"Christians face the temptation to moralize our opinions. When we start elevating certain things as more godly than others, we turn into Pharisees"

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JD Miller's picture

Let us not forget that one of the Baptist distinctives is individual soul liberty.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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I try not have passionate opinions unless I believe they're also truth... so I don't think I know how to hold one tightly and the other lightly.
The post seems to assume that if we feel strongly about something we have to have gotten there intuitively or randomly then painted a veneer of moral reasoning over it. That does happen, of course, but what if you start out with moral principles then apply them? The result might look the same--a passionate opinion--but it's a completely different animal.

dcbii's picture

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Aaron Blumer wrote:
I try not have passionate opinions unless I believe they're also truth... so I don't think I know how to hold one tightly and the other lightly.
The post seems to assume that if we feel strongly about something we have to have gotten there intuitively or randomly then painted a veneer of moral reasoning over it. That does happen, of course, but what if you start out with moral principles then apply them? The result might look the same--a passionate opinion--but it's a completely different animal.

Of course, the problem is that application that comes from a "passionate opinion" is something that should almost always be directed inward. Note how the passages on something that offends us mention we should pluck out our own eyes or cut off our own limbs (not those of others, assuming that they must also be offended in the same way). That passage assumes we would be passionate enough to do something very drastic for our spiritual welfare, but as far as I can tell, gives us no authority to do the same to others.

I think that chart above is a good way to start thinking about these issues. even if it's not quite perfect. Unlike on the target, the lines between those categories are usually blurred, rather than clear, especially for the outer three (though many would argue that their personal convictions on an issue are the same as absolute truth). Whenever you have blurred borders, you will have disputes that don't have an obvious answer. I personally believe that God has only one mind on each issue we are confronted with. The problem for us, of course, is that on many things he has not made his mind as clear as he has on others, hence all of the disagreement and discussion.

Dave Barnhart

Joel Shaffer's picture

I'd be interested from those who argued passionately that drinking a glass of wine or beer is wrong..... where on the chart above do you place your belief about abstaining from alcohol. Is it an absolute or a conviction?

Jim's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:
I'd be interested from those who argued passionately that drinking a glass of wine or beer is wrong..... where on the chart above do you place your belief about abstaining from alcohol. Is it an absolute or a conviction?

As soon as a church puts abstinence in their covenant, for that church it is an absolute:

  • You absolutely should not be a member unless you agree with that
  • If you are a member and disagree or disobey, you are absolutely in conflict with the covenant