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Chapter 34 - Being Persuaded
So much of contemporary Christianity is oriented towards being 'right' that often Christians encounter coercive forces that restrain, restrict, and impede the questioning and seeking that should define the Christian walk. Like a wrestler who demands that an opponent cry 'uncle' to show he has been defeated, many take a combative view towards fellow Christians seeking those they can conquer and bring into compliance.
The use of the word 'persuaded' in Romans 14:5 sheds a lot of light on the nature of the Christian walk. The individual Christian is a sort of independent Christian consumer of Christian teaching. He hears different doctrines about Christianity and evaluates them (assuming he has some biblical understanding) as to if they are going to lead him closer to Jesus. It is expected that many different Christians following many different teachings will be at many different points in their journey to Christ.
Some attempt to exercise autocratic rule over Christians using such biblical declarations as:
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: - Hebrews 13:17a
The Christian who has developed the biblical skills to dig into the word a little deeper may find that a translation of the Greek that conveys obedience may not capture the the full meaning.
Obey = peitho = to be persuaded
Have rule = hegeomai = to go before, lead the way, hegemon (leading a confederacy of entities)
Submit = hupeiko = no longer resist, to give way, to yield
This could produce a better translation 'stop resisting and allow yourselves to be persuaded by those you have chosen to follow'
For Christians to be persuaded, they have to be seeking, evaluating, and comparing what they are being told with what they have come to understand in the bible. The Christian is cautioned not to see Christianity as binary (those who are right versus those who are wrong). When this happens, the Christian may think that he no longer needs to be searching since he has arrived at what is right. As long as we fall short of the image of Christ, our Christian walk is incomplete and we need to continue our seeking.
A bible teacher was once discussing end times when a student asked him why he took a pre-tribulation position. The man made reference to 1 Thessalonians chapter four and showed that the context went into chapter five where Paul wrote 'we are not appointed unto wrath". The teacher told the student that he saw this as supporting the view that Christians would not go through the tribulation. He then told the student, 'If you have a different view, tell me your reasons from the bible and maybe I will be persuaded. This illustrates a more healthy Christian perspective of following truth.
'Donít tell me what to believe, tell me what persuaded you so that I may also be 'persuaded.'
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