An appeal for tolerance of conscience

“Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” Rom 14:3

Paul’s letters particularly show the difficulty early believers had in removing themselves from Jewish tradition and Mosaic observances.  The strength of feeling is perhaps best demonstrated by Peter who three times rejected angelic command to kill and eat unclean animals (Acts 10:16).  You need to be fairly set in your ways to reject God’s explicit command – three times!  As Paul notes in Romans 14, the issue of meat offered to idols and observance of days was leading to damaging argument and brethren condemning others.  Each side could mount a case based on Scriptural principles and each side felt passionate.  More than this – the state of their consciences was such that Paul confirms for some it was indeed a matter of life and death.

Paul tells the ecclesia (and us) that the right thing to do was leave judgment to Christ and not condemn a brother (v10).  We are to beware of erecting stumbling blocks for others (v13) and on contentious matters of conscience be sensitive to others needs and not ram things down their throats (v19-22).

Ah, but aren’t I pushing a point and argument?  Yes.  But I would suggest operating within the spirit of Romans 14.  I have no issue with brethren & sisters of a contrary view, they are my family in Christ.  I would like obviously a platform of accommodation on the issue of origins.  It is the prevailing spirit of judgment and condemnation which runs directly counter to Paul’s instruction and needs adjustment.  Bro Barling wrote in 1965 to the Christadelphian about this very issue of evolution and urged “giving compassion precedence over condemnation”[1] (See his full letter here).

To quote brother Norris (who didn’t accept evolution but allowed a wider variety of views than common today) “we can charitably allow for differences of view, provided that the Scriptural record is honoured in them all, and the teaching of the Lord Jesus respected without demur”[2].  (See this longer extract – together with his explicit accommodation of the possibility of other Adam like men outside the garden a few months later).

‘Ah but this is doctrinal and we can give no quarter’ is a frequent response.  The same sentiment as both sides of the meat offered to idols combatants expressed.  The purpose of this document is to demonstrate the scriptural case claimed by those oppose evolution in any form is far from certain – and often just incorrect.

To quote Shylock in the Merchant of Venice  “If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh?“.  The many believers who wonder about God’s creative process are not unfaithful and no different to others.  Rather than seek to tear down, we are trying to faithfully understand what God said and what He has done.  We are not endeavouring to threaten other’s faith and should not be treated as some different heretics for being prepared to explore this question.  The calls for disfellowship and action against those of an evolution creation mindset is unnecessary .


[1] Barling, WF “Letters to the editor” The Christadelphian Volume 102 page 465 (1965)

[2] Norris, A. “Where Science and Religion Meet” The Christadelphian Volume 102, page 18, (1965)


3 thoughts on “An appeal for tolerance of conscience

  1. Pingback: How do you implement the wheat & tares parable? | Christadelphians Origins Discussion

  2. Pingback: We don’t want you to accept Evolutionary Creation | Christadelphians Origins Discussion

  3. Pingback: A common understanding? A strategic retreat. | Christadelphians Origins Discussion

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