Christian Freedom -- By: Donald Pfaffe

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 05:1 (Spring 1962)
Article: Christian Freedom
Author: Donald Pfaffe

Christian Freedom

Donald Pfaffe

First Baptist Church, Spring Valley, Minnesota

An outlaw army in Ireland stopped a train in a mountainous area, forced the crew and passengers out, and then released the train to careen furiously back down the mountainous slopes, Mark the contrast of that train’s upward climb — under full steam, with skillful maintenance and supervision—with its descent — turned loose, not cared for or controlled.

True Freedom

There are some who insist today that “Christian freedom” means freedom from restraint — restraints of any kind! Whether this is confessed by lip or not, the “freedom” doctrine is lived out in too many supposedly “Christian” lives. Obviously, this is the philosophy of the world. Modern education emphasizes “self expression”; that is, let the child do what he will, go where he may, his “personality” must not be frustrated. He is left to develop on his own.

Our economic setup today reflects this “free” spirit. Businessmen resort to unscrupulous tactics to make an extra buck. Dishonesty is not considered a vice but a business expediency. Like the train set loose down the mountainside, no one at the controls, no purpose other than selfish, and no end in view but disaster, this concept of freedom has crept into Bible-believing Christendom and is applied to Christian living.

In one theological seminary, in the name of Christian freedom students smoke in the classroom. Even if such persons find no reason for abstaining from such habits personally, certainly the Scriptures make it plain that that which offends a brother in the Lord should be avoided.

In Acts 15 the Jerusalem church affirms Paul’s position that the Gentiles need not submit to circumcision and the observance of the Mosaic law. The letter to the Antioch church, however, includes the command for them to abstain from eating meats offered to idols,

from fornication, from eating that which is strangled, and from blood. Why these provisions? Primarily that the Jewish Christians be not offended, for we read in verse 21, “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day,” Paul writes later in one of his epistles: “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no meat,” The Christian law of liberty takes not only our own conscience into consideration, but that of our brother as well.

True Constraint

But a definition of the Christian law of liberty is not enough. What has brought us to this place wher...

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