Category Archives: relating

Why can’t they see this?

While looking for some sermon audio on I conversationcame across an article by Tom Nettles that really peaked my interest. The article attempts to answer the questions: Why do my Christian friends have such an aversion to the Doctrines of Grace? How can I keep the channels of communication open and still make progress in helping them to understand? I will share it with you here and provide some highlights in an outline form. I will provide the link to the article at the bottom.

Difficulties and Priorities

He starts off by encouraging us not to get too obsessed with this personal dilemma. The highest priority is to share the gospel with folks. But he also shares 3 John 3 & 4:

3 For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

“Only rarely does something compare with the spiritual delight of seeing a friend, fellow Christian, or fellow minister embrace and enjoy this truth.”

Principles to Encourage Patience

Having a high view of God flies in the face of our natural tendency for pride, self-sufficiency, and independence.

Principle of growth

Maybe the reason they can’t understand is that they are in fact unregenerate.

In Ephesians 1:3-14 Paul provides a “clear and moving affirmation of the glory of God in His sovereign bestowal of salvation”, and then in 1:17-23 he prays for their understanding. So pray for your brother or sisters’ understanding as well.

Prayer, patience, and self-sacrifice are fundamental in discussing these truths.

Principle of common ground

Start by re-establishing the common ground of the gospel and common evangelical creeds.

Read the rest of this entry »


Relating to the weaker brother or sister

I continue to read through the book of Romans and today I sumo vs boyam in chapter 14. In this chapter Paul (through the inspiration of the Holy spirit) addresses how believers should relate to one another especially in cases where one is weak or a newly converted believer and the other is a stronger believer.

1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 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.

First I want to try and define each of these believers. What do I (or Paul) mean by a weaker believer? It almost goes without saying that anyone who is a new convert to faith in Christ would be a weaker believer. This would also pertain to anyone who might bring extra baggage from another religion such as the abstinence of eating meat and only eating vegetables. In the New Testament Christ does not hold up one type of food over over another. As a matter of fact in Acts 10 Peter is told by the Lord that we are not to honor one food over another such as was called clean and unclean but to honor the Lord for He has made it clean. So if someone remains in the conviction that they should not eat “unclean” food then I would contend they are weaker in the faith. Paul tells the believers in Rome that if one is of the opinion that some food is unclean and another eats the same food, the one who eats should not despise the one who does not. The stronger believer would be the one who is able to eat and drink without falling into guilt from an issue of conscience.

In order to love one another as Christ commanded we must not condemn one another on these matters of opinion. They are not sin. If we notice a brother or sister refraining from drinking wine because of personal conviction we should not push them to consume because God has not forbidden us to drink it. We may want to show them in scripture where wine is a blessing from God and thus can be consumed by believers. The same would hold that if a weaker believer saw another believer consuming wine they should not despise them. Because abstaining from wine is based on their own personal convictions.

For my two cents…..I remember this very thing being a topic of some debate when my wife and I first began attending Omaha Bible Church. There were some who regarded the abstinence of wine as a higher calling. Since there exists such an evangelical stigma with alcohol consumption some folks have made the consumption of it a sin, and binding what the Lord has not bound. I think we should be very careful not to despise those who have made this a “personal conviction”. Definitely steer them away from regarding it as a sin. And those who do abstain should be very careful not to despise those who do not have this “personal conviction”. Jesus gave us the command to love one another so that the world will know that we are His disciples. The weaker should love the stronger and vise versa.

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Posted by on June 22, 2007 in Christian living, relating, Romans


Going to bed mad

This should be avoided if at all possible. Especially married folks. I know this wisdom, but knowing and putting it to pavement is usually not the same. Know what I mean…Vern? Last night I posed a theology question to Robin, my lovely wife, and waited for her response. Now mind you my wife is a very independent thinker. She makes up her mind on things by thinking them through, usually. Only on rare occasions does she react based on emotion. So when she didn’t respond with an answer that was in line with what I had been thinking as the answer. I pressed on with some of the research I had done. Although I believed my research to be exhaustive it could still be considered subjective. After some discussion and some scripture research I still could not persuade her to my way of thinking on the subject. I must have been getting noticeably irritated because she decided the discussion was over. Now I allowed myself to get emotional and drew the “you never think my point on things is credible” martyr card that drives her crazy. Of course this was not a good direction to take the discussion. Do ya think? Well, it wasn’t. I still wanted to pursue the issue but it was falling on deaf ears by this time. In my own twisted way I had good intentions of resolving this before going to bed but Robin would not comply. We ended up going to bed mad at each other. I lay in bed unable to sleep so I went downstairs to watch some TV. It took me a long time to get unwound enough to get to sleep and hence today I am very tired. I had a pretty good day up ’till that point, but it’s a shame that what will probably be remembered is the argument. I need to figure out that a discussion is that, a discussion. I do not need to convince my wife of my view on things in order to change her mind. I have a feeling that what really got Robin upset is that in my attempt to convince her to think along the same lines as me, I may have come across as belittling her opinion. This is the very thing I asked her for to begin with.

So my advice to myself and anyone reading this is to learn how to discuss without making or thinking it personal. Don’t make stupid martyristic (if that’s a word) remarks. If you asked for their opinion, consider it, and don’t demean it by acting like they don’t know what they are talking about. And above all, if you are married, don’t go to bed mad.

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Posted by on March 23, 2006 in communication, marriage, relating