Vol.II No.VI Pg.7
July 1965

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Dear Bro. Turner:

One of our members engages in a practice which I believe is wrong. I have told him how I feel about this, but he says he does not believe it is wrong, and so continues to do it. Should he not cease this practice on the basis that it offends me, and several other members, 1CO.8:13.


1CO.8:13 reads, "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend".

It does not say "offends" in the sense of "hurting his feelings", but "cause him to offend" or "stumble". Read American Standard.

The point is that if my doing something (right within itself) is going to cause a weak (poorly taught) brother to do that which he thinks is wrong -- (cause him to stumble) it is better that I sacrifice my own rights (refrain from doing that which I know is acceptable) until I can teach my weak brother more perfectly.

Eating meat (that had been offered in sacrifice unto idols) was not something that had to be done to serve God. On the other hand, there was nothing wrong (of itself) in eating (1CO.8:8). This is not parallel with things wrong within themselves (such as ungodly conduct, which neither the "weak" nor the strong brother has the right to do) nor is it parallel with things commanded of both the "weak" and strong brother -- such as worship.

Inherent in this Corinthians passage (and in ROM.14:) is the teaching that we should never violate our conscience. When the brother who thinks it is wrong to partake of the meat is encouraged (by your example) to disregard his conscience and eat, he sins -- not because it is wrong to eat, but because it is wrong to disregard one's conscience (ROM.14:23). Please note, I am to so regard my own conscience only. I am not to allow myself to be ruled by your conscience ("Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind" (ROM.14:5).

One thing more. The things under consideration here are not of such a nature that one man's actions necessarily commit another to the same action -- as in the case of things we do collectively, as a local church.

Bro. Turner:

Is there any difference in sins? Are there "big" and "little" sins?


All or any "sin" condemns, as the transgression rejects the authority of the law giver (JAM.2:9-13). In this sense all sins are alike.

But it is foolish to contend that all sins are alike in every way. Two distinct types of sins are "deliberate" or "presumptuous" and "unwitting" sins (Read NUM.15:22-31; DEU.17:8-13, 18:18-20). (We may characterize these as sins of the flesh, and sins of the heart; although this needs more explanation than space permits.)

Be thankful that God will judge!