The TMP Podcast

A New Approach to Disagreement | Paul Walker | Reconstruction with Jesus

November 26, 2023 The Meeting Place Church
The TMP Podcast
A New Approach to Disagreement | Paul Walker | Reconstruction with Jesus
Show Notes

As our churches have wrestled with cultural disruption, injustice, global pandemics, and deconstruction, we’ve found ourselves ideologically and theologically separated from the folks we once joyfully worshipped beside. Small groups, families, and friends are experiencing division and disunity in their faith like never before. Many are wondering “What holds the centre? Is there something that can sustain our shared life together? Is there something big enough to unite us even when so much seems set to tear us apart?” Similarly, the early church wrestled with disagreements and divisions along ethnic, cultural, and theological divides. We encounter one such division in Romans 14. The Apostle Paul is writing to two groups of Christians: Those who are “strong” and can partake in any food. Those who are “weak” and only eat vegetables (verse one). These dietary restrictions may seem strange to us, but for first-century Jewish Christians, they were important markers of identity and the means of preserving a God-given way of life. We might expect that the Apostle Paul would render a judgement to which group is obviously right. But shockingly, the Apostle Paul asks both groups to learn to accept and love one another despite their differences because their unity is “in Christ” who has already accepted them both. This curious discussion in Romans 14 and 15 about the “weak” and “strong” reminds us that the of unity church is defined by our shared centre, not by the lines we draw. Could it be that when we are moving apart we are forgetting about our shared centre in Christ? What would it mean for our church to imagine a way centring on Jesus that could bring unity without conformity?