Agreement and disagreement…

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Romans 14:1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 

This appears to be an instance where Paul is addressing a specific problem in the Roman church. It seems some Roman Christians were okay with eating anything while others ate only vegetables. Why? The more restrictive group didn’t want to accidentally eat meat that had been offered to idols – which was a common practice at the time. The sacrifice would be made then the meat of the animal given out or sold to the public. Paul counsels tolerance for both sides so that dietary restrictions would not split the church. Earlier in the New Testament we’ve read about disagreement among Christians related to circumcision and other practices.

Christians consistently find things to argue about.

In recent decades Christians have had strong disagreement about many things including the roles of women in the church, dealing with human sexuality, celebrating communion via the Internet, and more. Paul counsels flexibility in non-essential things, while defending our core beliefs – like Jesus crucified and risen. It’s one reason why I appreciate the creeds of the church. These statements of faith, which are usually recited during worship services, clarify the essential beliefs of the faith allowing the disagreement on non-essentials.

Lord Jesus make us one as you, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one. Amen.

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