Weak Conscience Christians and Legalismgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Bethany Bible College : One Thread
Weak Conscience Christians and Legalism. 4/15/99
I have been a Christian since 1963; and early in my Christian life, in the early 1970s, I became concerned about the Biblical concept of weak conscience Christians and the seemingly Biblical concept of legalism that modern Christians use. Because of that concern, I have been questioning other Christians, over the years, about their concept of weak conscience Christians and legalism. Due to the modern communication technologies, the Internet and email, I will now be able to easily find and quiz more Christians. I am hoping that you will find this subject interesting enough to respond to. My name and email addresses are listed after the closing of this letter.
As is expected, to determine what concept a person may have concerning any subject, one must begin with a series of questions. The following are some questions that I typically start with: * How can I tell the difference between a weak conscience Christian and a legalist? * What is the definition of legalism that is accepted by the majority of modern Christians? * What is the definition of a weak conscience Christian that is accepted by the majority of modern Christians? * What was the definition of legalism and weak conscience Christians in the mid-1800s?
I do have some views about weak conscience Christians and legalism. In the following paragraphs, I will present briefly some of those views in the hope that you will be better able to understand me and to determine the best way to answer my questions.
For some time now, I have been engaging Christians in discussions on Rom. 14:1-15:7, 1 Cor. 8:1-13, 1 Cor. 10:23-33. I have done this in an effort to determine what the average Christian's view of legalism and weak conscience Christians is. As you know, those portions of the Scriptures talk about weak conscience Christians (Rom. 14:1-15:7, 1 Cor. 8:1-13, 1 Cor. 10:23-33), weak conscience non-Christians (1 Cor. 10:23-33), and strong conscience Christians (Rom. 14:1-15:7, 1 Cor. 8:1-13, 1 Cor. 10:23-33).
Before I was saved, most of the people I knew, including myself, would never think of giving up anything that was considered legal or not sin. Very early in my Christian life (which was in the army from 1964 to 1968) I started following the Biblical principle of bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians, because the Scripture taught that bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians is part of walking in love toward them. Therefore, when I got out of the army and found a good church to attend, I naturally thought that I would see that principle being followed by the mature strong conscience Christians in the congregation. I soon learned that was not the case. Within a few years I came to the conclusion that the majority of Christians in fundamental churches were weak conscience Christians and that the majority of Christians in evangelical churches were strong conscience Christians that refuse to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians. Christianity had polarized to these two extremes in the area of doubtful things, leaving modern Christianity with very few strong conscience Christians that bear the burden of weak conscience Christians. Because of this and the observation of weak conscience fundamental Christians calling other weak conscience fundamental Christians legalists and strong conscience evangelicals calling all fundamentalists legalists, I started searching the Bible again for more detail on the concept of weak conscience Christians, strong conscience Christians, and legalism.
The concept of legalism held by modern Christians, including fundamentalists and evangelicals, seemed to be very broad and very relative (see the list of definitions of legalism at the end of this document)!! This was very perplexing to me. In addition, since I could not find an equivalent term for legalism in the Bible, it became very clear that modern Christians were the creators of the concept of legalism and had designed it and expanded its meaning to cover the characteristics of weak conscience Christians. This designed or expanded concept of legalism seems to have SUPPLANTED the biblical concept of weak conscience Christians in the minds of most fundamentalists and evangelicals. I found this SUPPLANTING appears to occur in three ways. The first occurrence is a PARTIAL SUPPLANTING which occurs in the minds of those that still use the concept of weak conscience Christians. They reason that untaught Christians are the only Christians that can have a weak conscience and that these untaught Christians are primarily new Christians. They then conclude that Christians who are not new Christians (those that have been Christians for more than two or three years), who have been taught the Bible, and who still have the characteristics of the weak conscience Christians described in Rom. 14 and 1 Cor. 8 are legalists. The second PARTIAL SUPPLANTING method is one that I found out about in July of 1998 after having posted my original message (which listed only one PARTIAL SUPPLANTING method) on some Christian message-boards on the internet. This second PARTIAL SUPPLANTING method pulls Romans 14:3,4,16 out of context, and it says that these weak conscience Christians that are speaking evil judgments (being judgmental and condemning) of the strong conscience Christians are really Pharisees (legalists). It also says that those weak conscience Christians that don't speak evil judgments (not being judgmental and condemning) of the strong conscience Christians and possibly could be influenced to sin against their conscience by the example of a strong conscience Christian are really the true weak conscience Christians. However, the verses (Romans 14:3,4,16) are describing weak conscience Christians, not Pharisees, that have stumbled to the point of speaking evil judgments (being judgmental and condemning) of strong conscience Christians. The Third SUPPLANTING method totally RECATEGORIZES the weak conscience Christians in Rom. 14 and 1 Cor. 8 as legalists. If this third method is true, does that mean that we are to bear the burden of some legalists and not other legalists?? Why do modern Christians want such an ALL-INCLUSIVE definition for legalism?? Are modern Christians trying to hide something or hide from something?? Why do they want the definition to cover the characteristics of weak conscience Christians?? Clearly, the Bible reveals that weak conscience Christians are stricter than Christians that do not have a weak conscience!! That strictness is directly proportional to the number of Christians that have a weak conscience about an item. But, does that justify modern Christians CATEGORIZING them in the same CATEGORY that you would place a PHARISEE and then treating them as PHARISEES??
It appears as though most fundamentalists and evangelicals regard another Christian to be a legalist if he is guilty of one or more of the bad characteristics of either the Pharisees or the false gospel teachers that infiltrated both the churches of Galatia and the church at Colossae. This idea has a problem because both the Pharisees and the false gospel teachers taught that certain things were sin when in actuality they were not; and that is exactly what weak conscience Christians do. I have not been able to find a place in the Scriptures where God CATEGORIZES weak conscience Christians, Pharisees, and the false gospel teachers at Colossae and Galatia in a category equivalent to that of the modern category called legalism. Have you??
Therefore, I concluded that a primary motive for modern Christians, fundamentalists and evangelicals, to accept and use the very broad and very relative concept of legalism was TO HIDE something that they are guilty of. Fundamentalists use the concept of legalism TO HIDE the fact that they are weak conscience Christians, and evangelicals use the concept of legalism TO HIDE the fact that they are strong conscience Christians guilty of refusing to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians. Therefore, when weak conscience fundamentalist Bill encounters another fundamentalist that is not a new Christian and has a weak conscience about some items that he doesn't have a weak conscience about, Bill will call him a legalist instead of a weak conscience Christian. If weak conscience fundamentalist Bill would call another fundamentalist a weak conscience Christian, he would be teaching other fundamentalists to call him (weak conscience fundamentalist Bill) a weak conscience Christian; and the truth would hurt him worse than being called a legalist. It seems as though weak conscience fundamentalists do not mind being called a legalist if it hides their weak consciences. Strange!! We see both weak conscience fundamental Christians calling other weak conscience fundamental Christians legalists, and evangelicals calling all fundamentalists legalists.
For years I have listened to my generation (second-generation fundamentalist?) of weak conscience fundamentalists call each other legalists. Now I am hearing the next generation (third-generation fundamentalists?) of weak conscience fundamentalists calling all the previous generation of weak conscience fundamentalists legalists; and they are also calling each other legalists, like their predecessors did. We should only say that Joe has a weak conscience about holding a microphone in his hand while singing. Bill has a weak conscience about the Movie Theater. Mary has a weak conscience about earrings the size of quarters. Harry, like the majority of weak conscience fundamental Christians and many weak conscience non-Christians, has a weak conscience about the rock rhythm; and since the volume of weak conscience Christians and non-Christians that have a weak conscience about the rock rhythm is high, the strong conscience Christians, in keeping with Rom. 14 and 1 Cor. 10:23-33, should walk in love and abstain from the use of the rock rhythm. George, in addition to having a weak conscience, has a very proud domineering personality, which creates an extreme nagging wife atmosphere. Notice!! Like the Scriptures do, a Christian can be Biblically accurate in describing the problems without using the categorization term legalism.
Also, fundamentalists and evangelicals often use the terminology "personal preferences" to hide the fact that most of the time the problem really revolves around doubtful issues and items that weak conscience Christians believe are sin in themselves. All this is done to help hide from the reality of weak conscience Christians. This is done to make all weak conscience Christians appear very proud, picky and very selfish. Weak conscience Christians are not being foolishly picky over their personal preferences; their weak consciences prevent their reasoning ability from distinguishing between the non-sinful things and the accompanying sinful things and practices. Therefore, God wants strong conscience Christians to walk in love toward the weak conscience Christians.
Over the years, I have heard both fundamental and evangelical preachers tell their congregations that they should be balanced. But, how can the fundamentalists and the evangelicals ever have balanced congregations while they are hiding behind the concept of legalism??? I believe that there is a great need in our day to have more Christians be strong conscience Christians that are bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians like the Apostle Paul did. And, like the Apostle Paul, without using the term legalism, they should be admonishing both the weak conscience Christians that are speaking evil of strong conscience Christians and the strong conscience Christians that are not bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians.
Maybe I should say something about how I apply the principle of bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians in my everyday Christian life. The Bible tell us that a husband and wife are to love each other, but leaves out a lot of fine detail, such as: how often to have sexual intercourse, how often to buy flowers for my wife, do I buy her flowers or something else, how often to tell my wife how much I love her, should I take my wife out to dinner, how often should I take her out to dinner, etc. Obviously, God is expecting husbands and wives to use their common sense that is guided by biblical principles. The Bible does not tell strong conscience Christians how many Christians have to have a weak conscience about an item to warrant 100% abstinence from that item. Obviously, God is expecting us to use our common sense guided by the biblical principle of bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians. According to Rom. 14:1-15:7, 1 Cor. 8:1-13, 1 Cor. 10:23-33, following the principle of bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians should accomplish several things. According to my comprehension, the following is a list of those things:
1) (Romans 14:1). It should prevent bitter disputes with weak conscience Christians over doubtful things; thus, keeping peace in the church.
2) (Romans 14:1-12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 21; 15:1 and 1Cor. 10:23-33). It should prevent weak conscience Christians, as well as weak conscience non-Christians, from stumbling to where their judging is slanderous, blasphemous, evil speaking of our good and us. We should walk charitably for the purpose of maintaining peace, causing edification, and not pleasing ourselves.
3) (1 Cor. 8:9-13) It should prevent weak conscience Christians from becoming bold enough to partake of the doubtful items that they believe are sin. Because, if the actions of a strong conscience Christian causes weak conscience Christians to partake of things that they believe are sin, he has caused those weak conscience Christians to be become guilty of sin; and now that strong conscience Christian is guilty of sin since his actions caused the weak conscience Christians to go against their weak conscience.
Common sense reveals that 100% abstinence from a doubtful item is necessary to accomplish the first two results when the percentage of Christians and/or non-Christians that have a weak conscience about an item is high.
Also, common sense reveals that 100% abstinence from a doubtful item is not necessary to accomplish the first two results when the percentage of Christians and/or non-Christians that have a weak conscience about an item is small. Since their number is small, the non-proud weak conscience Christians usually will not speak evil of the strong conscience Christians. Thus, there usually will not be any bitter disputes occur in the church; those few weak conscience Christians will only do judging that is not of the slanderous, blasphemous, evil speaking nature. Even though 100% abstinence is not necessary under this condition, the exercising of our freedom should not be done in a way that will encourage those few weak conscience Christians to become bold enough to act against their weak conscience (1 Cor. 8:9-13).
Many years back (in the mid-1970's) I concluded concerning doubtful things that the Fundamental group of Christians was equivalent to the group of weak conscience Christians that God through Paul was admonishing in Romans chapter 14 and that the Evangelical group of Christians was equivalent to the group of strong conscience Christians that God through Paul was admonishing in Romans chapter 14 and 15. Also, In the early 1980's I stopped believing that the concept of legalism was a valid Biblical concept of CATEGORIZATION. Since these two groups of Christians are large in number, it is easy for each to fall into the sins described in Romans chapter 14. The weak conscience Christians will speak evil judgements of the strong conscience Christians. The strong conscience Christians with much despite refuse to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians and accuse the weak conscience Christians of being legalists. Both the modern day strong conscience Christians that despise the weak conscience Christians and the modern day weak conscience Christians that are speaking evil judgements of strong conscience Christians display more human intellectual brilliance than their counterparts in Paul's day by having developed the very broad categorization concept called legalism, which they use to hide their guilt.
In Romans chapter 14 and part of chapter 15 God, using Paul, put more responsibility on the shoulders of the strong conscience Christians to defuse the battle than on the shoulders of the weak conscience Christians by requiring the strong conscience Christians to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians. Since the strong conscience Christian's reasoning ability is not shackled by a weak conscience (overly sensitive conscience), he should be mature enough to handle the extra responsibility of bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians and, at the same time, be teaching and admonishing weak conscience Christians and strong conscience Christians to mature. However, as in Paul's day, many strong conscience Christians today refuse to accept that God given responsibility; but today they use the concept of legalism to justify not accepting that responsibility. What I find very interesting and perplexing is that the modern day weak conscience Christian also uses the same concept of legalism in an indirect way to hide his guilt of being a weak conscience Christian.
I believe that if there had been more open and above board strong conscience Christians bearing the burden of weak conscience Christians in the recent decades past, the evil speaking judging of the weak conscience Christians and the bitter despiteful attitude of the strong conscience Christians today would be much reduced from what it is. In figurative language, both evangelical and fundamental Christians consider strong conscience Christians that bear the burden of weak conscience Christians to be "spiritual wimps" that either do not stand up for their freedoms in Christ since they bear the burdens of weak conscience Christians or do not live a spiritually holy life since they do not have a weak conscience. If you want to be a popular Christian nowadays, you have to be, or act like, a weak conscience Christian that speaks evil judgements of the strong conscience Christians or you have to be, or act like, a strong conscience Christian that refuses to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians in exercising his freedoms in Christ in all areas of doubtful things and accuses weak conscience Christians of being legalists and Pharisees. Since the majority of Christians today are either weak conscience Christians that speak evil judgements of strong conscience Christians or are strong conscience Christians that accuse weak conscience Christians of being legalists, the peer pressure is to conform to one these two extremes; and it appears that the majority of modern Christians do exactly that. Very few Christians today can withstand this peer pressure, and therefore do not become strong conscience Christians that bear the burden of weak conscience Christians.
During all these years, I have found that I have been almost alone in these conclusions. Therefore, at times I have wondered if something is wrong with my reasoning ability. If you feel that my reasoning ability is faulty and has led me to the wrong conclusions, please make great effort to show me what is faulty in my reasoning. If my reasoning is faulty, it would be nice to have it corrected before it is time for the Lord to kick my buck out from under my rear-end and take me home.
A Brother in Christ,
David C. Geminden
Email: email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org
Dictionary definitions of legalism:
1. In the (Webster's New Collegiate), (Webster's Clear Type Dictionary) the definition is: strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral Code.
2. In the English dictionary (American Heritage Dictionary) the definition is: strict and literal adherence to the law.
3. In the (Oxford English Dictionary) definition is: The principles of those who hold a theological position of adhering to the Law as opposed to the Gospel; the doctrine of Justification by Works, or teaching which savours of that doctrine.
4. In the 1994 (The Merriam Webster Dictionary) the definition is: 1) strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral Code. 2) a legal term.
5. In the 1972 (Second College Edition of Webster's New World Dictionary of the American language) the definition is: 1) strict, often too strict and literal, adherence to law or to a code. 2) Theol. The doctrine of salvation by good works.
6. In the 1828 Noah Webster's First Edition of An American Dictionary Of The English Language the word "legalism" is not listed, but the words "legal" and "legality" are listed and do have theological definitions as follows: Legal --- 3) According to the law of works, as distinguished from free grace; or resting on works for salvation. Legality --- 2) In theology, a reliance on works for salvation.
-- David C. Geminden (email@example.com), October 02, 1999
Dave, you're beautiful! I never saw this question discussed in such depth. Butnow do one thing. Pay careful attention--because I am going to solve your problem with one swing of the bat! In your main scripture references: Rom. 14--1 Cor. 8 & 10, I want you to notice one thing: The writer is talking about RELIGIOUS PRACTICES. You would the conscience of a brother when you get involved with former religious practices. The whole subject is dealing with RELIGIOUS PRACTICEs. Example. I am a former Roman Catholic. Let's say you were also a Catholic and I led you to the Lord by telling you catholicism was wrong and that you were saved by faith in Christ as your personal savior, etc. So you are now a born-again Christian. Then one day Boston's Roman Catholic Cardinal, Bernard Law, decides to hold a public saying of the rosary at Fenway Park. I decide to go and see what's going on. You see me walking into Fenway Park where there will be a public demonstration of the rosary. You now think that it might be okay to do that--although I had formerly told you it had absolutely no value. You are now all confused and your conscience is wounded. I had every right to go in there to see what's going on, but if me doing that gets you all screwed up, then it is best that I do not (eat meat) go to anymore public recitations of the rosary because I don't want to get you (who is new in the faith and not yet well grounded in the Word) all messed up in your thinking. We are dealing here with a RELIGIOUS PRACTICE and not someoone else's cultural hangups! Since movies, rock music, dress, etc. have nothing to do with former religious practices, then there is no way they can be used to wound the conscience of a weaker brother. In fact it is the weaker brother who is the legalist because he is making sin out of something that was never before considered sin. You sound like someone who has been around long enough to know that (unfortunately) there are plenty of spiritual idiots in churches, people who don't think for themselves, but allow others (including those who write books) to do their thinking for them. Someone comes along and says "Carnivals are wordly, and Christians should not be seen there. They could be a stumbling block to other new believers." That's a lot of hot air for the simple reason that carnivals have nothing to do with anyone's religious practice or beliefs. You have to understand that these people who invent sin for the benefit of others are in reality only looking for ways to make themselves look holier than others. They are to be pitied. They are the real pharisees of our day. I think rock music (Christian or otherwise) stinks. If you like it I would question your musical taste, your intelligence, and whether or not you have any class as an individual. After debating this issue with you I might even come to the conclusion that you are a first class jerk. But I would never consider you a sinner, or someone who might be guilty of leading a weaker brother into sin or wounding his conscience because we're not dealing with a religious question here. Rock music might be stupid and low class--but in and of itself it is not sinful, anymore than movies (they show them in churches) are not by themselves sinful. (Both can convey sinful messages, and be used for sinful purposes--like your family car--but that's another issue.) Enough. I have been through my own wars with this subject. I know that there are fundamentalists who are legalists. They are guilty of inventing their own code of conduct--and of not seeing the real meaning of Rom. 14 and 1 Cor 8&10. I hope this helps.
-- Ralph Filicchia (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 11, 1999.
David, you did a masterful job with this post, and I really want to read and reread it, because you said some profound things. But I have to agree with Ralph on this one. In the modern church world, especially Fundamentalists AND Evangelicals, OPPOSITE PERSONAL PREFERENCE somehow has become "sin." How does this work? The music issue is a good example. I live in Oklahoma. The common vogue here is that "rock" music is sinful, of the flesh, and Christians shouldn't imitate it. But what is considered "good" and "wholesome," and to be imitated is Country! And we arent talking "Christian Country" either. The pious and godly rock condemmning saints will get into their cars after church and blast the worldly Country stations from their radios. This is equally "wrong". They have made their preference, Country, to be "good and acceptable to God," while rock is "sin." Point out that new Country is really old Southern Rock and see what happens! (It is, BTW...same beat, same guitar style, etc)
My prayer is that God will open our eyes to see that our Christianity has to be divorced from our preferred culture. Then we can be effective in our witness. But by condemning opposite personal preference instead of true sin, we decieve ourselves.
Jon F. Dewey
B.B.S, M.Min, D.Min (all from Bethany)
-- Dr. Jon Dewey (email@example.com), October 15, 1999.
Hi Ralph Filicchia,
Thanks for responding my article "Weak Conscience Christians and Legalism" that I posted on Bethany's public discussion forum.
Concerning Romans 14, 1Cor. 8, and 1Cor. 10, you stated in your post that "The writer is talking about RELIGIOUS PRACTICE. You wound the conscience of a brother when you get involved with former religious practices. The whole subject is dealing with RELIGIOUS PRACTICEs."...."We are dealing here with a RELIGIOUS PRACTICE and not someone else's cultural hangups! Since movies, rock music, dress, etc. have nothing to do with former religious practices, then there is no way they can be used to wound the conscience of a weaker brother." I do not believe the context of Romans 14 supports your statements. The following verses from Romans contradict your statements: "I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is NOTHING unclean of itself; but to him who considers ANYTHING to be unclean, to him it is unclean." (Romans 14:14 - NKJV), "Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. ALL THINGS indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense." (Romans 14:20 - NKJV), "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do ANYTHING by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak." (Romans 14:21 - NKJV.
Where in the Bible are the verses that support your statement: "In fact it is the weaker brother who is the legalist because he is making sin out of something that was never before considered sin."? Romans 14 and 1 Cor. 8 clearly indicate that it is the weak conscience of a weak conscience brother that causes him to make sin out of something that was never before considered sin, but never calls weak conscience Christians legalists. Their weak conscience makes sin out of something that was never before considered sin, not a desire to look holier than others. Legalism and legalists are concepts created by man, not by God. In fact, most modern Christians use the terms Pharisee and legalist as synonyms.
You also refer to weak conscience Christians as Pharisees. That line of reasoning seems very strange to me, also. That line of reasoning is the same as saying that a horse is a rat because it has fur, walks on four legs, and has a tail. Just because a horse and a rat have a few similar characteristics does not justify classifying a horse as a rat. Just because those that the Bible refers to as weak conscience Christians have a few characteristics that are similar to the Pharisees, does not justify classifying weak conscience Christians as Pharisees. In fact, the Bible never refers to weak conscience Christians as being Pharisees.
Over the years I have observed that weak conscience Christian leaders keep their sheep in line by the accusation clubs of carnality and worldliness; and strong conscience Christian leaders that refuse to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians keep their sheep in line by the accusation clubs of legalist and Pharisee.
David C. Geminden Email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
-- David C. Geminden (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 16, 1999.
Hi Dr. Jon Dewey,
Thanks for responding my article "Weak Conscience Christians and Legalism" that I posted on Bethany's public discussion forum.
All weak conscience Christians do not have weak consciences about the exact same things, as you clearly reveal in your response to my article. I have met some weak conscience Christians that have weak consciences about rock music, country music, and jazz music, some that have weak consciences about rock music but not about country music and jazz music, and some that have weak consciences about rock music and country music but not about jazz music. To strong conscience Christians, which do not have their common sense reasoning messed up by a weak conscience, their common sense causes them to think that the logic of a weak conscience Christian would be logically consistent and would view all three of the above styles of music as sin. However, one of the obvious effects of a weak conscience is a loss of common sense logic when dealing with doubtful things.
As you can see in my discussion above, I have not referred to the idea of personal preferences. I believe that using that terminology (personal preferences) hides the real Biblical problem (weak consciences), by diverting attention away from the real issue of a weak conscience to the idea of a very deliberate, proud and domineering Christian; thus, leaving the impression that Fundamentalism is made up of just deliberate, proud and domineering Christians. Deliberate, proud and domineering Christians are found in all groups of Christians, and they are usually in the minority. By the way, strong conscience Christians leaders in Evangelicalism that happen to also have deliberate, proud and domineering personalities and refuse to bear the burden of weak conscience Christians excessively use the accusation clubs of legalist and Pharisee to keep their sheep in line. Also, the weak conscience Christian leaders in Fundamentalism that happen to also have deliberate, proud and domineering personalities excessively use the accusation clubs of carnality and worldliness to keep their sheep in line.
David C. Geminden Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
-- David C. Geminden (email@example.com), October 16, 1999.
I'm thinking about this last post. You are doing some very original thinking here. I want to think about this some more. Thanks for the clarification. Let me encourage you in your work.
-- Dr. Jon Dewey (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 16, 1999.
To address the music aspect. I was reading in "The History and Use of Hymns and Hymn Tunes", by Breed, copywrite 1903, Fleming H. Revell; and it appears that "new" music has always suck in the craw of some. Dr. Breed has a chapter on Gospel Songs and Singers, in which he discusses the merits of certain gosplel songs. He explains that they are new and too contemporary for the church setting. He quotes Curmen, who states that,"No doubt participants are moved by profound and genuine feeling, yet we are unable to approve the introduction of such melodies into church services."
Of Which hymns is he speaking? I thouoght you might ask. I Need Thee Every Hour Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross Almost Persuades Safe in the Arms of Jesus
I am not saying that we should embrace every new thing that come along. But we need to stop beating each other up about things that have nothing to do with Salvation. I have listened to some pastors that sound more like Pharisees than believers. Someone can still be a Christian if they dance, go to a movie, and participate in mixed swimming. Even if they do it all in the same weekend.
-- Bill Ciocco (email@example.com), October 16, 1999.
Dave: Sorry, but nothing in Rom. 14 contradicts my position. Any good commentary will tell you that the issues under discussion here are Jewish "meats" and "days." And Jewish meats and days had to do with the Jewish religion. Who do you think it was prohibiting the meats and days, the local Masonic Lodge, or The Elks or Rotary Club? Instead of picking out verses (which you did with no apparent consideration of the overall context) keep in mind the the whole purpose of the chapter and the one (the weak guy in the first verse) in whom we are to be concerned about. This guy was a new believer who still carried with him his former religious baggage. He figured there were still some Jewish rules he had to consider. The early church was filled with people like this (in Gal. and Acts, etc). The strong believers knew they could eat meat that was once offered to idols,but this new guy wasn't sure of this. So, as a strong believer, when I go out to eat with this guy I won't order meat that was once offered to idols--although I have every right to! Surely you can see that this is a question of religious practice. Again--check out any good commentary. Is this weaker brother a legalist? You bet your life he is. Isn't a legalist someone who's religion is based upon rules and regulations? This same mentality is condemned in Col. 2:16,20-23. And again, we are here discussing Jewish religious rules that we should no longer concern ourselves with. When legalists grow up in the faith they then discard their meaningless prohibitions. When those who are weak in the faith put on some spiritual muscle they will no longer make an issue over religious practices best left in the past. Again--as a former Catholic I thought I had left all the man-made rules in the past (don't eat meat on Friday, etc.), and I was shocked when I came upon all these "protestant sins" like dancing, movies, wrong music. I consider myself a fundamentalist, but I'll be darned if I know where some of my fellow believers come up with this stuff.
-- Ralph Filicchia (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 16, 1999.