Disputable Matters

Olive and I are following Nicky Gumbel’s excellent Bible in One Year reading plan. This morning’s NT reading was Romans 14. When it comes to disputable (but important) matters there is no better guidance than that given in this chapter about how Christians should deal with them.

Paul takes two important topics (vegetarianism and holy days) as examples of the type of disputable matter that we need to treat as he advises. His advice carries all the wisdom and inspiration of Scripture behind it so we would be wise to follow it.

I have reprinted Romans 14 below using two other examples of disputable matters which I am sure you will recognise. Hopefully, this will help you when it comes to dealing with these two topics which seem to take up a lot of social media space these days:

14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to take any vaccine, but another, whose faith is weak, only takes the ones they got as an infant. The one who takes all vaccines must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not take every vaccine must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one political party more sacred than another; another considers every political party alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one party as special does so to the Lord. Whoever takes a vaccine does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

‘“As surely as I live,” says the Lord,
“Every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.”’

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling-block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that none of the vaccines are unclean in themselves. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because you take the vaccine you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your taking a vaccine destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of taking or not taking vaccines, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of a vaccine. All vaccines are clean, but it is wrong for a person to take any vaccine that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to take a vaccine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they take the vaccine, because their taking of it is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Challenging words! How many of us need to follow the advice given in v.22?

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