I previously posted on my musings regarding the strength and obligations of conscience.
As if on cue, an issue came up in our home over the weekend of rather gargantuan proportions. There will be many times like this for us in the years to come as our children begin to enter the realm of adulthood and struggle to own their faith rather than merely stand on the shoulders of their parents.
And right now my shoulders are slumping with the realization that we have preached some things as law where there is no law. A number of scriptural principles have been pinging around in my brain as we wrestle with these issues and as we watch our adult children wrestle, as well.
Three principles, to be exact.
Principle #1: Adding to or taking away from God's word is dangerous, foolish business. Both legalists and libertines will reap consequences for themselves. (Rev. 22:18-19) When we teach that a certain belief must be held by all serious Christians, we parents are duty-bound to make sure that we are not adding to Scripture.
First, that already has a nasty little label called "legalism" which Pastor Mark Driscoll effectively defines as "bind(ing) everyone to your conscience, as opposed to allowing them to operate according to their own conscience." Second, it is a heavy load to bear when you discover that you have passed on your extra-Biblical thinking to another generation, a generation that looks to you for counsel and wisdom. Third, it compounds the sin of legalism to rear another legalist.
Principle #2: Everyone must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5) I do have to land on one side of the issue and not be a fence-sitter. As Zach told me this past weekend, "I can't use Romans 14 as a cop-out. I do have to wrestle with some issues, and I do have to have some convictions." I couldn't agree more.
I, like Zach, would much prefer the world to be entirely black and white.
Spelled out for me.
Just tell me what to do, and I'll do it.
But...could it be that God intends for us to wrestle? Does wrestling build spiritual muscle? Does wrestling bring sanctification? Does wrestling help us love God with all our minds? I'm now quite suspicious that this has been God's plan all along.
This principle needs a post all of its own.
More to come.