Another tricky passage. We are not to judge other Christians for minor differences in belief. You can be vegetarian or not, it does not matter. You can observe holy days to a greater or lesser extent, it does not matter. What is tricky is how far we can extend this moratorium on religious practices. Sing or pray standing up or sitting down? Appoint ministers for a fixed term or tenure for life? Baptise infants or only adults? Sprinkle or full immersion? Unfortunately there are many different denominations of Christian churches that separate themselves on these sorts of differences.
What this passage does seem to say here is that it is the person who insists on the rule whose faith is weak. If your faith is strong you will tend to be eclectic in attitude towards rules and traditions. I attended a service at a conservative church recently where the music was played on an organ and the songs were drawn from the Anglican hymnbook. The passage in Romans would suggest that the person of strong faith should not have any problem if that is the way that the particular congregation chooses to worship. Not all congregations have to be progressive in their choice of worship style. The tricky part is how far can we extend this. Does it matter if we ordain women or not? Is it anyone’s business if an individual or the church for that matter invests in companies that own breweries, poker machines or tobacco products, or does it not matter? We could go further into moral dilemmas facing our communities.
So there are situations where we cannot take away a clear rule for how to behave in similar circumstances. The fact is that life is a risky business and sometimes we will have to take risks. Pay attention to God’s word and focus on keeping our own behavior righteous, and do not be judgmental of our fellow Christians if they do not adopt the same lifestyle as we do.
[Originally posted on 28 March 2017 by fisherator.]