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BroRog
Dec 29th 2008, 09:47 PM
For this thread I would like to compare Romans 14 with Galatians 1-4 and ask what made the difference in Paul's attitude between the weaker brother in Romans 14 and the Circumcision Party in Galatians.

For instance, in Romans 14 Paul doesn't seem to have a problem with someone who might want to keep the Sabbath Day, but in Galatians he seems to have a problem with keeping the Mosaic Law, of which the Sabbath Day is a part.

He has no problem with dietary laws, or cleanliness laws, or keeping special days, all of which are parts of the Mosaic Law.

Those who do these things he calls the weaker brother, but he is tender toward them, and asks each of us to respect those who attempt to please God in their piety.

So why is Paul so upset with Peter and Barnabus when they decide to eat kosher etc.? And what makes the gospel brought by the men from James a false gospel?

Emanate
Dec 29th 2008, 10:08 PM
For this thread I would like to compare Romans 14 with Galatians 1-4 and ask what made the difference in Paul's attitude between the weaker brother in Romans 14 and the Circumcision Party in Galatians.

For instance, in Romans 14 Paul doesn't seem to have a problem with someone who might want to keep the Sabbath Day, but in Galatians he seems to have a problem with keeping the Mosaic Law, of which the Sabbath Day is a part.

He has no problem with dietary laws, or cleanliness laws, or keeping special days, all of which are parts of the Mosaic Law.

Those who do these things he calls the weaker brother, but he is tender toward them, and asks each of us to respect those who attempt to please God in their piety.

So why is Paul so upset with Peter and Barnabus when they decide to eat kosher etc.? And what makes the gospel brought by the men from James a false gospel?


I do not believe the issue Paul is addressing pertains to the commands of the OT. Paul is addressing Jewish Law, extra-biblical commands imposed by the religious leaders as a measuring stick for righteousness. Many of the believers were submitting themselves to the Jewish authorities and placing an emphasis on tradition when Paul rebukes those who live by man made traditions to attain piety.

drew
Dec 29th 2008, 10:31 PM
I believe that the answer lies in the fact that in the Galatians situation, Paul was responding to something that he saw as highly problematic - that some Jewish Christians were unwilling to eat at the same table as some Gentile Christians. Paul responds by stressing that the Torah has been abolished in respect to any practices that would distinguish Jew from Gentile - sabbath, kosher laws, etc. Paul is deeply concerned in Galatians with putting an end to what appears to be an effort on the part of some Jews to divide the church along Jewish and Gentile lines. And, of course, Paul sees no distinction between Jew and Gentile as the result of Jesus' work.

In Romans, on the other hand, there is no specific crisis as there was in the Galatian church. So perhaps Paul is willing to let some follow Torah-inspired traditions.

Brother Mark
Dec 29th 2008, 10:46 PM
There is a difference between a weaker brother, who may sin against his conscience when he follows your example and a controlling brother that will teach you and try to control your behavior through bad teaching.

For instance, one may feel it a sin to watch TV. Upon seeing you, a man he admires, watch TV, he himself may watch it even though he thinks it a sin. Thus, in his heart, he now feels convicted because whatever is not of faith, is sin. He is a weaker brother that sinned against his conscience. Such a one, we should give up our freedoms for.

The other will go and preach to you that you should give up your TV even though there is no reason to do so. He will not follow in your example but rather, teach you to follow his. He will preach as he did in Galatians that such things are the laws of God even to the point of saying one must do it to be saved, in some cases. In so doing, he is a controlling brother.

The one gets mercy. But not the other.

So we behave differently for the weaker brother than we do the controlling brother.

Equipped_4_Love
Dec 29th 2008, 11:15 PM
As Christians, we have full and complete liberty in Christ; even so, Paul also reminds us that we should not jeopardize this liberty by doing things that we know will offend a weaker brothers' conscience.

I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that it is just as much to protect our liberty as it is to protect their conscience:

1 Cor. 10:29 Conscience, I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man's conscience? But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks

I think Paul is saying here that such behaviour not only protects the person with the weaker conscience, but also protects those who have a stronger concept of liberty from being unfairly judged by the weaker brethren.

1 Cor. 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things edify

Even if something is lawful to do, if that thing will bring unfair accusations and judgement, then it is not helpful. Not only that, but it doesn't edify the body as a whole.

I think a lot of people get hung up on the issue of protecting the weaker brother, which is important, but they fail to recognize that it is just as much about protecting one's liberty in Christ, and the stronger Christian from being unfairly judged.

In the end, the person with the weaker conscience will be judged by God according to his own conscience.

crossnote
Dec 30th 2008, 07:49 AM
I agree with Brother Mark with the addition that in Galatians the truth of the Gospel (justified freely by Christ apart from works) was at stake. Paul makes the seriousness of this matter clear at the beginning of the letter.

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
(Gal 1:8)

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
(Gal 2:16)

BroRog
Dec 30th 2008, 06:54 PM
Were the men from James Christian men?

Teke
Dec 30th 2008, 10:11 PM
Were the men from James Christian men?

Yes, but they were Jewish Christians. And they didn't necessarily represent James. They were likely trying to force the culture of the Jerusalem church on Gentiles. To mistake culture, any culture, for the gospel is wrong.

In Romans I believe Paul is pointing out a superior principle, that being to sacrifice one's rights and refrain from causing spiritual harm. As verse 17 in chapter 14 says, "for the kingdom" is "righteousness and peace and joy".
A conscience informed by faith is the best guide in matters that do not concern other people. If one violates his conscience informed by faith, he sins.

Bear in mind that Paul is drawing from his own experience. He once persecuted Christians for the sake of the Jews.