Issues of Conscience

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Issues of Conscience

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roast meat

The Bible describes with clarity many responsibilities of believers in the contexts of government and society. Still in some areas believers are not given specific instructions, and instead must rely on applying general biblical principles to contemporary challenges. For example, Paul mandates without compromise that the Roman believers should pay the taxes required of them (Rom. 13:7), but when it comes to eating meat sacrificed to idols, Paul gives the Corinthians options (1 Cor. 8-10).

Pagan temples in first-century Corinth often included animal sacrifice. Even beyond the temples themselves, the marketplace was well represented with meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Consequently, the issue of whether a believer should eat such meat became an iconic cultural problem for the Corinthian church. Each era and context presents its own unique challenges. Every culture encounters, From time to time, moral issues so complex as to defy simple solutions. Still, in each and every instance, despite any level of complexity, these challenges can be answered appropriately by biblical principles. But before one can correctly apply a general principle to a specific situation, the person must understand the principle. Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians is helpful, as he explains the principles and their grounding so that the believers at Corinth could apply them well, and in so doing could maintain clear consciences.

Paul recognizes that even though the meat issue was a cultural hot potato, essentially it really wasn’t a significant issue at all. Because there is no God but one (1 Cor. 8:4), and because through Christ all things have their existence (1 Cor. 8:6), Paul and the Corinthians could have certain knowledge that at its core, the sacrificed meat issue was no issue at all. Food would not commend them to God (1 Cor. 8:8). Nonetheless, Paul warns against pride, contrasting it with edification (1 Cor. 8:1). The moral issue in play was not about an essential wrongness of eating sacrificed meat. There simply was no essential wrongness. Rather, the issue to which the Corinthian believers needed to be attentive was that of edifying or building up brothers in Christ (1 Cor. 8:1, 9-13). Paul provides and illustrates in 1 Corinthians 10:23-32 several principles to that end.

First, “All things are lawful (or possible), but not all things are profitable” (1 Cor. 10:23). All things that are not restricted are permitted. Where there is no regulation given in Scripture, there is freedom for the believer. This is one reason Paul wants the Corinthians to “learn not to exceed what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6). To place a heavier yoke on people than the Bible places on people results in pride—which is a tremendously destructive form of idolatry. Not only does pride tear down rather than build up, but ultimately, it is in conflict with God’s doxological purpose (His purpose of glorifying Himself—or expressing His own character).

Second, “All things are lawful (or possible), but not all things edify” (1 Cor. 10:23). The Greek term (sumphero) translated here as profitable means to bring together, and the term translated edify (oikodomeo) means to house-build, or build up. The second term explains the scope of the first. In other words, what is profitable or bringing together is that which house-builds or builds up. In this context, what is profitable for believers is that which builds up.

Third, “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor” (1 Cor. 10:24). The word good is not in the Greek text, rather it has been added by the translators to help clarify the meaning of the passage. I think the passage is better translated without the word (“Let no one seek his own, but that of his neighbor”), because it causes the reader to ask, ‘Let no one seek his own what?’ Rather than assuming the good without realizing its specific definition in this context, the reader should be drawn to the word edify. This is not referencing general good, as in saying we may not pursue good for ourselves, rather it is referencing specific good in terms of building up. Paul speaks in universal terms of all believers (“Let no one…”), and mandates that we should seek the building up of our neighbor. As Paul references the concept of building up elsewhere (e.g., 2 Cor. 10:8, 13:10; Eph. 4:12, 16), it is evident he is speaking in terms of spiritual growth.

We should be attentive to the spiritual needs of others, basing our decisions, where we have freedom, not on our own growth but on the growth of others. Paul restates this in 1 Corinthains 10:33, noting that he seeks not his own profit (sumphoron), but the profit of many. There are obviously many specific biblical directions regarding how we are to attend to our own spiritual growth, so we are certainly not to ignore our own spiritual growth and building up. But in cases where we have options, we should look for the benefit of others.

Next, Paul illustrates in 1 Corinthians 10:25-30 the above three principles in action, applying them to the specific situation at hand. Eat and don’t ask questions—it doesn’t matter if the meat is sacrificed or not. The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains (10:26)—all things belong to Him, even if an item has been misappropriated by one to whom it had been given. Further, even when interacting with unbelievers, there is still no issue. Only when it is made an issue by someone perceiving that there is an issue (10:28), the believer should act in consideration of that person. In other words, the believer—seeking the good of the other, rather than the good of his own—should be sensitive and attentive to the (spiritual, in this context) needs of others.

Finally, Paul announces the highest order principle: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:32). His words here accomplish two important purposes. First, by adding the phrase “or whatever you do,” he shows that the principles he is discussing are relevant for every area of life and not just for the occasion at hand. Believers are not at liberty to compartmentalize areas of our lives—employing one set of principles for our spiritual endeavors and a whole different set for our societal and political ones. Paul shows us here that all of our actions are to be governed by the same principles. Secondly—and most importantly—he reminds the reader of the ultimate purpose for every action in the believer’s life: God’s glory. The glory of God is God’s purpose, and it is to be ours as well. If our thoughts, words and deeds do not pass the doxological test, then they need to be changed.

We should seek not what is permissible, but what is profitable. What is profitable is that which builds up. That which builds up others rather than ourselves, on issues of conscience, is the focus of these principles. These principles are applicable not just to what we eat, but to every area of life. In every area of life our divinely mandated goal is to glorify God.

Where the Bible offers no specific direction, it still answers every situation we can possibly encounter, bidding us to apply these principles comprehensively and faithfully. If we are diligent to that end, we will not lack for confidence or be burdened with uncertainty in discerning whether or not our actions are appropriate for the occasion.

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Any similar issues today?

Thank you for this article. It is a good reminder to seek God's glory over our own.

I would love to see these principles applied to issues that face us in these current times. 

Perhaps, since we just left Christmas, the issue of Santa Claus. Some believe he is from Satan; others believe he's not. If we follow this quote:

Quote:
Only when it is made an issue by someone perceiving that there is an issue (10:28), the believer should act in consideration of that person. In other words, the believer—seeking the good of the other, rather than the good of his own—should be sensitive and attentive to the (spiritual, in this context) needs of others.

no Christian anywhere should participate in any way with Santa because nearly every group of believers -- in person or in our social networks -- has someone who believes Santa does not edify.

I'm not trying to argue Santa/no Santa. I'm trying to understand how these principles that we hear over and over (seek to glorify God, seek others' spiritual growth over your own, etc.) play out in ANY situation that is significant to Christians today. I'd love to hear others' thoughts.

Smile

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I have the same question Michelle has

Somewhere out in Fundydom there are Christians who are:

  • Against beards (I have one)
  • Against women wearing slacks (pants) …my wife wears them
  • Going to movies (I attend about once a year but watch a movie on TV / DVD / Streaming about once a week

So if there is a Christian out there who is offended … I am to echew these? At what point do we say … you’re different from me … get over it!?

As an aside … probably all are aware of the very cute video - What does the Fox say? My daugther who attends graduate school in Boston (MIT) told me over Christmas that the Harvard medical students did one like it called What does the Spleen do? A friend from way back who is in her 80’s saw my FB posting and was bothered by it. I would say she was offended (by her comments to me)

 

 

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Also comes up with issues of drinking

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Issue of Drinking

~Reasons Drinking is Wrong

1.  Scripture directly speaks against alcohol. 
Proverbs 23:29-35 describes alcoholic wine, and says not to even look at it.
Proverbs 20:1 directly calls alcohol a mocker and brawler.
1 Peter 5:8: 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; 2 Timothy 4:5 command us to be sober. 

2.  The Bible says those deceived by wine are not wise (Proverbs 20:1). 
We are commanded to be wise (Ephesians 5:15; etc.).   

3.  The Bible teaches us to guard our influence and not to lead others astray. 

4.  Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20).  Alcohol weakens and destroys that body. 

5.  The Bible says you are to love God with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).  Our minds are altered and damaged by alcohol. 

6.  The law of love teaches us not to drink (Romans 14:19, 21; 1 Corinthians 8:9).  Don’t be a stumbling block to others. 

7.  Scripture proclaims us kings and priests (1 Peter 2:5-9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10).  Kings are not to drink lest they pervert justice (Proverbs 31:4-5).  

8.  Priests were commanded not to drink during their duties so that they could distinguish between what is holy and unholy (Leviticus 10:8-10). 
A Christian today is a priest (1 Peter 2:5-9). 

9.  God commended the Rechabites for not drinking wine (Jeremiah 35). 

10.  Don’t abuse your Christian liberty (1 Corinthians 8:9; 10:23).

11.  The Bible often gives the appalling results of alcohol.  Scripture clearly relates the terrible consequences of Noah, Lot, and others getting drunk. 

12.  Is it biblical for a believer to support the alcohol industry that has wrecked so many homes and lives? 

13.  Drinking is expensive.  By not drinking you can save a lot of money that you can use for more noble purposes. 

14.  Biblical wisdom and truth would compel us to recognize the incredible damage alcohol does to society. 

15.  About one out of nine drinkers becomes a problem drinker. Dangerous odds. 

16.  From the overall teaching of the Bible, do you really believe God condones the recreational use of a mind altering, dangerous drug? 

17.  Countless lives have been saved from ruin by teaching abstinence from alcohol.  Not drinking is safe, and it is wise. 

18.  The Bible teaches self denial, not selfish gratification (Matthew 16:24). 

The biblical words for wine were generic, referring to both alcoholic and nonalcoholic wine; you distinguish them by their context.  And, ancient people could easily preserve nonalcoholic wine and had it available throughout the year. 

David R. Brumbelow

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@Dave

I find your arguements only partially valid:

  1. Re drunkenness …. agreed (see my chart above). Re use of Proverbs … I think you miss the point of the Proverbs genre and make it universally applicable. 
  2. Agreed but I don’t view moderate drinking as being deceived or unwise
  3. Agreed but how is one leading another astray if he drinks in moderation? Or enjoys in private
  4. Agreed on temple but disagree that drinking in moderation destroys the body
  5. Agree on 1st point but disagreed that drinking in moderation “Our minds are altered and damaged by alcohol”
  6. Basically half agree with you on this. My point is that if one eschews drinking in presense of those who would stumble … it is not a stumbling block. Take yourself -  I doubt if someone had a drink in your presense that it would entice you to drink. (Consider how many teetotalers will eat at a restaurant (say and Applebees) where someone at the next table is having a beer!)
  7. A stretch on application of kings and priests in my view
  8. Ditto
  9. Agreed that they were commended … but a stretch in application 
  10. Yup agreed. But see comments above about not causing others to stumble. I’ve been at relatives homes (even this holiday season) where many others are drinking. I did not stumble by viewing their drinking
  11. Agreed on results of alcohol abuse
  12. Disagreed that the industry causes alcohol abuse. As an aside many in England considered the development of Guiness to be a good thing for the culture. See The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World
  13. Many things are expensive: steak, Iphones, nice cars. 
  14. Agree … see point 11
  15. 8 of 9 do not. Those who drink in moderation are a relative good testimony to those who do not
  16. Point of disagreement: I don’t view drinking in moderation as a “ a mind altering, dangerous drug”
  17. I view the teaching of total abstinence as adding to the gospel message. People are saved by wearing seat belts too but we haven’t glommed that onto the message of the church (I don’t think I’ve heard one message about that!)
  18. I don’t view drinking in moderation as “selfish gratification” any more than I view having a bowl of Häagen-Dazs (I am anticipating a response that Peet says drinking is no more dangerous than a bowl of ice cream … but that is not my point! (in context))

My conclusions:

  • Drinking in moderation issue is at best a conviction and is tertiary (see chart below)
  • I don’t advocate that Christians drink
  • I think in most cases it is best for people not to drink
  • But I don’t press my opinion upon others

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scandalizo - to cause to sin

Jim wrote:
So if there is a Christian out there who is offended ... I am to echew these? At what point do we say ... you're different from me ... get over it!?

The word in 1 Cor 8.13 is a verb meaning 

properly, to put a stumbling-block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall; to be a stumbling-block; in the N. T. always metaphorically, (R.  V. to cause or make to stumble; A. V. to offend (cause to offend)); a. to entice to sin ... [Thayer]

The NAU translates: Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

The idea is doing something that emboldens another to sin (including to sin against his own conscience), not merely to get his feelings hurt or his convictions transgressed.

I think the original article largely misses the point of 1 Cor 8-10, but I don't have time to really deal with it. Briefly, Paul is prohibiting what he describes in 1 Cor 8, eating meat in the idol's temple. He does this for three reasons: the weakness of the brother (ch 8), the worth of the gospel (ch 9), and the wickedness of the heart (ch 10). When you get to the conclusion of the argument, he absolutely prohibits the activity: 1 Cor 10.14-22. He wants them to flee from idolatry.

Then he makes two concessions: eating meat purchased in the marketplace is permissable, just don't ask, don't tell. And eating at an unbelievers home is permissable, unless the unbeliever brings up the fact that it is idol meat, then don't. The over-riding principle is flee from idolatry.

There are some specific parallels in our culture (eating at some Chinese restaurants for example, if they have a little Buddha set out front with food offerings in front of it). But there are no doubt more serious applications that we should consider. I don't really see alcohol as one of them, even though my adamant opposition to alcohol is well known. I don't use this passage as my main argument against it, although the principles of causing a brother to stumble and testimony (ch 10), certainly are applicable.

FWIW

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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guinness

Jim wrote:
As an aside many in England considered the development of Guiness to be a good thing for the culture. See The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World

Why is the Kindle edition more expensive than the paperback!

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

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The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof

On the drinking issue and others, I wonder if Paul would come in and say "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. Game, set and match." To most of us that's a surprising verse that we wouldn't have thrown into the meat offered to idols debate, but Paul did. What else is out there that we just simply miss because of our own cultural blinders? 

But then he goes beyond the easily winnable argument (which I think the alcohol debate is on the allowing consumption side) and tells us what to do if others don't get it. . . yet. I have a feeling that Paul wouldn't want the weaker brother to remain in weakness. He wants him to grow up into Christ and be taught the full range of scripture. The role of the weaker brother should be a temporary one, but I'm afraid we've structured our churches and Christian culture to allow for permanent weaker brothers with no view to helping them grow out of weakness into strength. I could be wrong on the alcohol issue being easy, clearly reading the comments in this site for a few years, it's not obvious to many. But on a host of other issues, what are the rest of you thinking in terms of a permanent weaker brother? At some point you have to say "grow up" and to not grow up is sin if it's a clear issue.

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Alcohol, Marijuana, and Wisdom

~Anyone here rejoicing because Christians can now legally enjoy marijuana, another mind altering recreational drug, in Colorado?
After all, if the drug alcohol can be biblically enjoyed, why not other drugs like marijuana? 
Wonder what kind of testimony a Christian smoking marijuana presents? 

Yes, God made marijuana; He also made poison mushrooms.  Perhaps we should use the wisdom and Scriptural principles God gave us. 

The wise thing to do is stay away from both alcohol and marijuana. 

It is interesting that some who have never tried marijuana before, will now try it, simply because it’s legal. 
We should always remember just because something is legal, does not mean it is moral. 
David R. Brumbelow

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David R. Brumbelow wrote:

David R. Brumbelow wrote:

...

Yes, God made marijuana; He also made poison mushrooms.  ...

Yes, God made them, but He did not make them toxic.  The incursion of sin into the world is responsible for that, as it is for all that causes death and misery (Gen. 3).  And, yes, that would include the toxin we call beverage alcohol.

I understand that toxins have their uses in a sin-cursed world.  If penicillin wasn't toxic to bacteria the susceptibility of humans to various sicknesses would be exponentially greater.  But the fact that there is a toxic effect and that bacteria is actually killed, regardless of how useful, should only remind us of a sinful world bathed by the grace of God. "...Death [is] by sin...."

Lee

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Lee,

Lee,

I don't think you can argue toxicity is a result of the fall. If creation ended after the 7th day (practically speaking the 6th day) then something new was not created after the fall. Fermentation is a natural process, and toxins are a natural biological ingredient of many parts of creation. If you are going to argue the mushroom wasn't toxic until after the fall, are you likewise going to argue the snake wasn't venomous until after the fall? You stretch the application of death beyond its biblical intention.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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The same?

David R. Brumbelow wrote:

~Anyone here rejoicing because Christians can now legally enjoy marijuana, another mind altering recreational drug, in Colorado?
After all, if the drug alcohol can be biblically enjoyed, why not other drugs like marijuana? 
Wonder what kind of testimony a Christian smoking marijuana presents? 

Yes, God made marijuana; He also made poison mushrooms.  Perhaps we should use the wisdom and Scriptural principles God gave us. 

The wise thing to do is stay away from both alcohol and marijuana. 

It is interesting that some who have never tried marijuana before, will now try it, simply because it’s legal. 
We should always remember just because something is legal, does not mean it is moral. 
David R. Brumbelow

I agree we are going to have to more carefully explain and plan on dealing with a lot more Christian pot usage, but I don't think wine etc. is quite the same discussion.  I don't drink, but on a few occasions in my life I've had wine with dinner (once when a couple invited me to dinner so I could share the Gospel with them. It was natural for them to have wine with dinner and I didn't want to cause unnecessary offense. I partook).  I didn't notice any effect whatsoever.  There is no "high" from moderate use of alchohol.  Whatever people like about it, it's not a buzz.  Pot has only the purpose of getting high, so it is a "deed of the flesh" (Gal 5:20).   Moderate drinkers know they are not trying to get high, so it loses credibility when we tell them they are.  Whatever case we want to make, we should be careful not to misrepresent things.

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Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Lee,

I don't think you can argue toxicity is a result of the fall. If creation ended after the 7th day (practically speaking the 6th day) then something new was not created after the fall. Fermentation is a natural process, and toxins are a natural biological ingredient of many parts of creation. If you are going to argue the mushroom wasn't toxic until after the fall, are you likewise going to argue the snake wasn't venomous until after the fall? You stretch the application of death beyond its biblical intention.

"Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee...[Gen. 3:18]."  Is this not indicative that something that was unknown before the fall is now a part of everyday life?  If not a new creation then most certainly an adaptation so radical as to be a de facto new creation?  It is very reasonable to presume that toxicity was unknown prior to the fall, as was decay as we recognize it today. Furthermore, there is absolutely no reason to try to find toxicity as part of a "good" creation in the deathlessness of the time preceding the fall. I cannot comprehend life without any form of death. But I have all confidence that Scripture indicates that physical death at every level as we understand it was not a part of creation, and will not exist in the new creation, and that what Scripture said was/is so.    

Lee

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Not necessary, edifying, unifying, and potentially enslaving

Wayne,

Since one can drink of the fruit of the vine without alcohol today, there is no reason for the drinking of alcohol other than a legitimate medical need that may occur.  Alcohol has historically been used as both an anasthetic and antispetic, though there are better, more effective medicines for those purposes today.  Those who justify the recreational use of alcohol are going to have a difficult time refuting the recreational use of moderate amounts of marijuana.  Brumbelow is right on target. I don't know if a few puffs on a joint would alter my state of mind, but out of principle I would not do so unless it was medically necessary.  Personally, I don't think smoking joints would help me medically either.  More than likely, there are other drugs that could do a better job combatting nausea or vertigo and thereby avoid the stigma smoking joints.  Alcohol as a beverage is not necessary today, not edifying, not unifying, and potentially very addictive and enslaving.  Most people drink alcohol because it does give them a buzz to varying degrees.  Ted Williams, the famous hitter for the Red Sox, said he would not drink anything stronger than a milkshake, because he didn't want alcohol to impair his judgment in hitting a 95 mph fastball.  Our motivation to be fully sober is much higher than hitting a fastball.  If out of principle you want to tell your children and congregation not to use mind altering drugs for recreational purposes, then it is best not to drink alcohol at all for those purposes.

Pastor Mike Harding

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You seem to possess an uncanny perception of others' motives

 

Mike Harding:Most people drink alcohol because it does give them a buzz to varying degrees. 

 

You seem to possess an uncanny perception of others’ motives for having a glass of wine with pasta or a beer with pizza. 

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How about some honesty in the discussion

How about some honesty in the discussion:

  • The total abstinence position is US-centric and recent 
  • Many people drink … many don’t do it to “get buzzed”. It’s a preference.
  • The majority Christian position is not “total abstinence”
  • A drink with a meal or drinking in moderation really is not toxic and really doesn’t “alter the brain” (as Brumbulow continues to insist)
  • The majority fundy position is really about enforcing one’s values upon others. 
  • Total absintence is not clearly presented at all in either testament. That’s why it is still a debatable issue
  • Total abstintence is not core doctrine - not even close
  • For any mature Christian who “stumbles” at another drinking - you probably are not as mature as you think. The consitent position if that offends you is to completely eschew any restaurant or establishment that sells or serves alcholic beverages - including most non-fast food restaurants and most grocery stores
  • I personally know Christians who drink in moderation and are very careful to not serve wine at table or provide beer at any hospitality event in their home where they perceive anyone would be offended (eg my sister in law who has a sister who is a recovering alcoholic)
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Jim,

Jim,

I am sure you remember the CT article posted a few days ago where the author who works for a Christian magazine essentially argued that is why she and nearly all of her colleagues drank alcohol.  Non-alcoholic wines and beers exist today, but they are not that popular.  Alcohol itself does not taste very good, though I am sure people can develop a taste for it much like they develop a taste for cigarettes.  Since I was practically raised in bars as a kid and went to hundreds of drinking events growing up, I have seen enough to convince me that the predominant motivation for drinkers is the varied inebriating effects that alcohol brings.  I do not drink on account of a personal conviction that I formed as a young man.  I personally saw alcohol destroy hundreds of people, their lives and careers, their homes, marriages, reputations, as well as people in my own immediate and extended family while growing up.  Can one develop a taste for alcohol?  Yes, perhaps so, but it is a taste that ususally has to be developed by repeated use. I personally spoke to an alcoholic teenager a week ago who has had six car accidents, two DUI's, and a ruined life.  She grew up in a Christain home, graduated from a Christian school, and then started drinking when she was 18 and quickly became an alcoholic.  She told me she loved the taste of alcohol, so I guess it is possible to have mixed motives on the matter.

Pastor Mike Harding

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@Mike

Who said: “ I personally saw alcohol destroy hundreds of people, their lives and careers, their homes, marriages, reputations, as well as people in my own immediate and extended family while growing up.”

Response:

  • I’m not sure if I’ve seen hundreds … but I’ve seen people who have destroyed their lives with drink … so we are on the same  page there. 
  • About anecdotes .. “the young Christian woman who took the first drink .. et cetera” - Ted Williams … (well then you have Micky Mantel and “the Babe” who were well-known drunks and managed to do Ok .. 
  • Everyone gets anecdotes … they are moralistic stories that serve as warnings. And they are valuable. 
  • I’m not arguing “drink!” - I am argueing that the tee-total position is not historic … it is not globally universal among believers … and it is not even settled doctrine  among Christians (I mean Christians who really hold the Bible up as authoritative). (Mike … would you at least iteract with this bullet point)
  • How is it that the tee-total positon has become so centric to fundamentlist thought?! There’s a lot of bad things in the world (among even those who call themselves fundamentalists): Eg obesity … driving fast (how many stories have I heard about young adultts driving at 80 mph to get home for the holidays from Bible college!) … how is it that that we allowed the prohibiiton movedment to meld with the gospel?! Or the Republican party for that matter? Or anti-union sentiment

By the way … I really hope that when you preach against drinking that you maximize the exegesis and minimize the anecdotes. 

I just don’t see prohibition taught clearly at all. While the tee-totaller positon is noble I don’t see it as Biblically taught

 

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My family vs your family and drinking

For Mike (not denying your story!)

For the Peet (father’s side) - Hayward (mother’s side) … virtually all adults in my family line drank (many are deceased) or drink. At family reunions beer was readily present. Ditto weddings and other events. I can’t say I ever saw anyone drunk and there are no alcholiics in my family. Religion: Methodists, Presbyterians, & some (limited) Baptists

My in-laws: my wife’s siblings (all drink … most Catholics … no drunkenness or alcholism). My sister and her family - Lutherans & Methodists: All drink: wine, mixed drinks, beer … no alcoholics or issues with drunkeness. 

Summary: My extended family views drunkenness as shameful, does not abuse alcohol, and drinks in moderation. There are some Christians in there too.

–— Update - just remembered this ––-

One of the grandsons of a cousin had an issue (as a teen) with sniffing gas(oline). No one in our family advocated giving up gas powered vehicles!

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Thanks Dr. Cone.

Don Johnson wrote:
...

I think the original article largely misses the point of 1 Cor 8-10, but I don't have time to really deal with it. Briefly, Paul is prohibiting what he describes in 1 Cor 8, eating meat in the idol's temple. He does this for three reasons: the weakness of the brother (ch 8), the worth of the gospel (ch 9), and the wickedness of the heart (ch 10). When you get to the conclusion of the argument, he absolutely prohibits the activity: 1 Cor 10.14-22. He wants them to flee from idolatry.

...

I think Don is right on this, though perhaps Dr. Cone just didn't choose to emphasize the other points. The points he does bring out are certainly there in the Text. 

Interestingly, even though I think Don is right, he and I won't agree on what that means for the overall discussion. 

Paul starts talking about convictions of conscience back in ch 6. He uses lots of examples to explain how we should think about convictions. Chapters 8 and 10, the subject of this article, deal with the example of eating idol-meat.

Jim gave us four view of alcohol. In the way, Paul gave us some views of idol-meat: Idol-Meat-Total-Abstainer, Idol-Meat-Total-Partaker.

We meet the Partaker in ch. 8. Note that he is really a total partaker. He even sits in the idol temple itselft and eats what is offered (1Co8:9-10). We also get to see his reasoning: The prohibition is against involvement or worship of "false gods." But ~nobody thinks of these idols as real - they are not really false gods and we are not worshipping them. Therefore, the "No False Gods" law doesn't apply. Finally, we should note the words that Paul uses for the Partaker: "with knowledge" - this knowledge that the partaker has is the reasoning I just gave for why the "No False Gods" law doesn't apply (vv. 4-6). The partaker is also 'strong' - or at least his counterpart is "weak" in conscience (v. 7).

We also meet the Abstainer in ch. 8. He does not have the same knowledge as the Partaker. Instead, he is convicted that idol-meat, eaten in the temple of the idol, amounts to exactly the type of thing that "No False Gods" prohibits. And come on, we have to admit that the Abstainer has a pretty good argument here. I mean, if the "No False Gods"  This calls into question what it means that the Partaker has "knowledge." This is often interpreted that the Partaker is smarter, or more knowledgable about how to follow God in the New Covenant. But look at ch. 10:1. As Don pointed out, in 1Co10:1-21 Paul is going to give us the full reasoning of the Abstainer. Note how Paul begins this section: "Οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν ἀδελφοί" ("Not-I want you to be without knowledge, brothers"). The table is now turned and it is the Partaker who needs knowledge - knowledge that the Abstainer is going to give him. And note how this section ends: "οὐ δύνασθε ποτήριον κυρίου πίνειν καὶ ποτήριον δαιμονίων" ("Not-strong you are to drink Lord's cup and to drink demon's cup"). Now the Partaker has to see that maybe he isn't as 'strong' as he thought he was.

This is the point where Don Johnson and I differ: I still see the partaker as "strong" in the sense that if he still feels "able" to eat in good conscience without feeling that he is honoring a false God, then Paul says he may still go into the temple and eat. (He still must take care not to encourage his "weak" brother to eat and fall into sin.) Don sees this as a series of arguments that all contribute to Paul's final verdict on idol-meat-in-temples: It's sin. The problem I have with Don's view is that in chapter 8 and similarly in Romans 14, the "strong" brother is the Partaker. For me, the "strong" is nothing more or less then the one with the conscience that is "able" to do something. The Greek word for strength and ability is the same. It may be the abilty to marry, drink wine, eat idol-meat, eat-street-bought-idol-meat, treat days alike, accept money for spritual work, or anything. And in both 1 Cor 8 and Romans 14 (15:1), Paul at least rhetorically associates himself with the "strong." 

So, in summary, my comment on Dr. Cone's paper is that he does a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of guarding the "weak" brother by not encouraging him to do what his conscience is unable to do. And he brings up a great point when he says that 1Co10:31 widens the scope of these issues to anything and everthing that we do. Even though we feel free to do something, we should always be willing to re-examine and ask if our conscience is really clear and we should continue to do it.

There is a very significant concept that Dr. Cone doesn't mention: Paul's encouragement in this passage for the development of convicitons. Sure, the weak can't eat and the strong can. But Paul makes a very forceful argument in 1Cor10:1-21 that the reader should take the conviction of the "weak" and avoid idol-meat in the temple. That idea (encouraging convicitons, even though it's "weakness") is also in Romans 14-15 and it doesn't get enough emphasis. 

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On the point of disagreement

Dan Miller wrote:

This is the point where Don Johnson and I differ: I still see the partaker as "strong" in the sense that if he still feels "able" to eat in good conscience without feeling that he is honoring a false God, then Paul says he may still go into the temple and eat. (He still must take care not to encourage his "weak" brother to eat and fall into sin.) Don sees this as a series of arguments that all contribute to Paul's final verdict on idol-meat-in-temples: It's sin. The problem I have with Don's view is that in chapter 8 and similarly in Romans 14, the "strong" brother is the Partaker. For me, the "strong" is nothing more or less then the one with the conscience that is "able" to do something. The Greek word for strength and ability is the same. It may be the abilty to marry, drink wine, eat idol-meat, eat-street-bought-idol-meat, treat days alike, accept money for spritual work, or anything. And in both 1 Cor 8 and Romans 14 (15:1), Paul at least rhetorically associates himself with the "strong." 

Dan, you are right, I see this as a unified argument, not two (or three) separate arguments. I see Paul as building his case towards his conclusion. I also see chapter 9 as part of the argument. The three chapters offer three reasons for coming to the final conclusion, don't eat the idol meat in the idol temple. Notice the concluding statements in each subsection: 1 Cor 8.13, 1 Cor 9.23, 1 Cor 9.26-27, and then finally the concluding section of 1 Cor 10 as mentioned above.

The issue is not simply eating the meat, per se, as Paul offers the two concessions at the end of ch. 10 showing how either strong or weak believers may be permitted to consume it. But when it is clearly identifiable as idol meat, especially by actually sitting down in the idol's temple to eat it, then the prohibition is absolute. Every chapter. He says, "don't eat it" each time.

I also don't see 1 Cor 8 as being parallel at all with Romans 14. The issue in 1 Cor 8 is very specific, Rm 14 is talking about being a vegetarian vs. a carnivore (I vote carnivore!!!), and the keeping of days (possibly the Lord's day) in one way or another. The idolatry connection is not in view in Rm 14. The only similarity is the terms, strong and weak, but I think the meaning of the terms is quite different in each passage.

~~~

To touch on the alcohol point, I think the phrase "drinking for the buzz" probably confuses the issue somewhat. Some people mean being "slightly drunk" by the term "buzz" while others probably mean this: a feeling that comes from alcohol consumption. Most people I have talked to about this issue say that they drink because alcohol makes them feel relaxed. They are drinking for the effect. They may not be drunk (though the definition of drunkenness is fairly elastic, depends on who is talking), but they are drinking for the feeling they get. I can't think of one person I have discussed this with where this isn't so.

I'm not really trying to debate the issue (it does get old after a while), but I think the discussion here is going along typical lines and this is one point where opposing sides seem to be talking past one another.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Don, 

Don, 

First, I uncharactaristically sincerely appreciate your last comment and find it very helpful. 

Can you go into detail about why you think Romans 14 doesn't have idolatry in view even in inference and cultural context, and why you think it's merely about vegitariansim, since its also about observence of Sabbaths and feast days. 

Shayne

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Don Johnson wrote:

Don Johnson wrote:

 

...

The issue is not simply eating the meat, per se, as Paul offers the two concessions at the end of ch. 10 showing how either strong or weak believers may be permitted to consume it. But when it is clearly identifiable as idol meat, especially by actually sitting down in the idol's temple to eat it, then the prohibition is absolute. Every chapter. He says, "don't eat it" each time.

I also don't see 1 Cor 8 as being parallel at all with Romans 14. ...

Excellent assessment.  One of the great disservices we do to the passages of I Cor. 8-10 in referencing the meat issue is ignoring its initial presentation as an absolute prohibition given by the elders at the Jerusalem council as they were specifically led by the Holy Spirit in the prohibition--"...For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from meats offered to idols...(Acts 15:28-29)"--a prohibition re-affirmed upon Paul's return to Jerusalem in Acts 21:25 some 2 years after his letter to Corinth. Furthermore, Jesus Christ Himself upheld the prohibition in His scathing reprimand of the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira in Rev. 2:14 & 20.

It is absolutely inconceivable that Paul, present at the conference and chosen messenger (letter carrier) of the original prohibition, would countermand himself in any way (and under inspiration) with the Corinthians only to re-join the rest of the elders in their assessment upon his return to Jerusalem.

 

Lee

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Shaynus wrote:

Shaynus wrote:

Don, 

First, I uncharactaristically sincerely appreciate your last comment and find it very helpful. 

Can you go into detail about why you think Romans 14 doesn't have idolatry in view even in inference and cultural context, and why you think it's merely about vegitariansim, since its also about observence of Sabbaths and feast days. 

Shayne

If you don't mind I'm gonna jump in here, not speaking for Don, of course.

There are 2 meat issues presented in Acts--chap 10 (the change  concerning clean and unclean meats); chap 15 ( meat offered to idols). There is no record of communication of the "new" truth of Acts 10 beyond Jerusalem in any organized manner to ensure that all churches were on the same page.  That mistake was not repeated with the prohibitions of Acts 15 as immediate steps to communicate the prohibitions thoroughly and efficiently were undertaken by the council.

I Cor. 6-10 is the clarification and application of Acts 15. Aptly, it was given to Corinth, a city where the idolatry of Aphrodite had permeated every aspect of society so much that basic commerce ("...sold in the shambles...") and customs ("...bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go...") were tainted by its practice.

Rom. 14 is the clarification and application of Acts 10.  There is every indication that the church of Rome, though considered a Gentile church, had a very strong Jewish influence.  The constant influx of Gentile believers from across the Roman empire into the church of Rome practicing the perceived liberty of eating all meats (clean or unclean) and not observing the holy days according to Jewish law/custom would provide the perfect backdrop for clarifying the truth that would afford unity to the church of Jesus Christ regardless of cultural influence.

Lee

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Rm 14 distinctions

Shaynus wrote:
Can you go into detail about why you think Romans 14 doesn't have idolatry in view even in inference and cultural context, and why you think it's merely about vegitariansim, since its also about observence of Sabbaths and feast days. 

NAU  Romans 14:1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.  2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.  3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.

I have to say I like Lee's answer, but a few more details...

The issue here is whether or not to eat meat at all. In 1 Cor 10, it was whether to eat meat offered to idols. Two different questions entirely.

NAU  Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.  6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

It is possible that the issue is feast days, but not necessarily so. It could be simply the idea of a "Christian Sabbath," i.e. Sunday observances. The language of the chapter doesn't seem to me to demand that the issue be Jewish feast days. I realize that I am probably in the minority in that opinion, but I am trying to not say more than the text says.

NAU  Romans 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

This is another difference between Rm 14 and 1Cor 8-10 ... In Rm 14, the issue is "regarding your brother with contempt." In 1 Cor 8-10, the issue is "eating meat offered to idols". Two different issues, two different solutions.

I hope that helps some.

 

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Don Johnson wrote:...

Don Johnson wrote:
...

Dan, you are right, I see this as a unified argument, not two (or three) separate arguments. I see Paul as building his case towards his conclusion.

...

But when it is clearly identifiable as idol meat, especially by actually sitting down in the idol's temple to eat it, then the prohibition is absolute. Every chapter. He says, "don't eat it" each time.

Right - Don has sent me his notes on 1 Cor 8-10 in the past. Don's view is interesting to me in that he honors the argument against temple-idol-meat that runs through this passage.

My quesiton for Don is: What about the fact that the one with "knowledge" is the temple-idol-meat partaker and the one with a "weak" conscience is the temple-idol-meat abstainer? Is knowledge not a good thing? Why would Paul call the guy he thinks is right "weak"?

Don Johnson wrote:
...I also don't see 1 Cor 8 as being parallel at all with Romans 14...
later...

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Unlimited Substitution?

Is there a limit to what we can substitute for "meat"? Music? Movies? White flour and sugar? Beards? Clothing styles? I've heard them all.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Ron Bean wrote:

Ron Bean wrote:

Is there a limit to what we can substitute for "meat"? Music? Movies? White flour and sugar? Beards? Clothing styles? I've heard them all.

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.

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Dan Miller wrote:

Dan Miller wrote:

Right - Don has sent me his notes on 1 Cor 8-10 in the past. Don's view is interesting to me in that he honors the argument against temple-idol-meat that runs through this passage.

Wow, my memory fades. Memory loss is a sign of something, but I forget what. I should say that my view of the passage is bolstered by Tom Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible and by Gordon Fee's commentary on 1 Corinthians. (Constable relies on Fee a good deal also.)

Dan Miller wrote:
My quesiton for Don is: What about the fact that the one with "knowledge" is the temple-idol-meat partaker and the one with a "weak" conscience is the temple-idol-meat abstainer? Is knowledge not a good thing? Why would Paul call the guy he thinks is right "weak"?

I believe that part of the problem in understanding the passage is the connotations in English of 'strong' and 'weak'. We think of strong as noble, high, informed, courageous, and weak as doubtful, wavering, unflattering, unattractive. But that is not how the words are used by Paul in 1 Corinthians, or, indeed, in Romans. They refer to the conscience of the believer. The strong-conscience believer is not troubled by any scruples about the item in question, the weak-conscience believer is sensitive to the matter and is stricken by pangs of conscience when put in a situation where he might likely violate it.

Neither strong nor weak = more or less spiritual. In fact, I think the weak in 1 Cor are more spiritual and the strong in Romans are more spiritual, because of the differing issues in question.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Ron Bean wrote:

Ron Bean wrote:

Is there a limit to what we can substitute for "meat"? Music? Movies? White flour and sugar? Beards? Clothing styles? I've heard them all.

Maybe not a limit but definite parameters.

In I Cor. the meat is associated with idolatry that is identifiable and which defines/permeates a culture at every level.  In Corinth it was the worship of Aphrodite; Ephesus worshipped Diana; etc.  The meat issue was two-fold involving objects (meat/temple) and actions (sit at meat). Regarding this idolatry even at the very fringe practice of meat offered the conclusion was clear--"Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils (I Cor. 10:21)."

Every culture and society is different and their idolatries are different. Therefore, the periphery of that idolatry that has permeated the identity and practice of that culture/society even to the level of basic commerce and custom will be different.  Identify the idolatry/idols and you can determine the meat issues. Observation: in scripture public nakedness/lewdness is almost always indicative of idolatry, first pictured in Ex. 32.

Rom. 14, on the other hand, is not referencing idolatry at all.  The issue there is limited to nouns--meat, days, etc.--and not actions.  It is referencing items of which there has been a definitive change of status.  The weak are those that are struggling with believing that this status has actually changed. "Him that is weak in [belief] receive...For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs."  It is not a spiritual weakness presented here but an application weakness.  It is exactly the reaction that Peter had when the initial change of status was given him in Acts 10.  And it is completely understandable--2000 years of inspired Scripture stating that certain meats were forbidden and certain days were holy.  This is the parameter for "meat" in Rom. 14.

 

Lee

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I am essentially following

I am essentially following the argumentation of Cranfield on Romans 14.  Cranfield does an excellent job laying out the options and settles on weak Jewish believers who had great difficulty making the transition from certain aspects of the Law which no longer applied--namely special days and dietary restrictions.  However, this was no small matter.  Mishandled, these matters could destroy their brethren and lead to apostasy.  Their weakness was in "the faith" not simply faith.  Eventually you want to lead those weak in the "the faith" to be strong in "the faith".  Essentially, Romans 14 is dealing with doctrinal matters.  1 Cor 8-10 is dealing with idolatry.  It is idol worship to eat meat sacrificed to idols while in the idol temples.  Violate this principle and it will lead to apostasy.  It is also wrong to eat meat sacrificed to idols in private settings when it could cause a brother to sin or even violate the expectations of unbelievers.  The difference between meat and wine is that there are no inherent properities in the meat that could inebriate, cloud one's moral or spiritual judgment, or loosen one's natural inhibitions.  This is why Paul cautions "not beside wine" (paroinos) or "not much wine" or "do not drink water only, but a little wine for your stomach's sake".  The alcoholic content in fermented wine and beer is a mocker and raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.  Some prinicples regarding the meat issue may apply to the alcohol issue, but they are not the same issues overall.

Pastor Mike Harding

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Rom14 = 1Cor8-10

Don Johnson wrote:
...

I believe that part of the problem in understanding the passage is the connotations in English of 'strong' and 'weak'. We think of strong as noble, high, informed, courageous, and weak as doubtful, wavering, unflattering, unattractive. But that is not how the words are used by Paul in 1 Corinthians, or, indeed, in Romans. They refer to the conscience of the believer. The strong-conscience believer is not troubled by any scruples about the item in question, the weak-conscience believer is sensitive to the matter and is stricken by pangs of conscience when put in a situation where he might likely violate it.

Neither strong nor weak = more or less spiritual. In fact, I think the weak in 1 Cor are more spiritual and the strong in Romans are more spiritual, because of the differing issues in question.

Wow - we have so much agreement. I think that what you said here is vital to understanding both passages (1 Cor 8-10 and Rom 14-15). In both these passages, Paul is to some extent promoting weakness.
Don Johnson wrote:
...I also don't see 1 Cor 8 as being parallel at all with Romans 14. The issue in 1 Cor 8 is very specific, Rm 14 is talking about being a vegetarian vs. a carnivore (I vote carnivore!!!), and the keeping of days (possibly the Lord's day) in one way or another. The idolatry connection is not in view in Rm 14. The only similarity is the terms, strong and weak, but I think the meaning of the terms is quite different in each passage.
That there is a parallel with Romans 14 is, I think, obvious. Perhaps this question deserves a thread of its own. 

Terms and use:
Strong and weak - In both passages Paul uses these terms to refer to ability and inability to do certain things.
What things?
Both passages involve eating meat. Don sees a difference, though. R14 says the weak is vegetarian. 1Cor8 doesn't say he's a vegetarian - only that he avoids idol-meat. I still think both passages are talking about idol-meat, but for now I want to list things that are obviously parallel.
Both passages acknowledge that the "strong" has the right to partake.
R14:6,16
1Cor 8:9 "this liberty (ἐξουσία) of yours" 
The act of giving thanks validates one's position.
R14:6 "The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God"
1Cor10:30 "If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?"
(This also shows up in 1Tim4:1-5, which speaks of the conscience, marriage, and eating.)
The weak will tend to blaspheme the strong and their actions:
R14:"Let not then your good be evil spoken of (βλασφημείσθω)"
1Cor10:30 "why am I evil spoken of (βλασφημοῦμαι) for that for which I give thanks"
Both passages indicate risk of a fall into sin or apostasy on the part of the "weak."
R14:20-21 "Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble."
1Cor8:11-13 "And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."
There is a significant call to the strong to give up their rights to promote fellowship:
R14:17-22 "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God."
R15:1-2 "We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up."
1Cor (see the opening post article)

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parallels or not?

Well, it is true that there are parallels. I don't have time to go in depth on this right now, but I am preaching through Romans. This Sunday will finish up Rm 11, I left a few verses to "review" and get a running start into Rm 12 after our Christmas series in Isa 53. At the pace that I go, it will probably be eight months to a year before I get to Romans 14! ... although 12/13 are relatively short, so who knows.

That doesn't mean I won't chime in here, but I don't really have time to go into depth on it.

Let me say this, though. It is undeniable that there are parallels, but that makes the distinctions all the more important. Is Paul saying the same thing in both passages? I don't think so, because of the distinctions. It would seem odd to repeat himself, for one thing, and the two churches were quite different so the issues being addressed were different, even though there are similarities.

 

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Mike Harding wrote:

Mike Harding wrote:

...Eventually you want to lead those weak in the "the faith" to be strong in "the faith".  ...

Couldn't disagree more.  The scripture is quite clear--"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."  Argumentation is an effort to change, and it could not be more clear: do not receive them with the idea of changing them (making them strong like me).  In this passage the weaker is NOT a lesser believer.  They are on par with the strong.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a believer following the dietary or feast laws of the OT if not for the purposes of salvation.  James makes that crystal clear in Acts 21:20 FF--"Thous seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:...Do therefore this that we say to thee...." Which Paul willingly complied with--the same Paul who unconditionally condemned those that would state keeping the law was necessary for salvation.

To determine that this person struggling with the status of diet, days, or whatever needs to become as "strong" as we  are is antithetic to the whole teaching of the passage.  It is pleasing ourselves.  "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." 

 

Lee

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Mike Harding wrote:I am

Mike Harding wrote:
I am essentially following the argumentation of Cranfield on Romans 14.  Cranfield does an excellent job laying out the options and settles on weak Jewish believers who had great difficulty making the transition from certain aspects of the Law which no longer applied--namely special days and dietary restrictions.  However, this was no small matter. 
...
The "weak" were Jews - I agree with Mike on that. The whole epistle to the Romans is dealing with Jew-Gentile difficulties. It should be expected, given the fact that this letter comes in a period after the return to Rome of the exiled Jews after the death of Claudius.

The examples given in R14 are meat and days. Are these Jewish? Certainly the Sabbath is a Jewish issue. But what about meat? Can we say with Mike Harding that "Jewish believers who had great difficulty making the transition from certain aspects of the Law which no longer applied" if the issue was vegetarianism? Did Kosher Law require vegetarianism? Well, no, not exactly. But if the meat was tainted by idolatry, then it was prohibited. 

Daniel 1:8-16 "But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. ... 11 Then Daniel said,... “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables."

Note that there is a problem for Mike Harding with this, though. IF R14 meat-abstinence in Jewish, THEN it is because of idolatry. IF it is related to idolatry, THEN it isn't simply about ham. Peter's vision (Acts 10-"Kill and eat") does nothing to free up the "weak" meat-avoider.

This isn't about dietary laws - it's about Shema and the 1st of the Decalogue. Those are not things that are part of "the transition from certain aspects of the Law which no longer applied."

Since the weak is vegetarian, he cannot be objecting on a Jewish basis unless his issue is idol-association. The issue in Rome was exactly the issue in Corinth. Idol-tainted meat.

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Lee wrote:

Lee wrote:

 

Mike Harding wrote:

 

...Eventually you want to lead those weak in the "the faith" to be strong in "the faith".  ...

 

 

Couldn't disagree more.  The scripture is quite clear--"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."  Argumentation is an effort to change, and it could not be more clear: do not receive them with the idea of changing them (making them strong like me).  In this passage the weaker is NOT a lesser believer.  They are on par with the strong.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a believer following the dietary or feast laws of the OT if not for the purposes of salvation.  James makes that crystal clear in Acts 21:20 FF--"Thous seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:...Do therefore this that we say to thee...." Which Paul willingly complied with--the same Paul who unconditionally condemned those that would state keeping the law was necessary for salvation.

To determine that this person struggling with the status of diet, days, or whatever needs to become as "strong" as we  are is antithetic to the whole teaching of the passage.  It is pleasing ourselves.  "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." 

 

Lee,

It doesn't say not to argue or attempt to pursuade; it says not to quarrel. The topic of the quarrel is "doubtful disputations." These are disputable matters, literally quarrals about opinions (according to the Bible Knowledge Commentary) or underdeveloped thoughts (MacArthur). It's not that we cannot seek to purseude, but that we should not sit in judgement over trivia.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

Lee wrote:

 

 

Mike Harding wrote:

 

...Eventually you want to lead those weak in the "the faith" to be strong in "the faith".  ...

 

 

Couldn't disagree more.  The scripture is quite clear--"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."  Argumentation is an effort to change, and it could not be more clear: do not receive them with the idea of changing them (making them strong like me).  In this passage the weaker is NOT a lesser believer.  They are on par with the strong.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a believer following the dietary or feast laws of the OT if not for the purposes of salvation.  James makes that crystal clear in Acts 21:20 FF--"Thous seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:...Do therefore this that we say to thee...." Which Paul willingly complied with--the same Paul who unconditionally condemned those that would state keeping the law was necessary for salvation.

To determine that this person struggling with the status of diet, days, or whatever needs to become as "strong" as we  are is antithetic to the whole teaching of the passage.  It is pleasing ourselves.  "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." 

 

 

Lee,

 

It doesn't say not to argue or attempt to pursuade; it says not to quarrel. The topic of the quarrel is "doubtful disputations." These are disputable matters, literally quarrals about opinions (according to the Bible Knowledge Commentary) or underdeveloped thoughts (MacArthur). It's not that we cannot seek to purseude, but that we should not sit in judgement over trivia.

Quarreling is an effort to change them to your opinion.  Not sure I'm seeing the difference.

Lee

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bit of a leap

Dan Miller wrote:

Since the weak is vegetarian, he cannot be objecting on a Jewish basis unless his issue is idol-association. The issue in Rome was exactly the issue in Corinth. Idol-tainted meat.

Between sentence 1 and sentence 2 in the quoted section.

Romans says nothing about idol-meat. You are reading that into the passage. It could be idol-meat, but it isn't specific, whereas the "vegetables only" is specific. And "vegetables only" is not the same as "no idol-meat".

I am also not certain that Romans is talking about Jew/Gentile issues in chapter 14. The terms aren't used. Paul isn't afraid of using the terms in the epistle, see chapter 11, for example, and throughout the book. Hence, I think the "Jewish factor" is read into chapter 14, not derived from it. We don't even know if the "days" that Rm 14 is talking about were Jewish days. The text doesn't say. It could be that they were, but it could also be that there was a dispute about how to keep Sunday, the Lord's day. The point is made generically, it can apply to any situation where people are disputing about days and despising those who hold the opposite view.

My argument is that we must approach the text with no assumptions and let the text inform us what it is talking about.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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The very term "weak" used by

The very term "weak" used by Paul in Romans 14 is not very complimentary.  "Weak" in regard to "the faith" is even less complimentary.  If these Jewish believers who were used to being under "the Law" had a difficult time understanding the new dispensation of grace and the church age, one would want them to come to a full understanding of that matter.  If they understood that issue as Paul did, then they would be strong in the faith whether or not they held on to some of the food restrictions or special days.  Paul was not pushing the weak to change their behavior, but hopefully by a full understanding of Romans and Galatians, they would have a better understanding of the new dispensation and realize that certain aspects of the Law were no longer necessary.  Paul did not want them to violate their religious conscience, but that does not infer that their consciences didn't need to be further educated.  Moo and Cranfield essentially argue this way as well as Snoeberger.  Though there are similarities between 1 Cor 8-10 and Romans 14, the basic problems are different.

 

 

Pastor Mike Harding

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Dan Miller wrote:

Dan Miller wrote:

 

...Since the weak is vegetarian, he cannot be objecting on a Jewish basis unless his issue is idol-association. The issue in Rome was exactly the issue in Corinth. Idol-tainted meat.

Idolatry isn't even mentioned in Romans after what, chap 2?  So Paul just pulled idol meat and who-knows-what days out of thin air 12 chapters later after a lengthy discussion of justification by faith, the purpose and place of the law, the Jew and the Gentile, etc.? 

You want to understand Rom. 14 go to Acts 21 and chronicle how Paul, the strong, puts the tenets of Rom. 14 into practice.

 

Lee

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Leap either way.

Don, if the issue was Jew-gentile, then OT food laws are not enough.

That leaves two possibilities:

1) It was a Jew-gentile issue and it was idol-meat.

2) It wasn't a Jew-gentile issue - instead, it was something else - Hellenistic Asceticism or something else.

But it could not be simply OT food laws, newly abrogated by Peter's vision and Mark 7.

I do not think that reading the meat issue as idol meat is a leap, expecially with OT histories like Daniel showing us idol-motivated foreign city vegetarianism by Jews. Hellenistic Asceticisim is more of a leap.

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Acts 18-21

Lee wrote:
Idolatry isn't even mentioned in Romans after what, chap 2?  So Paul just pulled idol meat and who-knows-what days out of thin air 12 chapters later after a lengthy discussion of justification by faith, the purpose and place of the law, the Jew and the Gentile, etc.?
Paul has been talking about all kinds of Jew-gentile issues through the book. In the last 3 chapters, he turns to outward practices and that means how the groups differ in how they think about things associated with idols. Theological...practical. I'm sorry, but I don't understand your "out of thin air" comment. You make it sound like a subject that is brought up without having been recently discussed is impossible.
My argument is that unclean meat (e.g., ham) is not enough to explain the vegetarianism in Romans 14. Moses did not require one to be vegetarian. All the meat is viewed as unclean by the weak brothers in Rome. That speaks of idol-association, which was a common reason for vegetarianism among Jews in foreign cities (e.g., Daniel). 
Lee wrote:
You want to understand Rom. 14 go to Acts 21 and chronicle how Paul, the strong, puts the tenets of Rom. 14 into practice.
YES! Especially since Paul wrote Romans during his stay at Corinth, which is in Acts 18, probably only weeks or months prior to the events of Acts 21.

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Dative of...

Mike Harding wrote:
The very term "weak" used by Paul in Romans 14 is not very complimentary.  "Weak" in regard to "the faith" is even less complimentary.  If these Jewish believers who were used to being under "the Law" had a difficult time understanding the new dispensation of grace and the church age, one would want them to come to a full understanding of that matter.  If they understood that issue as Paul did, then they would be strong in the faith whether or not they held on to some of the food restrictions or special days.  Paul was not pushing the weak to change their behavior, but hopefully by a full understanding of Romans and Galatians, they would have a better understanding of the new dispensation and realize that certain aspects of the Law were no longer necessary.  Paul did not want them to violate their religious conscience, but that does not infer that their consciences didn't need to be further educated.  Moo and Cranfield essentially argue this way as well as Snoeberger.  Though there are similarities between 1 Cor 8-10 and Romans 14, the basic problems are different.
Since Mike brings up the phrase, "weak in faith," I believe that "in faith" (τῇ πίστει) should be read as a dative of means or instrument, thus: "As for the one who is weak by means of his faith…" 

I see his faith, and his understanding of the Law as educating his convictions regarding meat in Rome. In other words, I believe that the "weak" is right here, too.

I don't share Mike's view of weak as "not very complimentary." 

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decent discussion

Dan Miller, I believe, has the best understanding of the issue of vegetarianism in Romans. After all, sheep, goats, beef, and acceptable game were all possible for consumption in the Mosaic scheme. Perhaps there was a monopoly on all meat in Rome that it had to come through sacrifice to Jupiter. This is very plausible since the Roman State was very religious (false), especially in the captital (background reading will clearly show this to all who care).

Miller also refers to Dan.1 where the issue is also idols and not the type of meat or wine. This can be seen in the fact that there were no differentiation of wine in the Mosaic code as there was for animals (1. Daniel was allowed to use wine, but didn't. 2. the Hebrews probably bought wine from others during the wilderness years to fulfill the sacrifice schedule).

Often, many fundies will make a good argument for gun rights: "guns don't kill people, people kill people" Then, however, they come to the issue of use of alcohol, many will say: "alcohol ruined so and so's life". What is the difference? It is about responsibility not prohibition.

Fundamentalism can be best described as moralism from what I have witnessed during my time in its institutions. A "Catholic envy" almost existed organizationally. I have not heard about any repentance from institutional legalism in Fundamentalist circles. In reality the Bible speaks about the church as a spiritual organism known only to God and not primarily as a human organization.

 

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for Dan - clarification needed

Dan Miller wrote:

Don, if the issue was Jew-gentile, then OT food laws are not enough.

That leaves two possibilities:

1) It was a Jew-gentile issue and it was idol-meat.

2) It wasn't a Jew-gentile issue - instead, it was something else - Hellenistic Asceticism or something else.

But it could not be simply OT food laws, newly abrogated by Peter's vision and Mark 7.

I do not think that reading the meat issue as idol meat is a leap, expecially with OT histories like Daniel showing us idol-motivated foreign city vegetarianism by Jews. Hellenistic Asceticisim is more of a leap.

I'm not quite sure I am following what you are saying in this one. To hopefully clarify my own point, when I say that it is a bit of a leap, what I mean is the assertion that "The issue in Rome was exactly the issue in Corinth. Idol-tainted meat." You don't know that for sure. There are other possibilities, the text is not clear on this point one way or another. It could be idol-tainted meat or it could be just meat of any kind.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Hmmm - you're right - maybe not exactly.

As I reflect on the argument I make from the Text, I should have said, "The issue in Rome was basically the issue in Corinth. Idol-tainted meat."

I can't argue that the Roman strong ate their idol-meat in the pagan temple. Perhaps that will give us more to agree on.

alex o. wrote:
...Perhaps there was a monopoly on all meat in Rome that it had to come through sacrifice to Jupiter...
My understanding is that fear of illness and superstition caused people to refuse meat that wasn't blessed by their gods. So finding non-idol-meat in the city would be tough.

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Where we differ

Don Johnson wrote:

 

...It could be idol-tainted meat or it could be just meat of any kind.

Here is where you and I differ, and here's why.

You have correctly concluded that I Cor. 6-10 is absolutely prohibiting the eating of idol meat or sitting in the idol temple once knowledge has been attained of its idolatrous connection.  It is careful to emphasize that the problem is not the meat but the idolatry, thus certifying that the idolatry of any given culture can (and does) profane/pollute very neutral things/actions.  The problem is idolatry, not meat or place, but the idolatry makes the meat or place profane.  "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."

However, the conclusion in Rom. 14 is completely different. There is a world of difference between "...ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils..." and "...He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."  IOW, Romans 14 cannot be referencing the same meat issue as the conclusions are contradictory. To be referencing the same meat issue Paul, under inspiration, would be taking a position contrary to James, the elder of Jerusalem (Acts 15:19-20; Acts 21:25), to the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28), to the entire body of the Jerusalem counsel (Acts 15:25-28), to himself (I Cor. 8-10), and to the risen Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 2:14 & 20).  Didn't happen.   

Lee

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Lee wrote:...You [Don] have

Lee wrote:
...You [Don] have correctly concluded that I Cor. 6-10 is absolutely prohibiting the eating of idol meat or sitting in the idol temple once knowledge has been attained of its idolatrous connection.
Interested in what Don says about Lee's post, but I do not agree with the absolute part of the above. 

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interesting...

Lee wrote:

 

Don Johnson wrote:

...It could be idol-tainted meat or it could be just meat of any kind.

 

Here is where you and I differ, and here's why.

...

However, the conclusion in Rom. 14 is completely different. There is a world of difference between "...ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils..." and "...He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." 

I think you make a good point. In my defense, when I say "could/couldn't" I am strictly arguing from the meaning of the words in the text of Rm 14. I agree with you that there is an absolute prohibition in 1 Cor, as I stated above... somewhere... That would preclude idol meat in Romans, which I have always maintained simply based on the word "vegetables" - the two situations are completely different. I am not sure that it is the Jewish laws of cleanness and  uncleanness that is in view, however.

This discussion certainly makes me eager to get to Rm 14, but I have 35 verses in 12 and 13 to get through first!

 

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Don Johnson wrote:

Don Johnson wrote:

 

...

This discussion certainly makes me eager to get to Rm 14, but I have 35 verses in 12 and 13 to get through first!

 

Cheat!  Smile

Lee

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no sacrifices today

We live in an completely different era largely unconnected with the Greek and Roman gods, the temples and their specific practices, the attitudes of the people during this time, etc. This is why we need to look at other histories, even basic ones such as Plutarch and Tacitus and not only focus on the text of the Bible about issues removed 2000 years from us. Its a time consuming task but indispensable for any accurate understanding.

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alex o. wrote:

alex o. wrote:

We live in an completely different era largely unconnected with the Greek and Roman gods, the temples and their specific practices, the attitudes of the people during this time, etc. This is why we need to look at other histories, even basic ones such as Plutarch and Tacitus and not only focus on the text of the Bible about issues removed 2000 years from us. Its a time consuming task but indispensable for any accurate understanding.

So what are you saying--that no accurate understanding and application can be made unless someone has the equivalent of a terminal degree in 1st century Greco-Roman cultural studies?

I suggest we simplify, since I really don't think times changing caught God by surprise when He inspired these passages.  Practically every culture/society has idolatries that define them.  The Romans/Greeks did not invent that concept nor did they hold a lock on it.  Identify the idolatry of any given culture and the accompanying idols and that which is profaned by that idolatry ("pollutions of idols") will become evident.  Then it is just a matter of being obedient--"abstain from pollutions of idols"

Three levels of obedience: Idolatry--"flee from" it (I Cor. 10); idols--"keep [guard] yourselves from" them (I Jn. 5:21); pollutions (meat offered to) of idols--"abstain from..."

The problem is idolatry.  That was the major external problem facing the church in the 1st century; it is the major external problem facing the church today.

Lee

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competing in the long jump

Lee wrote:

 

alex o. wrote:

 

We live in an completely different era largely unconnected with the Greek and Roman gods, the temples and their specific practices, the attitudes of the people during this time, etc. This is why we need to look at other histories, even basic ones such as Plutarch and Tacitus and not only focus on the text of the Bible about issues removed 2000 years from us. Its a time consuming task but indispensable for any accurate understanding.

 

 

So what are you saying--that no accurate understanding and application can be made unless someone has the equivalent of a terminal degree in 1st century Greco-Roman cultural studies?

I suggest we simplify, since I really don't think times changing caught God by surprise when He inspired these passages.  Practically every culture/society has idolatries that define them.  The Romans/Greeks did not invent that concept nor did they hold a lock on it.  Identify the idolatry of any given culture and the accompanying idols and that which is profaned by that idolatry ("pollutions of idols") will become evident.  Then it is just a matter of being obedient--"abstain from pollutions of idols"

Three levels of obedience: Idolatry--"flee from" it (I Cor. 10); idols--"keep [guard] yourselves from" them (I Jn. 5:21); pollutions (meat offered to) of idols--"abstain from..."

The problem is idolatry.  That was the major external problem facing the church in the 1st century; it is the major external problem facing the church today.

 

Quite the leap Lee.

I don't want to be too sarcastic, but what you suggest is pure folly. This is anachronistic reading of the Bible defined. Do you really believe a simplistic reading and devising  a sort of formula like you propose is how God intended us to handle Scripture? Frankly, Lee, your advice is the scariest thing I have heard in quite some time. 

 

 

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alex o. wrote:

alex o. wrote:

 

 

Quite the leap Lee.

I don't want to be too sarcastic, but what you suggest is pure folly. This is anachronistic reading of the Bible defined. Do you really believe a simplistic reading and devising  a sort of formula like you propose is how God intended us to handle Scripture? Frankly, Lee, your advice is the scariest thing I have heard in quite some time. 

 

 

Help me then.  Because the way I'm reading you is that the passages have no meaning or application unless the worship of Jupiter, Zeus, Aphrodite, and Artemis rolls back into fashion, in which case we're prepared.

So let's work on where we agree. 

Do we agree that the major external problem facing the church today is idolatry?

Do we agree that idolatry defines most societies,cultures and sub-cultures including western societies?

Lee

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bit baffled

Lee wrote:

 

alex o. wrote:

 

 

 

Quite the leap Lee.

I don't want to be too sarcastic, but what you suggest is pure folly. This is anachronistic reading of the Bible defined. Do you really believe a simplistic reading and devising  a sort of formula like you propose is how God intended us to handle Scripture? Frankly, Lee, your advice is the scariest thing I have heard in quite some time. 

 

 

 

 

Help me then.  Because the way I'm reading you is that the passages have no meaning or application unless the worship of Jupiter, Zeus, Aphrodite, and Artemis rolls back into fashion, in which case we're prepared.

So let's work on where we agree. 

Do we agree that the major external problem facing the church today is idolatry?

Do we agree that idolatry defines most societies,cultures and sub-cultures including western societies?

You still seem to be long jumping. You are not reading me close enough. Why take these giant leaps?

Firstly, on my previous post, you thought I was saying someone needed a terminal degree, which I meant nothing of the sorts. Any formal training is supposed to equip the person for further study. Generally, the more formal training the better but it is also dependent on the institution, advisors and other mentors. After training it is up to the person to continue their development along the line of their gifts. I recommend formal study for yourself as the best advice I could give.

Second, how could you get that the text has no meaning unless Greek and Roman idolatry is reestablished from what I said? I was speaking of determining certain distinctions which is simply impossible from the text of Scripture alone without a background study of documents, which also, by God's general grace, have been preserved. 

Also, of course, yes, idolatry is rampant whether it takes the shape of self, society, things, etc. However, understanding it and overcoming it personally and how to proclaim Christ as King, Lawgiver, Judge, and Savior, I suspect we would do differently.

I recommend to you reading all the Bible systematically, extensively, and prayerfully before anything else without the lens of fundamentalist preachings. Most self-professed Fundamentalists are fairly ignorant of what the Bible actually says in a meaningful sense from my experience. The NIV, ESV, and other versions instead of the KJV, will better illumine the text in my opinion. 

 

 

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alex o. wrote:

alex o. wrote:

 

You still seem to be long jumping. You are not reading me close enough. Why take these giant leaps?

Let's call it exaggeration for emphasis sake Smile I think most people reading would have picked up on this relatively common rhetorical device

Quote:

Firstly, on my previous post, you thought I was saying someone needed a terminal degree, which I meant nothing of the sorts. Any formal training is supposed to equip the person for further study. Generally, the more formal training the better but it is also dependent on the institution, advisors and other mentors. After training it is up to the person to continue their development along the line of their gifts. I recommend formal study for yourself as the best advice I could give.

You said "We live in an...era largely unconnected with the Greek and Roman gods...we need to look at other histories...such as Plutarch and Tacitus and not only focus on the text of the Bible about issues removed 2000 years from us. Its...indispensable for any accurate understanding." While "terminal degree in Greco-Roman cultural studies" may be hyperbole, it does come across that you are stating that there is some expertise in extra-biblical writings that is absolutely necessary to "rightly divide" this portion of the "word of truth." I'll admit, I do find that concept a little troubling in the whole completeness and authoritativeness of scripture idea.

Quote:
Second, how could you get that the text has no meaning unless Greek and Roman idolatry is reestablished from what I said? I was speaking of determining certain distinctions which is simply impossible from the text of Scripture alone without a background study of documents, which also, by God's general grace, have been preserved.

Short step, really.  If it has no determinable meaning without an expertise in understanding Greco-Roman idolatry/culture then it likely has no meaning without the Greco-Roman idolatry/culture. 

But that is beside the point.  The matter of meat offered to idols is not a Greco-Roman thing.  It was a problem long before, first introduced in the account of Balaam in Num. 25:1-3 --"And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel" --and it continued to be a problem even as the Scripture revelation was being concluded in Rev. 2.  Interesting that Christ, in His scathing reprimands of the idolatrous influence allowed into the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira, chose to ignore the common idolatry but illustrated with the meat issue preceding the establishment of His chosen in the promised land and under the rain of the kings.  Makes me think that the point of the passages in I Cor. 8-10 and Acts 15 might be able to be understood without as much inundation in Roman worship studies as you propose.   

 

 

Quote:
Also, of course, yes, idolatry is rampant whether it takes the shape of self, society, things, etc. However, understanding it and overcoming it personally and how to proclaim Christ as King, Lawgiver, Judge, and Savior, I suspect we would do differently.

Not talking of idolatry in the "anything can be an idol sense."  That is simply a ploy.  The NT passages on meat offered to idols are referencing identifiable idolatry that is definitive of an identifiable society, community, etc.  Corinth was a worshipper of Aphrodite; Ephesus Diana, etc.  It was the practices involved in this very identifiable worship that were being addressed.

Quote:
I recommend to you reading all the Bible systematically, extensively, and prayerfully before anything else without the lens of fundamentalist preachings. Most self-professed Fundamentalists are fairly ignorant of what the Bible actually says in a meaningful sense from my experience. The NIV, ESV, and other versions instead of the KJV, will better illumine the text in my opinion.

Glad you got a handle on that.  For some reason my mind immediately referenced Job 12:2.  If you want to take that as a mild rebuke, please consider it in the light it was given--"faithful are the wounds of a friend."

 

 

 

Lee

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Lee wrote:You said "We live

Lee wrote:
You said "We live in an...era largely unconnected with the Greek and Roman gods...we need to look at other histories...such as Plutarch and Tacitus and not only focus on the text of the Bible about issues removed 2000 years from us. Its...indispensable for any accurate understanding." While "terminal degree in Greco-Roman cultural studies" may be hyperbole, it does come across that you are stating that there is some expertise in extra-biblical writings that is absolutely necessary to "rightly divide" this portion of the "word of truth." I'll admit, I do find that concept a little troubling in the whole completeness and authoritativeness of scripture idea.
Lee,

I hear this kind of argument from time to time. I am sure it is usually well intentioned. It sounds good. But it doesn't hold up under scrutiny. No one is undermining the completeness or authority of scripture when they call for additional extra-biblical study in order to "rightly divide the Word of Truth." The fact is, we all recognize the need for extra-biblical study. At it's most basic level, there is an extra-biblical requirement that we learn how to read and understand the basic rules of grammar in order to study the Bible. These are absolutely necessary, extra-biblical studies. All Alex O. is suggesting is that they are not the only ones, particularly now that we are 2,000 years removed from the closing of the cannon. This is commonly understood to be the historical part of the historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics - a generally accepted concept among conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

Lee wrote:

You said "We live in an...era largely unconnected with the Greek and Roman gods...we need to look at other histories...such as Plutarch and Tacitus and not only focus on the text of the Bible about issues removed 2000 years from us. Its...indispensable for any accurate understanding." While "terminal degree in Greco-Roman cultural studies" may be hyperbole, it does come across that you are stating that there is some expertise in extra-biblical writings that is absolutely necessary to "rightly divide" this portion of the "word of truth." I'll admit, I do find that concept a little troubling in the whole completeness and authoritativeness of scripture idea.

Lee,

 

I hear this kind of argument from time to time. I am sure it is usually well intentioned. It sounds good. But it doesn't hold up under scrutiny. No one is undermining the completeness or authority of scripture when they call for additional extra-biblical study in order to "rightly divide the Word of Truth." The fact is, we all recognize the need for extra-biblical study. At it's most basic level, there is an extra-biblical requirement that we learn how to read and understand the basic rules of grammar in order to study the Bible. These are absolutely necessary, extra-biblical studies. All Alex O. is suggesting is that they are not the only ones, particularly now that we are 2,000 years removed from the closing of the cannon. This is commonly understood to be the historical part of the historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics - a generally accepted concept among conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists.

Not arguing the value of extra-biblical studies.  Practically all education is such, and I am a huge fan of education.  His point was that studying these pagan historian/philosophers was "indispensable", a term that connotes impossibility, as if Scripture is incapable of communicating itself by itself.  This I have an issue with.

For example, Gen. 1:16 says simply "he made the stars also."  While a study of astronomy illuminates the enormity of the statement, it is not "indispensable" to understand the truth of the inspired communication. 

In Scripture you have an inspired historical record of how being in proximity to idolatry led to participation in idolatrous observances which eventually led to practicing idol worship and its almost always accompanying immorality (Num. 25:2), a record referenced both by Paul (I Cor. 10) and Jesus Christ (Rev. 2) in their addresses of the matter of meat offered to idols.  What do Plutarch and Tacitus have to add to that inspired record that makes understanding them (and others) "indispensable" in understanding truth?

Lee

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Lee,

Lee,

That was my point though, some extra-biblical studies are indispensable to rightly dividing the Word. As I noted and you agreed, basic skills in reading and grammar are indispensable to any investigation of scripture. Other studies, such as historical context or original language studies, are more or less indispensable depending on the passage being considered - for instance the lukewarm statement to the church in Laodicea.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Lee,

That was my point though, some extra-biblical studies are indispensable to rightly dividing the Word. As I noted and you agreed, basic skills in reading and grammar are indispensable to any investigation of scripture. Other studies, such as historical context or original language studies, are more or less indispensable depending on the passage being considered - for instance the lukewarm statement to the church in Laodicea.

Still a long step from "you need to be able to read" to "you need to read Plutarch." 

Not sure why a geographical study of Laodicea is "indispensable" to understand that water that is not cold and not hot is undesirably lukewarm when cold or hot is the desired end.

Lee

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historical-grammatical-literal / R14 meat is Jewish

Guys, I'm sure we all hold to a historical-grammatical-literal hermeneutic. Whenever we come to a passage that is difficult and carries a lot of practical implications, there will always be struggles with the usage of historical and grammatical extra-Biblical information. the necessity of understanding these things does not conflict with the sufficiency of God's Word.

OK, Don, When you and I last posted, I had asserted that IF the meat issue of Rom14 was Jewish, THEN it had to be idol-tainted meat that was being refused.

You said, it was a leap to assert that it's Jewish - "It could be idol-tainted meat or it could be just meat of any kind." 

In this post, I want to argue that meat was a Jewish issue.

1) The whole thrust of Romans is to heal Jew-gentile relationships. Ch. 12 represents a transition from theological to practical (as is common for Paul in his letters). It is to be expected that there would be a Jew-gentile practical aspect in this epistle.

That's not proof, just what I expect to find (probably not a very good point).

2) Rom15 tells us why we want to apply the peace-seeking steps of Rom14. Vv. 4-10 say that the reason for this is that Jews and gentiles can worship together. This makes it pretty clear that the preceding chapter is about issues between Jew and gentile.

3) Rom14:14 says, "I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean." The idea of clean/unclean foods is a distinctly Jewish idea. Hellenists Ascetics did not talk about their taboos as "unclean." Then v. 15, "For if your brother is grieved by what you eat…" tells us that "what you eat" is such issue that is thought of in "clean/unclean" terms.

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Dan Miller wrote:

Dan Miller wrote:

OK, Don, When you and I last posted, I had asserted that IF the meat issue of Rom14 was Jewish, THEN it had to be idol-tainted meat that was being refused.

You said, it was a leap to assert that it's Jewish - "It could be idol-tainted meat or it could be just meat of any kind."

Perhaps I should rephrase that. It is a leap to say that it is idol-tainted. For Jews, unclean meat would be problematic (and it usually wasn't involved in idol worship, if I recall correctly).

 

Dan Miller wrote:
In this post, I want to argue that meat was a Jewish issue.

1) The whole thrust of Romans is to heal Jew-gentile relationships. Ch. 12 represents a transition from theological to practical (as is common for Paul in his letters). It is to be expected that there would be a Jew-gentile practical aspect in this epistle.

That's not proof, just what I expect to find (probably not a very good point). 

I would dispute this as the purpose or theme of the epistle. He is involved in diatribe with either a real or imagined Jewish opponent in explaining the doctrine of salvation, but I am not sure that the purpose of the epistle is to heal a Jew/Gentile rift. It is one possibility, but I am not convinced of it. But, as you say, not the strongest argument, so we can leave it aside.

Dan Miller wrote:
2) Rom15 tells us why we want to apply the peace-seeking steps of Rom14. Vv. 4-10 say that the reason for this is that Jews and gentiles can worship together. This makes it pretty clear that the preceding chapter is about issues between Jew and gentile.

3) Rom14:14 says, "I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean." The idea of clean/unclean foods is a distinctly Jewish idea. Hellenists Ascetics did not talk about their taboos as "unclean." Then v. 15, "For if your brother is grieved by what you eat…" tells us that "what you eat" is such issue that is thought of in "clean/unclean" terms.

Both of these are good points, I'll have to think on them a bit before I get back to you on it.

 

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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