Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You Can’t Do That! - Introduction

You Can’t Do That! it’s Wrong!
At what point must a Biblical Christian modify his own behavior because someone else thinks that what he is doing is wrong?
I’m not talking about the black and white issues where God has clearly spoken… I’m talking about the “gray” areas that the Bible does not directly speak to. Sometimes, committed Christians study the same Bible, but come to completely opposite conclusions about the morality of a particular activity.
When that happens, does the one who doesn’t conclude that an activity is wrong have a moral obligation before God to refrain from that activity because the other believes that it is? There are three different options in response:
  1. Refrain completely, at all times.
  2. Refrain while that person’s presence.
  3. No obligation to refrain at all.
Of course, one may decide to refrain out of deference to someone else, or to avoid conflict, but that is at the sole option of the individual, and not a matter of moral obligation.
Doesn’t the Bible Teach Us to Do That?
Well… that is the question… Does the Bible teach us to refrain from certain behaviors around others whose beliefs about right and wrong differ?
And, like many questions, the answer is, “It depends.” If it truly is a “gray issue,” then the answer to what a Biblically faithful believer must do is dependent upon the context and the people involved.
Interestingly enough, the Bible IS pretty clear about what our response should be, depending on the various people and contexts. Or to put it another way… The Bible is black and white about “gray areas”!
The problem arises when someone tries to enforce their own views about gray areas upon others. Is there any Biblical justification for that? 
That question is my real target for this series of posts. In the process of answering it, I will show what the Bible really teaches on the topic I raised above.
The Passages in Question
I will be addressing three primary Scriptural commands that are frequently used by some to impose their own view of “gray areas” on others:
The “Appearance of Evil”
1 Thes. 5:22 (KJV) “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
The “Weaker Brother” (Causing to Stumble & Giving “Offense”)
Romans 14 (NASB) “It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.” (v21)
1 Cor. 8 (NASB)
“But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (v9)
For “Conscience’ Sake” (Meat offered to Idols)
1 Cor. 10:23-33 (NASB)
“But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake;” (v28)
These are the passages that are frequently misinterpreted and misapplied.
If we desire to be truly Biblical Christians, we need to avoid that mistake.
— Matthew Neal
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In this Series:
You Can’t Do That! - Introduction
You Can’t Do That! - The “Appearance of Evil”
You Can’t Do That! – the “Weaker Brother” (Part 1)
You Can’t Do That! – the “Weaker Brother” (Part 2)
You Can’t Do That! – “For Conscience’ Sake”

3 comments:

Boyd Allen said...

Matt, I put a link to this article on my facebook account, CNC Email group, the CNC Forum and the BACN Forum on Network54. I hope to get this word out!

Great job!

Boyd

Matthew Neal said...

Thank you, Boyd.

— Matt

Anonymous said...

Great site! Please give us more. what are some "baby steps" we could take culturally and in our homes to open people's minds to this? It's not likely to change overnight. My wife is ticked at me for reading about this and being swayed in my opinion. I wish I could help her see how innocent this really is and how we fail to enjoy the fuller image of God readily available for viewing in the bodies of all shapes and sizes around us. We as Christians have been calling good as evil for a long long time.