Sunday, October 25, 2009

Romans 2

One of the interesting twists in this debate: The number of people in favor of the ELCA's changes who leap quickly to Romans 2, especially the first few verses that speak against judging another since we are all guilty. The implication that they draw out is that since we are sinners and are admonished not to judge, we should disregard Paul's argument and his list of sins in Romans 1.

The trouble with this stance is that it nullifies the good news of Jesus. If we do not recognize our sin, we will not recognize our need for a Savior. So in effect these people who claim to be all about acceptance and good will are instead advocating an "I'm okay -- You're okay" gospel that changes nothing.

A parable:

There was once a man who had been tied up with ropes as a child. He developed a pathological fear of ropes. Later in life the man was at sea and his boat went down. He floundered in the turbulent waters, crying out for help. A nearby boat drew up and threw a rope to the man, but he flailed and screamed in even greater terror. The man who had thrown the rope said, "Grab the rope! Grab the rope!" but the drowning man knocked the rope away time and again.

So it is with those who fear judgment. They may react so negatively to the whole idea of God's word naming sin that they push away the very thing that can save them. Some may say that they are simply trying to protect others from being judged. Would you cut someone else off from the grace of God? Telling a critically ill person that they'll be fine is not love, it is hateful.

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