A Matter Of Personal Conviction

QuestionsThe Outspoken TULIP exists as a response to compromise within present-day evangelicalism. Many (if not most) evangelicals have capitulated to worldly philosophies and practices including yoga, homosexuality, contemplative prayer and psychology. Definitely, Scripture demands that we separate from such things.

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.” ~~2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (ESV)

So absolutely, Bible-believing Christians have an obligation, in obedience to God’s Word, to separate from anything that would contaminate their devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. As the apostle John says, loving the things of the world only goes to expose our lack of love for the Father (1 John 2:15-17). Our study of Paul’s epistle to Titus each Monday has been showing us the importance of living differently from our non-Christian counterparts.

Many areas in which we must distinguish ourselves should be obvious. God’s Word gives clear guidelines that we can apply to various situations. My regular readers know the issues that I will not compromise on, and why these matters mustn’t be compromised.

But there are some matters on which the Bible gives room for individual conscience. Some activities, while not sinful in and of themselves, can cause a Christian to stumble. I have, for example, a personal conviction that I ought to wear hats to church. But I have an equally strong (and maybe even stronger) conviction that I would be sinning if I told my sisters in Christ to cover their heads in church.

Scripture makes it abundantly clear that Christians have liberty in certain areas of life, and that those of us with more scruples must avoid imposing our convictions on brothers and sisters who don’t share those convictions.

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  ~~Romans 14:1-4 (ESV)

Again, I’m not talking about things that clearly violate sound doctrine. Watching a TV program that overflows with explicit sexual content is obviously unacceptable for any Christian, for instance. But watching TV in general may not be sinful for people who choose their shows carefully. I shouldn’t judge a person who believes she shouldn’t own a TV (think of all the money she’s saving!), and she shouldn’t judge me for watching (my disability necessitates going to bed three hours before lights out, and I physically can’t hold books in bed).

Christian liberty varies from person to person in these gray areas, and I know we’d all be more comfortable with clearly delineated regulations. How long should hemlines be? Should a couple kiss before the wedding? What  about sending a child to public school? Is an overweight person guilty of gluttony? Can I have a glass of wine with dinner? Was it sinful not to vote for Trump? Was it sinful to vote for Trump? I have strong opinions on most of these questions, but I can’t pass those opinions off as Scriptural principles.

Yes, we must be cautious in enjoying the liberties the Lord gives us. I won’t tell you what I watch on television, because you may have convictions against watching those programs. But neither will I insist that you educate your children according to my (extremely strong) convictions about homeschooling. I will speak out quite loudly on things that go against God’s Word, certainly, but not on disputable matters.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin