Tuesday, August 3, 2010

332: Eat What You Want & Romans: In Review

Romans 14-16
"As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean." - Romans 14:14

Chapter 14 is again about not judging other people. Paul says that everyone's faith is different, and some people's faith allow them to do some things, while other's faith disallow the same thing. I'm really not sure what he's trying to say here. There are different rules for different people? The example he gives is that if one man's faith is strong, he can eat all kinds of food. While if another man's faith is weak he can only eat vegetables. How strong does your faith have to be to be gay?

He goes on to randomly say that, as someone who is in Jesus, that he doesn't believe anything is unclean to eat. What happened to Jesus not erasing any of the laws of the Old Testament? And what happened to not being a "slave" to sin? If we can disregard dietary laws why can't we disregard everything else? This is also contrary to the Apostles' letter to the gentiles saying they couldn't eat strangled animals, or animals sacrificed to idols.

Paul then clarifies that if you have doubts about what you're eating, then you are condemned. But if you eat with faith then you'll be fine. So you just have to be fully convinced what you're doing is right, then that makes it right?

Chapter 15 is all about Jews and Gentiles accepting each other because they all have Jesus in common. Paul also talks about his plan to visit Rome. Now I'm really confused about when Paul is writing this (not that it matters that much).

The entirety of chapter 16 (almost) is just Paul listing people that he wants to greet in Rome. Paul also says to watch out for people that are contrary to the teachings of Jesus, and to keep away from them. Wait a minute, how do you decide that they're doing something contrary to Jesus? Didn't we just talk about not ever judging someone, and how some people's standards are different based on their level of faith? Jesus spoke in parables, Paul speaks in contradictions.

*News*
Romans really starts to look like what I would call stereotypical "Christianity". That is, disregard random Old Testament laws, talk about sexual uncleanliness, talk about Jesus's salvation of humanity, etc.

Romans is interesting, though, in that it doesn't necessarily claim to be divine revelation. It's merely Paul's observation through the Holy Spirit. But with this criteria, any modern Christian (who is supposed to be endowed with the Holy Spirit) could write a letter and it would be just as legitimate as Paul's. That would be like putting Billy Graham's column into a book and calling it scripture.

For a book that seems to be the foundation of modern Christianity (or at least modern Christianity's rhetoric), you'd think the source would be a little more legitimate. It hasn't been so long, after all, since Paul was sending Christians to their deaths. Now he's supposed to be one of the authorities on Christianity?

Aside from his own self testimony (Jesus says self testimony is invalid, remember?), there is no evidence that would make Paul any sort of authority on Christianity. But, of course, we can't let lack of evidence ruin a perfectly good story.

*News*
Don't worry about your finances. God will take care of it:
Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:32-33 (NLT)

*God promises to meet all your financial needs, if you (1) ask him for help; (2) learn to be content; (3) practice giving in faith; (4) maintain your integrity; and (5) trust him with your life
It took me about 5 seconds on Google to reveal the bullshit in this statement.
NAIROBI, KENYA (BosNewsLife)-- Christian aid workers were closely monitoring the situation in Kenya Saturday, February 11, amid reports that Christians are starving as famine spreads across the African nation and nearby countries, effecting millions of people.
I guess these starving Kenyans just didn't "learn to be content" enough. Maybe these rules only apply to American Christians? Even on an infinitely more superficial level, Christians every day lose their homes because of financial troubles. That's far from God "meeting all your financial needs".

This is my favorite part:
Worry is really just a form of atheism. Every time you worry, you’re acting like an atheist. You’re saying, “It all depends on me.” That’s just not in the Bible.

Worry is a warning light that you doubt the love of God. Yet, the Bible says God “provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.” (Psalm 111:5, NIV)
Rick Warren (the writer of this article), just like Jesus, forgets to add any qualifiers to this statement. Some things are perfectly healthy to worry about. "Am I going to get hit by a bus crossing the street?", that worry causes you to look both ways. If you worry about your financial situation, you're probably more likely to keep a budget. In short, it does depend on you.
And the book of Romans tells us that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for you to pay for your salvation. If God loves you enough to send his own son to die for you, don’t you think he loves you enough to take care of your bills?
If God doesn't love people enough to prevent children from dying agonizing deaths from cancer, I don't think he's going to bat an eye if you can't pay your credit card bill. Please, work to make your life better (even if you have to worry a little), don't wait for God to do it for you.

2 comments:

  1. I've already commented about Romans 14. I'll just add here that if the Apostolic Conference had ever occurred in the manner as depicted in Acts 11, then there is no way Paul would be writing this letter to the Romans like this, considering that it takes place well afterward. (This letter was written while Paul was on his final journey to Jerusalem.) Acts 10 already depicts Peter eating with gentiles, whereas the Apostolic Decree ironed out exactly what Xians could and couldn't eat (and contradicts Romans, as you've pointed out). As we'll see in Galatians, the content of that meeting was different. But it also seems that Paul has changed his mind a little since Galatians, since the position that he advocates here is closer to that of Peter, which Paul criticized.

    Rom 15:3. Note that in the sole example of this letter that concerned the example of Jesus, Paul quotes scripture to tell us how Jesus behaved. Doesn't Paul have any eyewitness testimony to appeal to?

    Rom 15:4. In a similar vein, only scripture is appealed to as a source from which one can learn about "endurance and the encouragement." Nothing from Christ himself.

    Rom 15:16,18. Again, Paul, in contradistinction to Acts, defines himself as a minister to the Gentiles.

    Rom 15:17-19. Paul will only speak of what Jesus/God has accomplished through Paul, including his "signs and miracles" (about which unfortunately Paul tells us nothing). Paul will say nothing at all about what Jesus himself accomplished in his lifetime. (In v. 19 the word "of" in the expression "gospel of Christ" means the "gospel about Christ" in Greek.) Why is Paul so egotistical that he could totally subordinate Jesus' preaching to his own? And wouldn't other Xians have noticed this?

    Rom 15:19. There was no mention in Acts of Paul visiting Illyricum.

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  2. A man walks, sometimes alone, yet, better if not for having CRABS,,,, yes,,,, crabs,,,, as it is written, now let it be known.

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