June 21, 2021•502 words
Coffee & Christian Worldview
Stronger brothers and "personal convictions."
"Mature Christians should not have personal convictions."
Why say that?
"Personal convictions" are had by weaker believers, and you cannot be mature if you are weak in knowledge.
Also: "Mature Christians should never be stumbled."
Stronger Christians should never be stumbled by another's exercise of Christian liberty.
Because they have the accurate understanding that all things are lawful.
Using biblical terms in biblical ways. Use the terms God uses. And when using them differently than the Bible, clarify what you mean.
To say that stronger Christians, even mature Christians, may have personal convictions (in the sense of convictions that they do have) is not the biblical use.
Pastors cannot have personal convictions. They should be strong in knowledge, conviction, will, and conscience, and growing in love.
Do stronger brothers have "differing opinions"?
Personal Convictions: scruples of weak Christians (Rom. 14:22)
Stronger brothers know that nothing is unclean in itself. Adiaphora will not make them guilty. Likewise, they won't be offended by other strong Christians using their liberty. And they cannot be persuaded to violate their conscience. They don't condemn themselves in what they approve (Rom. 14:22).
Are all stronger brothers of the same opinion—meaning how they use their liberty?
Common misunderstanding: all stronger brothers will all engage in the same activities and never say "no" to anything.
Differing opinions: I approve of this, you approve of that.
Neither is sin. We are in the area of liberty, not sin.
Examples of OPINIONS:
- public education
- Netflix subscription
- movie ratings
- Bible translations
In his excellent essay, "The Bible Doctrine of the Separated Life," J.G. Vos even mentioned opium and marihuana.
You should have a biblical rationale for your opinions; not arbitrary.
"One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up."
Do stronger brothers have "misplaced scruples"? No. There is no guilt over things that are not sinful.
Could a weaker brother and stronger brother share the same scruple?
Yes, because it's an opinion.
Example: refraining from R-rated movies. Both could refrain, but for different reasons.
Weak: it's sin for him.
Strong: it's lawful, but not profitable for him. A differing stronger brother will not persuade him.
In regard to scruples, the difference between strong and weak believers is:
it moves from sin for them to not profitable.
As a weaker brother becomes a stronger brother, he may still refrain from the same indifferent thing, but his reason will have changed.
Strong Christians will have differing opinions, and each must be fully convinced in their own mind.
Fully convinced in your own mind.
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Written by Bryan Teoh