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Free to Disagree 4th June, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Bible, Books, Multnomah.
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Free to DisagreeI sure am getting through a lot of books this summer! This book Free to Disagree was written by one of my favourite professors at Multnomah, Dr John Wecks. It’s a pretty unusual book, in that I’m not aware of having read or seen any books that cover the topic… Gray Areas!

In those issues of life that the Scriptures don’t comment on, who is right and who is wrong? Should Christians smoke or drink? Should Christians dance? Should we watch R-rated movies or read certain books?

Primarily focusing on Roman 14-15 and 1 Cor 8-10 he paints a Biblical approach to conflict in the neutral issues within Scripture. Dr Wecks delves into what Paul means by his descriptions of the weaker brother and the stronger brother.

A weaker brother is a Christian, who, because of weakness of faith, might be influenced to sin against his conscience. (p23)

A strong Christian is a brother or sister whose strong faith and conscience allow him or her the freedom to participate in a debate matter without sinning. (p27)

The reference strong or weak doesn’t refer to the Spiritual Maturity of the person, but to the state of their conscience over the issue at stake.

In these neutral issues it is not the side taken that determines whether the person is sinning or not, but their attitude towards those who don’t agree. A weaker brother can sin by judging a strong brother for drinking a beer. A strong brother can sin by looking down on a weak brother for not drinking one. We are called to love one another… not to judge.

In a case where someone wants to drink beer (a strong brother, because their conscience permits it) and a weak brother mentions his discomfort (weak because his conscience does not permit it)… it is the duty of the weak brother to refrain out of love for the weaker brother’s conscience.

I read this book a couple of days after having a big conversation with a dear friend who thinks it is wrong to read books like Harry Potter. Her thoughts come from her upbringing in which she was taught that any association with things like witchcraft are dangerous and should be avoided. We had a great conversation as she asked my opinion. My conscience permits me to read the books, in fact, I adore them. We talked for a while exploring each others views about the books in a very loving way. There was no condemnation for me reading them, and there was no judging for her not. God loves me and I read them, and he loves her and she doesn’t. Who is right? Both of us! God blows me away. It is an amazing thing that God loves the Jew and the Gentile, the Wise and the Foolish, the Rich and the Poor, the Left and the Right, the Strong and the Weak, those who read Harry Potter and those who don’t!

Free to Disagree is an extremely Biblical book and as such, refreshing to read! It’s great to say that I expected nothing less from Dr. Wecks. He is probably the man I respect most in how he handles God’s Word, and I pray that I can become more like him! I have several classes with him over the next semester and am thoroughly looking forward to being around him more. Hopefully he’ll rub off on me some more!

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