How Doctrinal Diversity is Affirmed in Scripture: PART 3 (Paul the pre-modernist)

Imagine if a Christian College or church would be faced with a controversy in which one side was engaged in a practice the other considered not just a theological difference, but outright idolatry. The one side swears that to shofar_idolparticipate in this activity is to compromise the holiness of Almighty God, to participate in idolatry, and to financially support those who commit this blasphemous immorality.

The other side is saying, “Chill, would you! This is just a good place to shop, if I don’t believe in what they are doing what’s the big deal, there is only ONE God almighty and I worship him through Christ Jesus.”

I don’t seem room for compromise. If there is absolute truth, there can only be one way to see every situation, there is only BLACK and WHITE – no room for grey. Yet this is exactly the situation the apostle Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 10.

  • 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 25Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 27If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake— 29the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? 30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
  • 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

So which is it Paul, can I eat – or not? Is Paul is falling into the trap of post-modernity (in his pre-modern era)? “Either something is right or wrong – It cannot be both, because that is relativity, and post-modern relativity opens to door for eroding the belief in absolute truth.”

No, I don’t think Paul is treating truth lightly. I think Paul just understands what some of my “FRIENDS” fail to see. You can allow for some “cultural” relativity, you can have “cultural sensitivity” and not be on the verge of heresy. Go back to Acts 15, re-read the book of Galatians – these scriptures addressed the need for “freedom”. It’s easy to dismiss the issues they were beefing about, meat offered to idols, circumcision, special days of worship and observance – but to the Jews and Gentile believes these issues sprang from very deeply help “doctrinal” beliefs. The Jewish Christians believed their relationship with God hinged on how they believed and acted in regards to these issues. Yet Paul echoed what Jesus said – Unity in Christ is more important than your personal beliefs of doctrinal correctness.

Again, Jesus never prayed for the doctrinal purity of the church…. But for our unity. He never said people would know us by our doctrine… but by our love. But it is so much easier to argue about beliefs than to live in sacrifice.

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