John Dave over at the Near Emmaus blog posted notes from a lecture he attended given by Robert Jewett – author of the Romans commentary in the Hermeneia series by Fortress Press (Romans: A Commentary (Hermeneia: a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible). Jewett sees Romans 14:1 and 15:7 as the heart of the letter (I agree). There are some excellent points but this was one that stood out:
Second, it moves one past forgiveness and it emphasizes unconditional acceptance. Unconditional acceptance does not mean that one is allowed to stay in the same place, but that one is accepted where they are at and throughout the journey of being conformed into the image of the Son.
I think this is the heart of the problem in the USAmerican Church today. We just really have trouble accepting each other, even unconditionally. Unfortunately we have our pet doctrines, our shiboleths, and we have insisted on them to the point that we have so broken our fellowship with one another that I wonder how the Body of Christ can even been deemed recognizable. I mean, even with the whole situation regarding Pastor Rob Bell and his new book Love Wins. Rather than be a topic of discussion and encouragement to one another it has been a terribly divisive issue. Instead of being open to talking with one another we say, “Farewell Rob Bell.” And I think this is atrocious!! Perhaps we may not agree about all things with each other, but one thing is for sure and without a doubt. We have failed each other. We have failed to follow Paul’s admonition to the Romans and to us in 14:19 –
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
I have yet to see how this has worked out anywhere, let alone the Christian biblio/theo blogsphere. Where has there been even an inkling of effort to let this “discussion” lead to peace and mutual edification. Shame on us American Christians! Of all people we should know better.