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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Introducing change

Pastor Steve Thomas, of Huron Baptist Church, with some pithy advice for pastors when they need to introduce change in the church:

If you use your own car to push someone else’s car, it is not a good idea to get a head start.

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Pastoral

 

Metaphors are important

A hunch: churches would be healthier if pastors read more (traditional) farming books and fewer business books.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Conservatism

 

The point of the picnic

I rarely give significant theological thought to meat, so while my last post asked about the propriety of serving idol meat at the Corinthian church picnic, most readers of this blog (the vast majority of whom have no reason to worry about the morality of eating meat offered to idols) could guess that I was up to something else.

Yep.

The most contentious issue in any potential Christian liberty/Romans 14/1 Corinthians 8-10 situation is often whether the activity under debate is truly a thing indifferent. The brother who feels liberty to partake is (obviously) quick to insist that it is indifferent, but the brother whose conscience is pained by the activity almost inevitably insists that the activity is forbidden to the believer. For him to acknowledge otherwise (that is, for him to concede that the activity is an adiaphoron) is to acknowledge that he is the weaker brother. Such acknowledgment not only means accepting a certain stigma, but it also demands that the he cease his efforts to convince others that he is right.

If we shift topics from meat to music, those of us pressing for musical conservatism are asked to see music as an adiaphoron, and ourselves as the weaker brother. For the sake of discussion, let’s concede that argument: music is a thing indifferent; those who cannot in good conscience use certain music are weaker brethren who should not seek to restrict the liberty of their stronger brothers.

Even granting all of this, it seems to me that the employment of the very music which pains the conscience of the weak brother in the gathered worship of the church is relevantly akin to the Corinthian church serving idol meat at the church picnic. (For those who insist that idol meat is not a thing indifferent, substitute the unclean meat from Romans 14; the point goes through either way.)

I concede that what I’m suggesting here invites the potential of being handcuffed by a perpetually offended minority of the church; undoubtedly, there are practical limits of this kind of deference. Nonetheless, I still think that the basic principle is sound.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Worship

 

The church picnic of Corinth

Meat is a thing indifferent, an adiaphoron. We have this as clear apostolic pronouncement, and no Christian can claim otherwise. None of the Roman nor the Corinthian brethren, having read Paul’s letter, could afterward insist that eating meat (even if it was unclean or offered to idols) is sin.

Let us suppose, then, that the church at Corinth held a church picnic. (If the church at Corinth was a Baptist church, as some suggest, such a happening is certain). And let us further suppose that the bulletin announcement looked something like this:

If your last name begins with Α-Μ, bring a salad. If you last name begins with Ν-Ω, bring a dessert. The church will supply the meat.

Would Paul approve of purchasing the meat for the church picnic at the idol temple?

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Worship