Summary: How to deal with differences, especially theological differences?
How to handle differences, including theological diffrences?
What I called, 4 A’s method:
1. Address the issues as it is (vv1-3)
2. Address the truth (understand) (vv4-6)
3. Address different perspective (seeing f/ different perspective) (vv7-9)
4. Address truth in love (vv10-13)
- 2 epistles to Corinthian church
- one of the most important city in Greece
during Paul’s time
- Greek poet Homer called it, "wealthy
Corinth: in 850 BC
- the connecting link bet/ Rome, the
capital of the world at the time, and the
- 700,000, about 2/3 whom were slaves
- very diverse groups
- into gambling, legalized temple prostitution,
business adventure, sea port city (1 Cor 6:9- 11)
- home of Temple of Aphrodite (or Venus),
pagan temple had 1,000 religious prostitutes
- both male and female prostitutes abundant
- people in Corithian church was much like us, our church, different nationality, social, economic and religious backgrounds. No wonder they had many different views in the church, causing Paul to write this letter
In today’s story, 1 Cor 8, the issue was, whether to eat or not to eat meat? What is right? To eat or not to eat meat that was offered to an idol?
How about you? Are you a vegetarian or meat eater?
Often our divorce, church break up, and broken relationships emanate from very trite things - like eating or not eating meat!
How many marriages are broken over differences in view, democracy and communist?
No, it begins w/ small and trite things ... like rolling a toilet paper inside out or outside in! (give Ann Lander’s stat)
Toothpaste: do you squeeze from the bottom? middle? or don’t know? May God help you if you are like my wife, doesn’t care where you squeeze ... you guessed it, I am f/ the bottom.
Silly, huh. Does it really matter where you squeeze your toothpaste from? We need to pick and choose our fights.
Chicago: Moody Church breaks over the position of a piano.
The issue in Corithian church in chapter 8 was about idol worshipped meat, how about for us?
Drinking, smoking, tatoo, baptism, kinds of music, style of worship? What is so comfortable to me? What I believe is to be right?
Through Paul, God teaches us how to handle differences, including theological differences.
4 A’s method:
1. Address the issues as it is (vv1-3)
Paul states the problem as it is. He does not sugar coat, take side, tro lessen nor hide the problem. He invites all to have an honest and open dialogue. v1, "let’s talk about food t/ has been sacrificed to idols" He doesn’t say, "you people who believe this way and t/ way ..." We must learn to separate issue f/ people.
What happened is that the people bring the meat for sacrifice to their idol, the priest then, burn some as a sacrifice, give some to the worshipper and keep the rest. Often the preist would sell the meat back to meat market (makellon), located south of the marketplace. "eidolothuton" The word translated as "meat" is really the broader word for "food" (brosis), but since it involves altar sacrifices and the meat market, rightfully translated as meat. (1 Cor 10:25)
Paul opens up with addressing the superficial issuse first (v1), then, he addresses the real issue, the real motives, what is inside our heart (v1/b,c). Then he provides real solution in v3. ...arrogant (RSV, NLT), puffs up (NASB), i.e, self-righteous and self-importance.
SI: God knows all, but we don’t know everything.
Backpacking: thousand feets high, layers of mountains, ... yet, God knows exactly where the animals and insects (billions) are and what they are up too!
30,000 known spider spieces, many more to be found yet ... we eat about 3 spiders per year. God knows where they are in this sanctuary. Do you?
Train in Korea: A boy sitting at the "elderly, pregnant and disabled" people giving him dirty looks, in Korea, even now, young people voluntarily give up their seats (normal seats) to elderly, so people’s response was understanding. The boy must have felt their resentful stares, felt uneasy, felt their dislike, even embarrased, slowly got up, suddenly they noticed that this boy had only one leg as he desperately try to find a balance in this fast moving train. How do you think those people must have felt?
We are not God. We don’t know everything. What he is going through now. What dire circumstances she is in now.
There should be a healthy balance between knowledge and love. Need both. Knowedge exist to love. Therefore, if knowledge does not edify other bro/sis, i.e., if they don’t feel loved, then such knowledge is nothing more than self-idol. Edify (NASB), build up (RSV, NLT) (Gk meaning edify ...)