Nov 19 2009

The Left at Christian Universities, Part 14: Does the secular Left believe its faith more firmly than the Christian academy believes its own?

Category: higher education,left,religion,theologyharmonicminer @ 10:16 am

The previous post in this series is here.

There is very little here with which to disagree, so I present in its entirety this post at BLOG and MABLOG

Carl Henry once said, “If evangelicals lose the battle for the mind of contemporary man it will be in their own colleges.” That’s the kind of prophetic and semi-inscrutable statement that we could use a lot more of, and which unfortunately, we don’t hear a very much any more. Since Henry wrote those words, the tide of the battle to which he referred has generally gone against us, and it was grim in his time. There are some hopeful signs here and there, but by and large, the Christian establishment for higher education has presented to a disintegrating world mere echoes of that disintegration, instead of a robust alternative to it. The academic fads that tear through the secular halls of learning stroll through our halls of learning. The virulent forms of unbelief that plague the postmodern mind commend themselves (always in milder forms) to us. We have come to believe that Christian counterculture consists of driving down the road to perdition at a slower rate of speed. But slow damnation is not the biblical alternative. The higher education of evangelicalism resembles the unfortunate politician that Winston Churchill once compared to a seat cushion — he always bore the impress of the last person who sat on him.

Henry again. “My guess would be that on balance the secular universities more effectively communicate humanism than many of our religious colleges succeed in communicating biblical theism.” They catechize their own more effectively than we do. They train their next generation in the tenets of their faith more rigorously than we do.

When the secular great ones assemble in their magnificent banquets, and a faithful believer comes into their hall, his presence will generally take one of two forms. Either he will attend as John the Baptist did, with his head on a platter, or he will attend as Daniel did, in order to translate the words of judgment that were written on the walls by a celestial hand. But we show up with all the confidence of a leper in a rented tux two sizes too large.

This is all very general, so let me mention a few specific areas where Christian higher education has lost its bearings and consequently its way. Our institutions (generally) do not exhibit biblical faith and fidelity on matters of: human sexuality that reflects God’s image, male and female; the doctrine of biblical creation; the meaning of history and the glory of Christendom; the serious idolatry of Enlightenment categories; the risible idolatries of postmodern rejection of Enlightenment categories; and the foundational need for Christian colleges to be free of financial entanglements with the secular state. For starters.

In short, Christian higher education no longer believes that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. Having begun with Carl Henry, let me conclude with another of his most trenchant observations.

“The intellectual decision most urgently facing humanity in our time is whether to acknowledge or disown Jesus Christ as the hope of the world and whether Christian values are to be the arbiter of human civilization in the present instead of only in the final judgment of men and nations.”

And so let me propose a little thought experiment. Suppose that glorious statement above were to be presented to the board of trustees of every Christian seminary, college and university in North America, as well as to every faculty senate, and suppose it were presented for a straight up or down vote. How would the vote go? How would the truth fare? Exactly, and therein lies our problem. And the only way out is repentance.

So, now I am prepared to answer the question posed in the title of this post, “Does the secular Left believe its faith more firmly than the Christian academy believes its own?”

The answer? It depends on what you mean by the notion of “the faith of the Christian academy.”

And therein lies the problem, since, it seems, no one is quite sure these days.  And sadly, with all of that, there seem to be all too many matters of essentially complete agreement between the Christian academy and the secular Left at secular institutions.  Those matters of agreement seem to be far more determinedly defended by Christian academics than the things that make them distinctively Christian.  We can talk about whether Jesus’ message and life were more about personal salvation or corporate lifestyle and social justice, but woe to anyone who questions the underpinnings of anyone’s secularly defined disciplinary methodology, or the theory of knowledge that underlays it.  After all, some things are just too important to trifle with.

Did Jesus rise from the dead?  It depends on what you mean by “rise from the dead.”    If Jesus rose from the dead, does that matter to us today?  It depends on what you mean by “matter.”  Or maybe “today.”  Or “us.”  Or even “Jesus.”

But in some quarters, “diversity” and multiculturalism are without doubt absolutely required perspectives, more or less without nuance, for all good Christians who are listening to the Holy Spirit.

Whatever the Holy Spirit may actually be, I mean.  And whatever you mean by “Christian.”

H/T:  Melody

The next post in this series is here.

31 Responses to “The Left at Christian Universities, Part 14: Does the secular Left believe its faith more firmly than the Christian academy believes its own?”

  1. Melody says:

    If you keep linking to my site, I might actually have to write a new post. I’ve been enjoying letting you carry the heavy water.

  2. harmonicminer says:

    Deuterium oxide is my specialty… though some of it is probably on my brain.

  3. Bob says:

    Your last comments on what “Christian” and “Jesus” and all that mean are really just pointing out the fact that language changes over time, right? We know that different people have different understandings of the word “Christian”. It’s not a bad thing to seek clarification. Is that what you are ridiculing, or something else?

    The comment at the end of the blog about “Christian values” similarly needs explaining. Does the author mean “Jesus’ way”? Does he mean “the Christian Left’s version of Christian values, focusing on care for the poor and social salvation”? Or, perhaps “the Christian Right’s version of Christian values, focusing on the sanctity of human life and personal salvation”?

  4. innermore says:

    RE: biblical faith and fidelity towards the opposition of modernists, post-modernists, evolutionists, post-evolutionists, Post Raisin Bran, gays, leftys, abortion doctors, Muslims, secular states, atheists, strippers, liberals, aliens, umm who am I leaving out, Bill Mahr, lesbians, intellectual elites, corporations, Hindus, scientists, the news media, the music industry, the tire industry, Manny Moe and Jack…. Don’t look now but I think this biblical fidelity thing is getting a little Pharisaic, don’t you think?

    I have this image in my head of thousands of Zacchaeuses climbing the trees along the road, trying to get a better look.

  5. Melody says:

    So innermore, what year did you graduate APU?

  6. harmonicminer says:

    It all depends on whether the events recorded in the Bible actually happened that way, and whether those events meant what the observers and recorders of them thought they meant. “Language changes over time” do not obscure facts. It happened, or it didn’t. There are good historical grounds to believe it did, or there aren’t. Jesus lived, was crucified, and rose from the dead, or he didn’t. Everything else flows from belief or unbelief in these basic facts.

    If you believe the events happened and were faithfully recorded/assessed at the time, and believe it is partly your God-ordained task to help others come to the same perspective, then it is not “pharisaic” to act in that direction.

    It is not “pharisaic” merely to believe something strongly, and think it matters enough to work for it, which seems the approximate sense in which some people use the term. On that definition, Jesus Himself would be a “pharisee.” It is “pharisaic” to believe that your own personal goodness and faithfulness are what will or even can get you into heaven (literally or metaphorically). It is also “pharisaic” to be hypocritical (defined as thinking it doesn’t matter when YOU sin, but it does matter when other people do).

    Christians are people for whom it matters more to BE Christian than to get honorable mentions from the secular left.

  7. harmonicminer says:

    Reading over my last comment, I hope it is clear that the last sentence isn’t intended to be a “sufficient” condition for being a Christian, only a “necessary” one.

  8. Bill says:

    University – according to Ravi Zacharias the origin means Unity in Diversity. Diversity is a good thing. It is what this country believes in (the great melting pot). It allows for individuals to come to the party as they are without qualms. However, the unity is where we are getting into trouble. For the left – unity means allowing anything of any sort (as long as it isn’t to the right). Unity to the Right means – allowing diversity, but controlled by their constructs of governing bodies (size and type and ethical boundries in law). Unity to the Christian SHOULD mean all bound by the Truth. There can be only one truth by definition. The Christian understands that diversity can flourish under the Truth of Christ. This is the diversity that should be at the Christian University. Not diversity of truth, but diversity UNDER TRUTH.

    I heard it said, that when Pontias Pilot asked Christ “What is Truth?” then walked away – he walked away from the greatest authority to the greatest question in time …… then committed the greatest crime.

    Truth – what is it? If you don’t know…you really need to find out. There is no more important search.

  9. innermore says:

    I view being Pharisaic as more of an innocent ignorance than an outright negative. The intention of the Pharisees was to live a Godly life. It’s just that the approach was a little harsh. In the Bible, one can see the legacy of laws and labels that were added, altered, or cast aside due to social “progress” (or regress) over the generations. From Moses to Paul to Luther to whoever it is this week, the idea that law alone, or the interpretation of law, as a guideline seems to me to have been proven to be more of an obstacle than a path, eventually.

    Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because their labels and laws were inhibiting his mission; which was partly to teach the ways of living in the Spirit. He thought that living in the Spirit drew a better guideline than living in the law. But I don’t think he was naive. I think he was very aware of the important necessity of the wrestling tension between letter and spirit, Mary and Martha, Jew and Gentile, Christian and Secular, Left and Right. This passionate argument has *become* the guideline, which I guess is a little better than strict Jewish law, or Papal law, or Protestant law or whatever.

    …”help others come to the same perspective…” Hmm, I feel your passion. It is perfectly commendable to stand up for your beliefs. Preach it from the highest mountaintops if you like. But in doing so, I think it is wrong to accidentally or intentionally disrespect the beliefs of others, which seems to be happening far too often on both sides. For instance, let me refer to how Secularism was defined by Ghandi and subsequently in the Constitution of India (sort of). In the West, secularism does not respect any religion. In the East, secularism does not disrespect any religion.

    I’m not saying this for honorable mention, but I think it’s more productive to commend “the secular left” whenever possible (without losing your perspective). It seems to me that no matter how misguided these brothers and sisters are, at least they’re attempting to head somewhat in the right direction. I know that sounds totally wishy-washy Charlie Brown, but there’s gotta be some common ground. All battles must end in peace, somehow.

    If we could strip away all the political labeling and religious elaboration for just a second, I think we’d discover that we’re all really after the same thing. I have learned while living out my “perspective” that one way to help others “come to my perspective” is to at least try to point out and encourage the similarities to theirs, rather than exclaim and condemn the differences. But of course, I’m not naive.

  10. harmonicminer says:

    Innermore, you said, “In the East, secularism does not disrespect any religion.” Then you said you’re not naive.

    I’m trying to reconcile that, with little luck so far.

    I don’t see Jesus as “seeking common ground” with other points of view very much. I see Him as saying, “Here is the truth.” No one is saying that there is anyone who is always wrong about everything.

    But even when there are points of agreement on specific issues, it is critical to observe that the world-view of secularists (east/west/north/south/up/down/atmospheric/in orbit) is simply incompatible with Christianity. Is it “disrespecting” secularists to point that out? I don’t think so. It’s simply true.

    You said, “It seems to me that no matter how misguided these brothers and sisters are, at least they’re attempting to head somewhat in the right direction.” That is exactly the problem.

    They aren’t.

    But I will agree with you that they are misguided. And I don’t see that I would be behaving in a more Christ-like way to pretend otherwise for the sake of some kind of “rhetorical peace.”

    He brought a sword, remember?

  11. innermore says:

    Melody, I attended APC (later APU) as a music theory major from 1979 to ’83(?). I never graduated though. Too many mind-altering substances and Hollywood temptations. I still like arguing with Phil over “breaking the rules before you know them” as he used to say.

  12. innermore says:

    This is really fun, Phil.

    Here’s a little reconciliation. Paul said it is wrong to cause a brother to stumble. Christians apply that to other Christians. I apply that to everyone. If I tell somebody that his beliefs are a lie, in his eyes, not only am I causing him to stumble, I’m shoving him to the ground. Even if what I told him was the Absolute Truth, after doing that, I really doubt he would trust my outstretched hand to pick him back up. There must be another way. It is possible to respect the hearts of others, while disagreeing with what is in their minds. But I’m not naive enough to think it isn’t verrrrry difficult or at times impractical.

    Jesus didn’t pay much attention to the points of view of the day because he knew that they were temporary, and unimportant compared to the eternal truth that he was teaching.

    He also taught Peace be with you, my sword carrying brother.

  13. Bill Colton says:

    I recall Jesus calling the Pharasies a Brood of Vipers. He wasn’t causing them to fall – they were already fallen. Sometimes it takes direct exclamation in order to create a little discernment. Too many Christians in our society believe it is better to be politically correct while their brothers, sisters and potentials walk down the wrong path with the ultimate destination. Francis Schaefer in A Christian Manifesto declared that it is the Christians responsibility to stand up and shout the truth – even when unpopular. You owe it to others to point out truth. If you don’t, by silence – or politically correct jargon – you lead them to believe you agree they are on the right path. Remember, Jesus said there is only 1 way to the Father.

  14. harmonicminer says:

    Innermore, I have no doubt that some secularists “mean well” within the limited framework they possess. From their point of view, assuming there is no real “truth” to religion of any kind (which normally walks hand in hand with naturalism, materialism, etc.), they consider it to be a brave act to live as if something actually matters (when it really doesn’t, of course), and so they may live morally in general, not murder, rape or steal, etc. They may be against abuse of power, but only on the grounds that it makes it hard for the rest of us, not on the grounds that abuse of power is a usurpation of God’s prerogatives. And so on.

    There are only a few really big lies. They are:

    1) God does not exist.
    2) If He exists, He doesn’t care about you.
    3) If He exists, and cares about you, He can’t do much about it anyway (really, this is lie #1 in disguise, because such a god isn’t God)
    4) If He exists, it doesn’t really matter what you do or how you live (lie #2 in disguise)
    5) If He exists, He is so far beyond us that we can never understand Him or His intentions for us (a particularly vicious conflation of lies #1 and #2, as if He either couldn’t or wouldn’t make his created beings able to relate to Him)

    And so on.

    When Christians allow perspectives and policies into our institutions that in essence flow from one of these big lies, we are in big, big trouble.

    I affirm this: “Jesus didn’t pay much attention to the points of view of the day because he knew that they were temporary, and unimportant compared to the eternal truth that he was teaching.”

    And that’s still true today.

  15. innermore says:

    Miner, the good in people can be like a diamond in a pig sty at times. But it is something to dig up and treasure. I think seculars see a little more truth to religion than one might observe. But the truth is usually distorted by their own stereotypes, and is therefore not worth very much to them. Also most seculars are more confused about God’s prerogatives than intent on usurping them.

    The only big lie I would split microscopic hairs with you on (for the sake of just hearing myself talk) would be lie #4. In regards to God’s grace: To HIM, it doesn’t matter what you do or how you live, His loving forgiveness awaits, and His faith in you is endless. Of course, at times we mortals tend to do and live in err, causing us to lose sight, inflate pride and take advantage of, or refuse God’s forgiveness and love. So, to us, what we do certainly matters, which means it does matter to God in some ways, doesn’t matter perhaps ultimately. (?)

    re: points of view of the day.
    I’ve always noticed the one particular issue that did get Jesus’ dander up was the corruption of the religious leaders of the day. Although he loved and forgave his “Brood Of Vipers” (even while they were murdering him), I think he knew that they knew the truth about God, but were denying it to the people because that was a threat to their power. I guess only when it came to issues involving the “business of my Father”, he was very opinionated, even uncharacteristically indignant.

    To me “causing one to stumble” implies that the one about to stumble doesn’t see Bugs Bunny’s foot jabbing out in front of his legs as he’s running by. A certain amount of deception or manipulation is required in order to cause a poor sap to stumble. The assumed intent is to put down or to make a fool of. Speaking the truth *with love* (a.k.a. “The Way”) is meant to build one up; never intentionally causing uncertainty, stumbling, and subsequently mistrust. Shouting may cause the listener to shut his ears and become more determined to ignore the truth. We shouters need to be careful with our egos.

    Tackling a toddler before she wanders in front of a car is one thing, but we need to stop treating adults like children. Adults don’t just need to know, they need to know why. There needs to be some amount of mutual, EARNED respect before peers decide to discuss something as intimate as the way, the truth and the life.

  16. Melody says:

    Innermore, theory, huh? I was a music theory major in ’75. I hearn my living making music today. It’s great fun. I have a question for you; Do you think John the Baptist should have tempered his message? John the Baptist was the immediate forerunner of Jesus. His message was this, “Repent of your sins”! For this message he was beheaded. Why? Because he had the arrogance to publicly call Herod the tetrarch on his sexual sin. Herod had married his brother’s wife, Herodious. Here are some Biblical accounts of the event:

    Luke 3:19 “But when Herod the tecrarch was reproved by him (John) on account of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and on account of all the wicked things which Herod had done, he added this also to them all, that he locked John up in prison.”

    Mark 6:18 “For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife”.

    Matthew 14:3-4 “For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of this brother Philip. For John had been saying to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’”

  17. Melody says:

    I “earn” my living too.

  18. Bill says:

    God does care how we behave – much like a parent cares how his children behave. A parent still loves the child, but will punish, reprove and be unhappy with their behavior, whilst still loving them. There are examples in the Old Testament where God walked away from the people of Israel due to their unrepentant actions. There are verses about God not listening to your prayers due to an unrepentent heart.

    It seems that many people feel that the end all and be all of being a Christian is a ticket into heaven. They miss the relationship while on earth and the treasures in heaven.

    I use to play for a living by the way.

  19. harmonicminer says:


    you said

    The only big lie I would split microscopic hairs with you on (for the sake of just hearing myself talk) would be lie #4. In regards to God’s grace: To HIM, it doesn’t matter what you do or how you live, His loving forgiveness awaits, and His faith in you is endless. Of course, at times we mortals tend to do and live in err, causing us to lose sight, inflate pride and take advantage of, or refuse God’s forgiveness and love. So, to us, what we do certainly matters, which means it does matter to God in some ways, doesn’t matter perhaps ultimately. (?)

    I’m not quite sure what you’re saying here. Are you a “universalist”? Or are you stating a belief in “eternal security”? Or is this all meant to convey something else? In any case, I don’t see how you can draw the conclusion from scripture that God doesn’t care DEEPLY what we do and how we live.

  20. harmonicminer says:

    I still play for a living. Mostly hooky. But I do play.

    “Speaking the truth in love” does not mean “sounding like a Rogerian non-directive therapist.” It means actually saying something, something that is relevant to the person and situation at hand, something that needs to be said, and is being said because of concern/love for that person, and concern for truth (probably all the same thing).

    It may be impossible to “speak the truth” without love, because that communication will be distorted by some other motivation. And it may be impossible to be loving and NOT “speak truth.”

    So the whole phrase, “speak the truth in love,” is probably redundant as stated.

    Christians are not psychotherapists. We are not negotiators. We are not diplomats in the “can’t we just all get along” sense of the term. We are warriors. Soldiers of the cross. Followers of orders.

    “Speaking the truth in love”? There is no other way to do it.

  21. amuzikman says:


    You said –

    Paul said it is wrong to cause a brother to stumble. Christians apply that to other Christians. I apply that to everyone. If I tell somebody that his beliefs are a lie, in his eyes, not only am I causing him to stumble, I’m shoving him to the ground.

    A hypothetical for you: Imagine a busy highway. Just over the hill and out of sight the highway bridge which spans a deep canyon has just collapsed. I stand at the side of the road and wave my arms frantically to get drivers to stop. I shout “The bridge is out!” I even venture onto the road to try to stop the vehicles from speeding on to certain death.

    The drivers believe the road is safe, but I know those beliefs to be untrue, or as you put it..a lie. Am I causing the other drivers to “stumble”? Am I “shoving them into the ground”? Or am I warning them about impending death and doing what I can to save their lives? If I know The Truth and do not share it, then am I not like a man standing on the side of that same road smiling and waving to the cars as they go by, knowing what awaits them, but doing nothing?

  22. innermore says:

    I play with tractor trailers in Chicago for a living now. However, my passion profession is still the music. It’s down to tinkering with loops and samplers for me these days.

    miner, I didn’t say God didn’t care, I just said that perhaps, maybe, sorta, just a little teeny weeny bit; these things don’t matter as much as we might think they do. But on the other side of the paradox, nothing could matter more. Both concepts rubbing against each other keep us all from getting too full of it.

    Speaking of paradox, God’s warriors seek His peace and understanding.

  23. innermore says:


    God could not have selected a better candidate with the large enough heart and kahunas to baptize The Son Of Man! I’d love to hear some of the raging debates about war and peace those two must have had! If we are the salt of the earth, John The Baptizer was the rock salt; that really dirty stuff they’re spreading on the highways around here now.

    There are as many infinite ways of learning the Truth as there are infinite personalities to tell it.

  24. innermore says:

    1 more. Bill, your thoughts remind me of
    Pass your mouse over the little cross icon at the bottom.

  25. Melody says:

    innermore, why didn’t you address my question? Also, what are ‘kahunas’?

  26. Melody says:

    To save time, I looked up the word for myself –

    For other uses, see Kahuna (disambiguation).
    Kahuna is a Hawaiian word, defined in the Pukui & Elbert (1986) as a “Priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, minister, expert in any profession.” (See also Ancient Hawaii)

    Forty different types of kahuna are listed in the book, Tales from the Night Rainbow. Kamakau lists more than 20 in the healing professions alone, including for example Kahuna la’au lapa’au, an expert in herbal medicine and kahuna haha, an expert in diagnosing illnesses.

    With the revival of the Hawaiian culture beginning in the 1970s, some native Hawaiian cultural practitioners call themselves kahuna today. Others, particularly devout Christians, disdain the term. The word has been given an esoteric or secret meaning by modern followers of Max Freedom Long and Huna to emphasise a priestly or shamanic standing.

  27. innermore says:

    ooops sorry for the confusion. Big Kahunas are slang for umm, ahem… bravado.

    Obviously, given his personality it is doubtful John was capable of tempering his message. Yet, others give their message this way:
    I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with me. -Revelation Of John (chapter 3 something).
    Some stand at the door and wait for you to answer, others break the door down.

    I thought I did address your question:

    There are as many infinite ways of learning the Truth as there are infinite personalities to tell it.

  28. Bill Colton says:

    Innermore…how many Truths do you think there are?

  29. amuzikman says:


    Your free-form interpretation of Biblical text fragments is interesting but wholly lacking in terms of understanding based on context. These verses you quote are more than just a potpourri of poetic jargon, catchy phrases and thoughts for the day to be freely interpreted and interpolated. For example the passage you quote from Revelation (3:20) is directed at the church – those who are already believers, and has little to do with John the Baptist’s “calling out” of King Herod (an unbeliever) as quoted above. The quote you mentioned earlier “Paul said it is wrong to cause a brother to stumble.” (Either Romans 14 or I Corinthins 10) were both references to eating food, either by religious regulation or that which had been sacrificed to idols. Paul’s point was that Christians who did not have a problem with eating certain foods needed to be sensitive to those who did. How you can then take such a verse from it’s context and then apply it to telling an unbeliever the Good News about Christ is a stretch I do do not believe is supported by scripture.

    I am reminded of one of the very first lessons I learned on the subject of Biblical context when I was a new Christian. The teacher made the point using this example: The Bible says there is no God. Which is, of course true. Except that the complete sentence from Psalm 14:1 reads, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God”.

    If we merely ascribe our own meaning or rely on personal implication from Biblical passages in lieu of seeking to understand scripture within it’s context (sometimes very hard to do, admittedly) then the words have no meaning because each of us can simply declare it to mean whatever we like. Which takes us back to harmonicminer’s original point. There may be “many infinite ways”, (aside: how can there be more than one infinite?) if the Truth is vague, undefined or is subjected to so much personal interpretation. But the Truth Jesus spoke of seems much more tangible and specific to me.

    It should also be noted that the same Jesus who “taught Peace be with you” also said “Did you think I came to bring peace on earth? No I tell you, but division.” (Luke 12:49-53)

  30. innermore says:

    I try to respect the context and glean the meanings (not always successfully). John the Baptizer called out Herod. He told him to repent. Jesus stands at the door and knocks. To me (maybe not to someone else), this is also a call to repentance, but for believers. Both stories seem to have a similar theme in regards to repentance. I was just pointing out that there are many ways to express oneself, and I was illustrating 2 contrasting examples.

    The 2 specific ways I was talking about were: John’s way was brash and loud; probably like his personality (just a speculation). Jesus’ way is a little subtler (in this case); maybe more suited to his personality. Some prefer one way, some the other. I’m kind of a quiet guy. I like subtle. Maybe somebody else is more extroverted. They like loud. I may conclude that there are as many ways to communicate the truth as there are personalities, somebody else may not think so. Of course it is dangerous to take the context of an experience and try apply it to our current contexts. So we must try to wisely apply its meanings instead.

    Paul told the folks in Corinth to respect the cultural customs of the locals when ministering to them. In this case food customs. To me (maybe not to you), one of the lessons here directly applies to all ministry. Respect (yet not convert to) the beliefs of others.

    To be more specific if you’d like: as a meat consumer, in order to minister to a vegetarian (in certain circumstances) I need to respect her problem with eating meat. Others may disagree with the meaning I extracted from Paul’s letter just now, and how I applied it to my own experience. I can respect that too.

  31. Bill says:

    Inner – I agree with you that there are many different ways to communicate the Truth. Some loud, some thoughtful, some emotional, some intellectual – just as there are many different expressions of worship. Unfortunately, in today’s society – it is becoming more accepted that there is more than one truth, which by definition is not possible.

    I believe that Paul reveled in the freedom he had in Christ. Having lived for so long, bound by law and requirements of his position. However, he was cautioning – not to respect cultural customs – but actions in the freedom of Christ that might cause others to “stumble”. For instance, having a glass of wine with a friend may be okay – however if that friend happens to be an alchololic and the wine brings them back under the control of alchohol – it isn’t. We have freedom in Christ AND a responsibility to behave in a manner that doesn’t cause others to fall.

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