(March 05, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, shares a concern about Christians’ attitudes …
These are certainly very difficult days for Christians as we seek to comply with political requirements and changing social and moral values which, at times, may appear to violate our Christian convictions.
And how Satan can use this confusion to His advantage!
During these past two years this has been brought into focus as we have considered our response to some of the political requirements and medical recommendations relating to the coronavirus.
Church leaders frequently have been faced the task of trying to determine the right course of action to take. Concerning attending worship services at church they had three main choices…
(1) Close their churches until the pandemic is over,
(2) Keep their churches open to all and possibly spread the virus, or
(3) Compromise by having a service for the vaccinated and another for the unvaccinated.
I don’t believe that the solution to this problem is easy. Church leaders, with a good conscience, have often chosen different routes.
The same is true regarding our response to vaccinations. Some Christians have chosen to be vaccinated while others, for various reasons, have chosen not to be. So who is right? Some have argued that in Romans 13 Paul advised Christians to obey the governing authorities while others have argued that this must be balanced by the fact that we must obey God rather than men! (Acts 5:9).
Sadly, as opinions from both sides have been strongly argued, sometimes arrogantly, harshly or foolishly, they have often provoked the reaction of anger and sometimes hostility and abuse. How we Christians need to put a guard on our tongues!
James has wisely pointed out, ‘Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be’ (James 3:10).
I have seen pastors maligned and churches divided over such issues during these last few years. And sadly those who argue from both sides sometimes do so from a place of self-righteousness.
Deception of self-righteous judgment
With regards to coronavirus and many other associated matters, what I think or what you think is not necessarily correct. In truth the positions that people hold on these and many other many subjects are based on opinion rather than evident and incontrovertible biblical teaching. Unfortunately also, sometimes we Christians self-righteously elevate our opinions to the level of biblical truth!
When we do this, we walk in the self-righteous footsteps of the Pharisees. Self-righteousness is something about which we personally need to be aware and seriously to examine ourselves.
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were absolutely and sincerely convinced that they were right and were faithfully living according to the teaching of the scriptures – but they were sincerely wrong! We can so easily fall into this same way of thinking.
Self-righteousness is a subtle and dangerous deception that can trip up the most committed Christian. We must, therefore, often search our hearts before the Lord before we stand in judgment of our brothers and sisters.
Paul gave this warning which is very pertinent for us today, ‘So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!’ (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Stop judging others!
The fact is that many of the issues on which we should or should not take a stand as Christians are not clearly obvious, so we must respect the right of others to disagree with us. To the Christians in Rome, whose views evidently were not always in harmony, Paul wrote, ‘Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way’ (Romans 14:13).
However… on the other hand, there are evident theological and moral issues with which there is no biblical ambiguity. These we must strongly affirm and stubbornly refuse to compromise at any cost.
We need wisdom to know the difference between personal opinion and biblical truth – and grace to implement it!
Dr Jim McClure, author of several books and Bible study series, welcomes questions from Christians seeking enlightenment on biblical perspectives.
His helpful book, Looking for Answers in a Confusing World, is offered free as are all of Dr Jim’s highly recommended writings – such as Grace Revisited, Looking for Answers in a Confusing World, Overview of the Old and New Testaments, Love, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, The Masonic Deception, Word of Life in the Old and New Testaments, Interpreting the Letter of James, and Faith Works – A Commentary on the Letter of James. All are available in electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks and. Link for orders and questions: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com