same issues are still matters of doctrine -- not opinion -- among people in our churches"
"First, I believe we must accept one another as brothers beloved of God. 'Accept one another, then,' pleaded Paul, 'just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God' (Romans 15:7). ...Like it or not, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. That brothers differ on the millennium, work of the Holy Spirit, church organization, instrumental music, having a glass of wine, the role of women in church leadership, and a dozen other issues does not change the fact that they are all children of God."
"Without abandoning or compromising the first-order truths of the gospel ... we must stop labeling as 'apostate' and withholding (or withdrawing) fellowship over second ... and third-order ... truths. This means that people on both sides of these issues who have judged and condemned each other ... must repent of their past behaviors, be willing to admit their wrong and consciously undertake a more Christlike treatment of one another. We are free to hold and practice our different points of view, but we are not free to judge one another any longer."
IF Christ accepts us in:
Why Would Christ Not Accept Us In:
"And so, when we are dealing with factious individuals that destroy the unity and the enthusiasm and the souls that could be reached with such enthusiasm, when we are dealing with the public proclamation of false doctrine or when we are dealing with issues that all are necessarily involved in, then we're not dealing with the things that this chapter described, but rather we're dealing with individual issues such as we had on the chart earlier. Now you notice that this last chart is lots smaller than the other one. There aren't that many congregational issues. There are a whole lot more than we'd like for there to be. But there are exactly ten times as many on the first chart as on the one we just looked at. And I think that really understates the relationship. There are many more individual issues over which brethren fall out regarding and these are the things discussed in this chapter for which there is no excuse when we have dissension and falling out among brethren regarding instructions."
"Notice the commands, not suggestions, not advice, but the commands that are given regarding these issues, the scruples, the individual conscientious decisions made among brethren: some wrong, some incidental, but differences that we have over such matters. He commands in vs. 1, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, yet not for decisions of scruples."
"And that's why we've had all of these dissensions, tens of thousands of them, much more than the hundred that we had on the board a few minutes ago. Enough things that we have to divide over. but not nearly as many as what we have divided over and we ought to be ashamed.
"And the answer to it is in the divine wisdom that we have from this chapter."
"Have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Ephesians 5:11)
Are These Works of Darkness?
"Receive one who is weak" (Romans 14:1,3)
"Have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness" (Ephesians 5:11; 2 John 9-11)
But Patton's Open-Ended Fellowship is based on "Receive" in Sinful Practice With "No Time Limit in Romans 14"
"We have been so resolute in assuming Romans 14 refers only to 'matters of indifference,' that we've robbed ourselves of one of the few passages that truly addresses how we may tolerate each other when we differ doctrinally. Anything addressed in God's word is a matter of doctrine/teaching. Genuine 'matters of indifference' deal with issues of which God's word says nothing at all, like what color carpet to put in the church building, etc."
Ed Harrell - Christianity Magazine
"It is obvious that Christians sometimes disagree about spiritual instruction even in matters of considerable moral and doctrinal import. That behavior uniformly practiced throughout the history of Christianity is, I believe, the issue addressed in Romans 14."
"Romans 14 tolerates contradictory teaching and practices on important moral and doctrinal questions."
"Matters of Considerable Moral and Doctrinal Import," and "Contradictory Teachings and Practices on Important Moral and Doctrinal Questions" ...
Where Can Fellowship Be Limited On:
"In Romans the fourteenth chapter, a similar principle is discussed.... And many brethren today have come along and have said, 'These passages can not be applied to any matter where the Scripture teaches on it. The only thing that they, that is, these passages can be used to answer, are matters of indifference.' Those are our terms. And I have heard this preached too. You know it. They say, 'It's only on matters of indifference.'"
"I'm talking tonight about fellowshipping. And I'm doing it in a context of a series of discussions on the marriage question."
"So let me suggest in the Scriptures there are some cases discussed in detail where brethren had some differences of conviction. They differed in their belief. They differed in their practice. And yet they not only could continue to fellowship, but they were taught by Paul, the Lord through Paul, that they should continue to fellowship. 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 is usually the more familiar passage."
"Is the divorce thing a matter of ... is it an issue? Sure it is. how should it be decided? Every local congregation is going to take each individual case and pass its own judgment what would be the impact in this congregation if we accept that couple. If it's going to be harmful to the group, then that group, they ought not accept them."
"But the person in a questionable marriage, everybody doesn't see that as an adulterous situation. Now we are back to a local church has to look at each situation and say, 'What is this condition and what would be the impact in our group?'"
"Is the divorce thing a matter of..is it an issue? Sure it is. How should it be decided? Let me tell you how it ought to be decided. Every local congregation is going to take each individual case and pass its own judgment what would be the impact in this congregation if we accept that couple. If it's going to be harmful to the group, then that group, they ought not accept them. But I can't sit in Tampa, FL and write the prescription for all the situations that might come up on divorce and remarriage for all the churches in the country. And nobody else can, by the way. Some are trying to do it, but they can't do it."
Note: Reference is to an adulterous couple.
Local autonomy decides if it will fellowship them. No one else has the right to judge them. What about Premill., other doctrinal sins? Has God not "Prescribed" the answer? Would that church be viewed as a faithful church?
"First of all, I said a moment ago, in the fellowship of Jesus, is it ever justified in tolerating some doctrinal disagreements? The 14th chapter of Romans teaches that as plainly, to me, as it can possibly be taught."
"Now the common interpretation of this book is that those who are 'strong' are correct in their doctrinal positions and the ones who are 'weak' are incorrect. I don't believe that will square with the teaching of that chapter."
"Now there are some doctrinal disagreements that can be tolerated within the fellowship of Jesus Christ."
What About: (on MDR)
(If Ind,, not congregational, doesn't shame the group, not factional, local autonomy permits, "be assured in own mind," too many positions, lack of clarity, Romans 14")
have watched brethren discuss and debate Romans 14 for several years now, and I have yet to see anyone articulate what I think this chapter teaches. Those who limit it to matters of indifference seem uniformly to refuse to apply it to issues of moral scruple such as social drinking. This illustrates, for me, the poverty of their view. In receiving a social drinker without casting judgment upon their opinions, I am NOT saying that I agree that what they are doing is right. I am only acknowledging that the matter is between them and God, and that I can have fellowship with them even though I do not agree with them. This does not make it a 'matter of indifference.' If matters very much whether that person is persuaded in their own mind that their actions abound to the glory of God and to the honor of the Lord. I see this as no different than accepting in fellowship someone who differs over the war issue."
can only surmise that one reason for resisting my view here is because some do not want to admit that they have no business judging other in certain matters in which they are prone to do so. Such as social drinking. Smoking. Mixed Swimming. Gambling. Etc. What distinguishes each and every one of these serious moral questions is that the judgments we make are based upon human reasoning and inference, not upon direct statements of divine judgment in scripture."
I will be the first to admit that whether a particular kind of sexual activity falls into the category of 'porneia" may itself involve human judgment (I have in mind specifically sexual relations between the married, divorced, and remarried). But this is a judgment about what specific kinds of conduct constitute 'proneia.' It is not a judgment about whether 'porneia' is sin."
The Issue Is Not:
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