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20050908

Table Grace

A person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume all Christians should be vegetarians and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
Romans 14: 1-12 The Message
The classic application of this bit of the Bible is the debate over alcohol. Some Christians are teetotallers - total abstainers. Some Christians enjoy a pint or two. And some struggle with life-threatening addiction. I grew up in a family with all three categories. My father was an alcoholic who every now and then had moments of prolonged sobriety. My mother was an abstainer by principle. And in between was us kids who were being schooled in two cultures.

The Evangelical culture I grew up in was one of total abstinence. I remember the minister stressing out at a wedding. He wasn't sure he could even drink water for fear of people thinking it was vodka! Those in leadership were to stay off the bottle for fear of offending the abstainers.

But I don't think that's what Paul's on about here. He's not talking about bending over backwards so that we change food and drink codes for fear of offending someone. The point is not to be offended by people who develop a different approach to food and drink culture.

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