With all the conversation going on about Christian living, particularly with reference to alcohol, I thought it would be helpful to think through the issue here on the blog. Before we commence there are a few ground rules:
1) this is primarily for my own benefit as I think through the issue of how to use my Christian Liberties as a pastor;
2) this posts is about the issue of Christian Liberty not about how the conversation has been handled by others;
4) I want to deal with principles not specifics (Not because that is the only way to do. I just want to develop principles I can live by without being distracted by other conversations.).
Before I go any further I also want to share my personal philosophy on Christian Liberty as a pastor. Simply put, if it could hinder my ability to minister to someone in my congregation I don’t do it. I know you are already poking holes in that philosophy, but hey, that is why I am working through the issue now!
All that being said, here are the questions I ask of myself when I am trying to work through a specific issue:
Does it directly violate God’s law? (1 Cor 10:23a)
Can I honor God if I do it? (1 Cor 10:31)
Can I honor God if I don’t do it? (1 Cor 10:31)
Does it violate my conscience? (Rom 14:22-23)
Am I concerned for God’s glory or my own rules? (Rom 14:10-13)
Does this promote or hinder peace and edification in the body? (Rom 14:19-20)
Would this cause confusion or offense for other Christians? (Rom 14:1-9, 21; 1 Cor 10:32)
Would this hurt my Christian witness? (1 Cor 10:31)
Am I willing to unselfishly and lovingly forfeit my freedom? (Rom 14:7-8, 20; 1 Cor 10:23, etc.)
[For leaders: What excess could those under me make out of this freedom? (James 3:1)]