by Rick White

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How to Decide About Questionable Things (11 of 12)
Rick White
1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Introduction: Chapters 8-10 of 1 Corinthians continue Paul's answers to questions asked in the letter to him mentioned in 7:1. All three chapters deal with the problem of questionable practices, which in Corinth centered around eating food that had been offered to idols.

That specific problem still exists in parts of the world for Christians saved out of idolatrous religions. Even for the rest of us, however, the basic problem that confronted the Corinthians faces all of us. The issue is: How far does Christian freedom go in regard to behavior not specifically forbidden in Scripture?

During the past several generations some of the strongest debate among fundamentalists and evangelicals has centered around questionable practices--practices that many believers feel to be wrong but that are not specifically forbidden in Scripture. Some of the key issues have been drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking, card playing, wearing makeup, dancing, Sunday sports, styles of music, and going to the theater or movies. One reason Christians have spent so much time arguing those issues is that the Bible does not specifically forbid them.

It is not that those and many similar issues may not be important. But we cannot speak as authoritatively about them as we can such things as stealing, murder, slander, adultery, or covetousness--which Scripture plainly forbids as sinful. Both the Old and New Testaments mention many things that believers are prohibited from doing. Likewise both testaments teach many things that are always good to do--loving and worshiping God, loving our neighbor, helping the poor, and so on. Those specific things are black or white, wrong or right.

Many behaviors, however, are not commanded, commended, or forbidden in Scripture. They are neither black nor white, but gray. Such issues in one age or area may not be the same as those in other tim ...

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