For Progressives and Conservatives

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. - Romans 14:1-4

Sure, Christians struggle all the time with judging those outside the church. But we also struggle with judging those inside the church who have differing theological perspectives than we do. The Apostle Paul writes about this at length in the book of Romans, and he shamelessly calls us to a gracious unity that embraces our differences.

In this particular setting, the ‘weak’ were those who came from a more conservative theological background and whose faith in Jesus led them to take the Old Testament scriptures very seriously, and thus they wouldn’t eat meat that had been sold in the meat markets because most of it was offered to idols as part of the preparation process. The ‘strong’ were the more progressive Christians who were open to eating meat because their faith in Jesus led them to accept all things as gifts and who didn’t feel as bound to the Old Testament laws.

If you find yourself on the conservative theological side of the spectrum, do you judge those who are more progressive (‘they are so liberal they probably don’t even believe in the Bible!’)? If you are on the progressive theological side of the spectrum, do you show contempt for those who are more conservative (‘they are so unenlightened and legalistic!’)?

Read through the passage again and let Jesus speak to you about your attitude towards his precious children. Then spend some time confessing your own sins and asking for the grace to not judge.