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Romans 14 Doubtful Things

by Micah Anthony

PRESENTED BY PASTOR MICAH ANTHONY SR.

We already know that the writings of Paul are difficult to understand. We were even warned beforehand by Peter that Paul’s letters can be misunderstood by those lacking a strong foundation in Elohim’s Word (The Law).

According to Peter, that error results in breaking Elohim’s Law (lawlessness/wickedness) simply because Paul can be used (in a theological error) to teach against all or some of Elohim’s Law (2 Peter 3:14:17).

14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, beloved, since you already know these things, be on your guard so that you will not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure standing. 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Yahshua Messiah. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Romans 14 is another unfortunate instance (among many) where teachers fail to exercise due diligence in studying Yahweh’s Word to understand exactly what Paul is teaching. As a result, many accidentally dismiss Peter’s clear warning and mistakenly render any application meaningless.

Instead, either because of intellectual laziness or placing too much unchecked faith in the doctrines of men, Romans 14 is continuously used to support a law-abolishing paradigm. More specifically, the commandments considered abolished via Romans 14 are the commandments found in Leviticus 11 (Dietary) and Leviticus 23 (Sabbath). 

We are even told by Paul himself to test everything and only hold on to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The problem is when we allow our flesh to define good verses instead of allowing Yahweh’s Word/Law to establish the true definition.

Paul even commended those who tested everything he said and checking Elohim’s Word to make sure what Paul said was what the Word said (Acts 17:10-11). If we were to test everything to Scripture as Paul recommends, then using his letters to generate the error of lawless men would be actually quite a difficult feat.

Test Against the Old Testament Scriptures

Most people today do not consider that the only Word the Bereans were searching to prove whether Paul was right or wrong was only what we now call the Old Testament. That should put things into a new perspective. Many people only test Paul’s writings against Paul’s writings, which is disturbing in and of itself.

How much of today’s interpretation of Paul’s letters could pass the test using only the Old Testament? That is certainly what a Berean would ask. In reading the Old Testament, we quickly discover that Yahweh’s Law, as delivered to us on Sinai, is intended to exist forever, and it is defined as light, liberty, the way, the truth, the life, and absolutely perfect. Yet some accuse Yahweh Elohim of removing such blessings from us. Some even accuse Paul of defining Elohim’s Law as bondage, broken, or worthless, and doubtful disputations, as stated in Romans 14.

We discovered that in the New Testament, not only is there no support of the notion that Paul taught against Yahweh’s Law, but that Paul actually consistently taught the exact opposite. Paul taught that the Law is good, holy, just, delightful, and spiritual. He stated that he believes in all of the Law and Prophets (Acts 24:13-14). He practiced Yahweh’s feast days (Acts 18:20-21, Acts 20:17, Acts 27:9-10).

In Acts 21, James directs Paul to perform a nazirite vow with four others, just to prove accusations against Paul to be false. Paul did indeed teach and practice the Law of Moses (Acts 21:20-26). These false accusations directed to Paul in the first century required that he defend himself relentlessly.

These are also the exact same accusations today, resulting from a poor interpretation of Paul’s letters by mainstream theology. After 2,000 years, Paul still has to defend himself against these false accusations. After 2,000 years, and a couple  languages removed, Paul is even more difficult to understand in matters of Yahweh’s Law, yet we pretend otherwise and send those new in the faith to read and study Paul first. According to Peter, we should read and understand the Old Testament and Gospels first, then read Paul, once a stable and educated foundation is established. How often do we hear such advice? 

Do Paul’s Words Really Teach Against Keeping the Law?

Even if we test Paul’s words that supposedly abolish or change Yahweh’s Law against each other, we would find several disturbing contradictions. If we read the preceding 13 chapters of Romans in the context of the audience and debate at hand (as Paul certainly intended his letter to be read), we would find a consistent progression of context that proves it very difficult to make the error of lawless men that the apostle Peter warned us about concerning Paul’s writings.

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. 

Romans 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of Elohim according to the inward man. 

Paul obviously believed in and consistently taught the law of Elohim. If the above verses are established as true, what sense can we make of Romans 14, which supposedly teaches against Yahweh’s Law?

In case there is any confusion on how he defines the Law of Elohim, Paul talking to those Roman church brethren who understand the law declares that it’s the Jews who have had a great advantage from receiving “the oracles of Elohim” (The Law/Torah) through Moses. Paul is not inventing some new mystical Law of Yahweh, but the same one that was passed down in writing through the ages.

Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law) 

This is why when it comes to knowledge, Paul states that the Jews have from long ago had much advantage over the Gentiles converts in Messiah who are just now receiving and learning Elohim’s Law.

Romans 3:1-2 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of Elohim
 
When Paul says the “Law of Elohim”, he means the “Law of Elohim”!

Does Romans 14 Teach Against the Sabbath and Dietary Instructions?

Paul begins the chapter by declaring we are to still receive those who are weak in the faith and to not dispute over doubtful things.

Romans 14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things

Before continuing our progression through Romans 14, we need to take a brief moment to keep in mind that Romans 14 is often used by traditional Christianity to support the abolishment of the Sabbath day (Leviticus 23) and the dietary instructions (Leviticus 11).

These commandments of Yahweh’s Law have always been clear and have never been matters of “doubtful things.” On the contrary, Elohim’s Law is given to us to clearly define sin (Romans 3:20; 7:7 and 1 John 3:4) and to enable us to correct and rebuke others (i.e. 2 Timothy 3:14-17).

If believing in and keeping Yahweh’s Law were truly classified as “doubtful things” we would need to classify Peter (Kepha) as one who is weak in faith. For when Yahweh gave him a vision in Acts chapter 10, Kepha (Peter) said…

 “I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

Remember when this happened it was many years after Messiah’s resurrection. So was Kepha/Peter weak in faith? I think not:

Acts 3:6 – Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Yahshua the Messiah of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

Peter doesn’t sound like a man who is “weak in faith” to me. It was through faith that this man was healed. Didn’t Yahshua pray that Kepha’s faith would not fail?

Luk 22:31-32 – And the Master said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

If it is a proper interpretation that believing in and keeping Yahweh’s Law were truly classified as “doubtful things” then Paul himself, not to mention the Master Yahshua whom Paul followed, would have to be classified as “weak in faith“. For in accordance with Leviticus 23:1-3, they both had the same law abiding custom of participating in a sacred assembly observed every Sabbath: 

Luke 4:16-Then Yahshua came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath. And when He stood up to read,

Acts 17:2 –Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

It can be consistently shown that the disciples all kept the Sabbath 84 times in the New Testament. Were they all weak in the faith also?  I think not!

Acts 20:6 implies that after Yahshua’s resurrection, Paul most likely kept the seven day feast of Unleavened bread with the Christian believers at Philippi; before sailing off to Macedonia. This is only the beginning of consistent evidence from the New Testament Scriptures (not to mention Paul’s own writings) showing why we should be fully persuaded that what is being talked about in Romans 14 could not be about things clearly commanded against in Yahweh’s Law. Yahweh’s Law clearly commands against eating unclean meats like pork and shellfish (Leviticus 11). Yahweh’s Law also clearly commands that believers like Paul should have a holy gathering on the Sabbath day (Leviticus 23).

Romans 14 is About Doubtful Things and Not the Law

In Romans 14, the “doubtful things” that Paul is speaking of are obviously things outside of Yahweh Elohim’s Law that were matters of contention for believers in the first century. Given that this is a letter to a specific group of people about a specific debate, we must extract various clues to assist us in piecing together exactly what Paul is teaching. As you’ll see, both in Paul’s own writings and the Bible as a whole, the evidence is overwhelmingly against the popular Christian interpretation of being free to eat anything and being free to avoid keeping the Sabbath day.

There are two debates Paul focuses on in Romans 14. Paul outlines these points of contention in the very next two verses (2 & 3).

The first matter of discussion and correction from Paul is whether they can eat all things or should they eat only vegetables.

Debate #1 
Romans 14:2 [is clean meat made unclean?] For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 

The second matter that we will see Paul establishing as a point of focus in chapter 14 is related to what day(s) believers chose to fast or not.

Debate #2 
Romans 14:3 [choice days of fasting]
Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; 

Paul answers debate #1 in verses 14-23.
Again, these verses are often used in mainstream Christian doctrine to suggest that all animals are now clean and suitable for food. The proof verse that supposedly supports this understanding begins in verse 14.

Paul answers debate #2  [choice days of fasting] in verses 5-13.

These verses are often used in mainstream Christian doctrine to suggest that Yahweh Elohim abolished His Sabbath day and now all days are alike, however, if in your mind, all days are not alike then the Sabbath still exists. It somehow depends on if you are doing it for the Lord or not. Therefore, anyone can determine where Elohim’s Law stands on this matter, solely based on what one wants to believe.

Supposedly we can decide what Yahweh’s Law now is or what Elohim wants us to observe. This matter is no longer established by what is clearly written in Yahweh’s Word about the Sabbath or even by what was clearly practiced by Yahshua as an example for us to follow, but purely based on how convinced we now are in our own mind. The proof verse that supposedly supports this understanding is referenced as verse 5.

Let’s Look Deeper at Romans 14

Romans 14:14 (debate # 1: Is clean meat made unclean?)

The majority of our focus in this study will be on debate # 1 addressed by Paul beginning with Romans 14:14. It appears that the actual situation that Paul is addressing here in the church of Rome, has to do with meat offered to idols. However, this won’t become evident just by looking at the first few verses of Romans 14. Before getting an understanding of what is being talked about here, we must read through the whole of chapter 14; rightly dividing and mining for the revealed truth that’s applicable to each of the two specific debates that Paul will address in context.

Romans 14:14-23 
14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Yahshua that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food (“broma”), you are no longer walking in love. 16 Do not destroy with your food  (“broma”) the one for whom Messiah died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of Elohim is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Messiah in these things is acceptable to Elohim and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 

20 Do not destroy the work of Elohim for the sake of food (“broma”). All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before Elohim. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin

Contrary to Yahweh’s Word, Yahshua , and Paul, verse 14 is often used as license to teach that all animals are now clean and suitable for food. If we examine the context, we discover that in verse 15, Paul is speaking of what Yahweh’s Word already defines as food according to Leviticus 11. The word used for “food” is “broma.” 
 
Strongs Exhaustive Concordance:  

G1033 broma bro’-mah from the base of G977;  food (literally or figuratively), especially (ceremonially) articles allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law. 

 
From the Hebraic Torah-minded Master Yahshua and Paul who followed Him, unclean animals have never been considered food (“broma”), regardless of what unbelievers outside of Yahweh Elohim’s Word(Law) might consider food.

Paul is not entertaining a debate whether unclean animals, according to Leviticus 11, are now suddenly clean and can be defined as food (“broma”). Paul is settling a debate whether Biblically clean food can be made unclean in [doubtful] man-made ways not mentioned in Scripture.

Weak Brother Vs Strong Brother

In the 8th chapter of 1 Corinthians we read about a similar situation where they were dealing with brethren in relationship to food as well: 

1 Co 8:10-13 – For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Messiah died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Messiah. 13 Therefore, if food (“broma”) makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

The subject matter here is whether or not it is appropriate to eat food that was offered to idols. The weak brother (or sister) was one whose maturity or understanding of the law was incomplete; making him (or her) more susceptible or vulnerable in faith to the temptation of worshiping idols.  Let’s take a little time to look at these 1 Corinthian verses in full context and then go back and compare with Paul’s (debate # 1is clean meat made unclean?) discussion in Romans 14,: 

1 Co 8:1-13 – Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. 2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves Elohim, this one is known by Him. 4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other Elohim but one.

5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one Elohim, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Master Yahshua Messiah, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. 7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 

8 But food (“broma”) does not commend us to Elohim; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. 9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?

11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Messiah died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Messiah. 13 Therefore, if food (“broma”) makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Notice that the strong brother is one who through the law has complete knowledge and belief that an “idol is nothing” whereas a weak brother who is either ignorant, or not fully convinced (Mark 9:24) of such Old Testament Scripture teachings as Jeremiah 10:1-16, is still being faced with temptations that the idol might actually be something deserving of honor or worship.

The advice Paul gives to the strong brother in this situation is identical to the advice he gives in Romans 14. Namely, that while an idol is nothing, we should not do anything to cause another person to stumble. Consider the parallel here:

Rom 14:15 – Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Messiah died.

1 Co 8:11-12 – And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Messiah died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Messiah.

And again:

Rom 14:21 – It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

1 Co 8:13 – Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

So we have almost identical statements coming out of two different chapters belonging to two different letters written by Paul to two different churches. The verses in 1 Corinthians are more descriptive in that Paul specifically states that he is speaking of food offered to idols, but Romans 14 is a bit more vague and open to interpretation. For this reason, traditional Christianity has taught Romans 14 justifies Sabbath breaking and eating unclean animals. But let’s continue looking at the situation in Corinth and try to get a deeper understanding of Paul’s expectations with them:

1 Co 10:24-26 – Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is Yahweh’s, and all its fullness.” (quoting Psalm 24:1)

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We see here that Paul didn’t think it was necessary to ask questions about the origin of meats in the marketplace, for all animals belong to Yahweh. If we with a pure heart are eating an animal that Yahweh has not forbidden us to eat then surely there is no sin in that. The problem was that the believers in Corinth (and also Rome) were surrounded by paganism. In Paul’s day if he or any other believers who are apart of the Jewish sect called “the Way/Nazarenes” (Acts 24: 5, 6, 14;28:22) were invited to dinner at a non-believers (Gentiles) house, most likely the host were idol worshipers who bought and prepared the dinner meat from the market place whose suppliers consisted of one or more various local pagan temples that sacrificed the animal to their god…

1 Cor 10:27 – If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake.

This phrase “eat what is set before you” is not a new one. Yahshua the Messiah used it when sending out the seventy:

Luke 10:8 – “Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.9 “And heal the sick there, and say to them, `The kingdom of Yahweh has come near to you.’

Certainly Yahshua was not suggesting that His disciples could eat pork. Those who believe He would are contradicting their own theology because this was still during the time before Messiah died for sins. According to them it wasn’t until after the New Covenant was inaugurated on Calvary’s tree when Yahshua’s death and resurrection abolished the law; and not before. So before Calvary, the laws against eating pork were still in place, and Messiah would not have told His disciples that they could eat pork if they wanted to.

Paul in 1 Corinthians is simply giving the New Covenant believers (Rom 2:28-29;Gal 2:14-16) the same advice that the Master Yahshua, a Jewish law abiding Messiah gave His Jewish law abiding disciples in the past:

1 Cor 10:27 – If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is Yahweh’s, and all its fullness.”29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man‘s conscience?

Notice that the Holy Spirit led Paul to quote a verse written from the Old testament scriptures which was the only Bible they had back then. In terms of meat being offered to idols, Paul quoted the law promoting book of Psalms…

24:1 “the earth is Yahweh’s and all its fullness”

…to support the idea of not needing to ask questions for conscience sake; but then this same verse is also quoted to support one’s refusal to eat the meat because someone mentioned it was offered to an idol. Why would this scripture support both of these views? By openly and knowingly eating the food offered to an idol, the weaker brother coming fresh out of pagan idol worship might see you and believe you don’t really acknowledge “the earth is Yahweh’s and all its fullness.” At the same time knowing that all things were created by Yahweh is the key to proving that all the idols are worthless because Yahweh truly has made all things.

Continuing…

1 Cor 10:30 – But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?

If we are giving thanks to Yahweh for our food (broma), which He has created for us to eat, we are acknowledging it was He who has given us these things.

1 Cor 10:31 – Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of Yahweh.

This is the whole point of what is being said to those in Corinth. Even though we recognize an idol is nothing, we do not want to eat anything that might cause Yahweh to be looked upon with a lesser degree of glory. For truly the Earth is Yahweh’s! So even though we need not ask question for consciousness sake, we certainly would not go to the other extreme and start openly and knowingly buying and eating meat in an idol’s temple. Even If we don’t ask questions but somehow it is revealed to us that the meat is sacrificed to an idol, we should not knowingly eat it because doing so might wound another person’s conscience.

Thus, we see an example of a weaker brother in the city of Corinth and we have a very similar situation in the city of Rome. However, the believers in Rome are more knowledgeable about the Law of Yahweh than in Corinth.Paul told the ones in Corinth:

1 Cor 15:34 – Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of Yahweh. I speak this to your shame.

But those in Rome Paul said:

Romans 15:14 – Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

By this, we conclude that what we see in Rome is a more advanced situation than the one in Corinth. With this in mind lets get back to the situation in Romans 14.Again, evidence consistently shows that in Romans 14 Paul’s (debate # 1is clean meat made unclean?), is addressing the issue of eating meat from the meat market that has been sacrificed to idols. He teaches that it is fine to eat if we are unaware of it’s origin and do not give the impression to others that sun god temple sacrifice is acceptable. If those criteria are met then it is Paul’s opinion and understanding that the meat is just fine.

As a guideline to balance our understanding, we can contrast this with the decree James made in Acts 15:20 along with what the Master Yahshua said in Revelation 2:14,20. The bottom line is consistently made clear that we are to not directly, knowingly participate in the purchase or eating of pagan cultic temple sacrifices. Thus there is a difference. Knowingly eating meat sacrificed to idols, as it relates to directly partaking in the cultic pagan practices, is different than unknowingly eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols and purchased from the marketplace. It is all about whether one is knowingly participating directly or indirectly(ignorantly) in sun god worship and/or giving the impression of participating in sun god worship, and consequently causing others to stumble.  
Clearly in both Paul’s and Yahshua’s day there was also much debate on whether food (broma) considered clean by Yahweh Elohim’s Word (law) can be made unclean. Yahshua dealt with this issue in Mark 7, surrounding the Pharisee tradition of forcing and compelling others to wash their hands before eating. One who did not wash his hands according to the prescribed method defiled his food and made it unclean, according to the man made “oral law”. Again, there is a difference between commandments of men and commandments of Elohim. 
 
 Yahshua taught that clean food cannot be made unclean by such practices. It is because of this teaching Yahshua provided in Mark 7 that Paul in Romans 14, can declare in confidence what he teaches in verse 14:

Romans 14:14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Yahshua that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Paul is convinced by the Master Yahshua because Yahshua stated this: 

Mark 7:18-19 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods(broma)?”

In this case, Yahshua states that all “foods” (broma) are purified by the stomach. We must keep in mind that to the Master Yahshua, Paul, and those Paul addressed in the church of Rome who knew Yahweh’s Law, (Rom 7:1) only animals defined as clean in Leviticus 11 were to be considered food(broma). In the context of this declaration, Yahshua was rebuking the Pharisees for nullifying the Law of Moses (Elohim’s Law) in their traditions:

Mark 7:6-13 6Yahshua answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.7They worship Me in vain; they teach as doctrine the precepts of men.’c 8You have disregarded the commandment of Elohim to keep the tradition of men.d ” 9He went on to say, “You neatly set aside the commandment of Elohim to maintaine your own tradition10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’f and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’g 11But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever you would have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), 12he is no longer permitted to do anything for his father or mother. 13Thus you nullify the word of Elohim by the tradition you have handed down. And you do so in many such matters.” 

Obviously the Master Yahshua is not rebuking the Pharisees for nullifying the Word of Elohim (Yahweh’s Law written by Moses) and then abolishing it Himself. Likewise, Paul who followed Yahshua is not doing that either.

It is through this teaching of Yahshua that Paul said that he was convinced by, that all things are clean. In the context the “things” are defined as “broma.” “Broma” is defined as animals that are already clean. Paul applies Mark 7 by teaching that clean animals (broma) that are sacrificed in pagan temples and sent to the marketplace are still considered clean and thus, still considered food(broma).

With this in mind lets get back to looking at the situation involving debate # 1(is clean meat made unclean?)in Romans 14…

Romans 14:1 – Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.

So again here in Romans we are dealing with a weak brother. There will always be new believers coming into the congregation. There will be times when with good intentions and all sincerity, these immature in knowledge and faith brothers and sisters can get caught up into strongly believing a half baked thought process or approach to an issue is right. These man made thought processes and their corresponding actions which are disputable and not supported in the truth of Yahweh’s Word (law) can be categorized as “doubtful things“. So Paul says the older and more knowledgeable believers need to lead them along gently. As we’ve seen both the earlier studied Corinthian and currently studied Roman assemblies have the common thread of needing to help weaker brethren. So what in Romans 14(debate# 1) are the “doubtful things“?

Romans 14:2 – For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.

Here is a very key verse. Clearly it is talking about vegetarianism. The weak person is the one eating vegetables. The question is, why is this person considered weak? In Rome there were over 400 pagan temples. If one were to go to the marketplace to buy meat, quite possibly nearly all the meat would have been supplied from a pagan temple sacrifice somewhere. Many new converts to faith in Messiah were Gentiles who just came out of seriously deep practices of pagan temple animal sacrifices and worshiping towards false gods or idols. These pagan practices were probably passed down and ingrained into them as little children from countless generations of family traditions and belief. Part of their worship included taking some of the meat home for dinner and giving thanks to the idols from whose temple the meat was sacrificed. Since the majority of meat sold in Rome came from Pagan temple sacrifice, if a weak brother wanted to avoid thinking of an idol when eating meat, the easiest solution would be to eliminate eating meat altogether. This explanation makes the most sense. It would explain why the vegetarian was “one who is weak” and it would explain why there are parallel statements like these I quoted earlier:

Rom 14:15 – Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Messiah died.

1 Co 8:11-12 – And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Messiah died?12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Messiah.

And again

Rom 14:21 – It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

1 Co 8:13 – Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Again, unlike the more spelled out 1 Corinthian 8, when reading Romans 14, it is evident that Paul and the Roman assembly are aware the issue, but we are left to figure out what it is. It is much like listening to one side of a phone conversation. We hear Paul, but we don’t know what the Romans would have said to him or what they might have said to him in the past.

Again, we’ve already found abundant scripture evidence eliminating the possibility that Paul could be nullifying the Law of Moses. We saw that this would not only be inconsistent to what the Master Yahshua whom Paul followed did and taught, but also to what Paul himself wrote several chapters earlier. To those with years of indoctrination in the traditional Christian law abolishing interpretation, it’s important to keep in mind that in Romans 14 Paul is addressing,”doubtful things” or disputable matters that aren’t really that important. Based on Paul’s own statements in Romans, the commandments of Yahweh would not be counted among the doubtful or disputable matters. His view of the Law was that it was very important; and actually clearly defines sin:

Rom 7:7 – I would not have known sin except through the law.

Rom 3:20 – by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Rom 3:31 – Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Rom 8:6-7 – For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim; for it is not subject to the law of Elohim, nor indeed can be.

It’s indisputable that it is the law which teaches us what sin actually is and that those who are spiritually minded will subject themselves to it. Paul would not turn around and say in Romans 14 that whether or not we keep the commandments found in the law are “doubtful” or disputable things. Remember the situation with the “weak” brother in the Corinthian assembly? This persons faith was hindered by his temptation to follow an idol. But it appears to be a more advanced situation in Rome. Brothers have taken more of a stance on both sides of the issue and are getting into “disputes”over it. In Romans Paul taught that those who have a weakness of understanding that compels them towards a course of action that is doubtful or not according to the revealed knowledge of the Law, are to be cautiously and lovingly upheld by those who are strong in knowledge. The strong in knowledge, should understand that the weak has a lack of knowledge which causes a reluctance to do something that they think is wrong. This may lead to them adopting man made disputable actions and thought processes that are man made and not according to Yahweh’s law. Out of love and care for them, we who are strong should be willing to modify our practices for those who don’t yet understand Yahweh’s Law as thoroughly as we do. It’s important that we understand Paul’s overall point; starting in 14:1…Rom 14:1 – Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
…is whether talking about the disputable man made actions involving the current discussion of …Debate # 1(is clean meat made unclean?) Romans 14:2,”For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 

…or the later to be discussed…

Debate #2 [choice days of fasting] Romans 14:3,”Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats;We who are strong want to carefully lead others to their edification (1 Cor 8:1) and learning.

Rom 14: 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Elohim is able to make him stand.

Along with verse one, Paul’s overall point includes verse four in saying that in either debate, both the weak and the strong should not judge one another on these man made doubtful issues. In verses 2, the Roman assembly apparently had a division wherein those who knowingly ate meat from the marketplace were condemned by those who refused to eat anything but vegetables (for fear the meat might have been offered to an idol). There is further evidence found in both chapters 14 & 15 which suggest that Paul didn’t just address flaws concerning the weaker brothers judging the stronger, but also the stronger brothers judging the weaker brother as worthy of being ignored and callously flaunting and abusing their liberty; becoming a stumbling block for the weaker…Romans 14:7 – For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.8 For if we live, we live to Yahweh; and if we die, we die to Yahweh. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are Yahweh’s.9 For to this end the Messiah died and rose and lived again, that He might be Master of both the dead and the living.10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of the Messiah. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says Yahweh, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to Yahweh.”12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to Yahweh.13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.Romans 15:1-3 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Messiah did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me. So Paul did not condemn those who refused to eat meat. He never condemned the brothers in Corinth for refusing to eat meat either. If he had, it might have caused that brother to stumble because those who had a consciousness of the idol would eat it “as a thing offered to an idol” and their conscience, being weak, in knowledge of Yahweh’s Word/Law. would be defiled. What Paul wanted the strong brothers in Rome who know the law to keep in mind was rather than judging the doubtful man made things of the weak, what was being condemned here was their own attitude towards their weaker brethren. Yahshua tells us that in the Law of Elohim all believers are to …Matthew 22: 37Yahshua declared, “‘Love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’e 38This is the first and greatest commandment.” So if in their “mind” a brother weak in understanding the applied meaning and ramifications of Psalm 24:1, truly believes that it is sin to ever eat any clean meat made unclean by being offered to idols, than to believe that and still go ahead and eat it anyway, would be a violation of the first commandment; and therefore sin to that brother. The act of eating that food would be a lack of faithfulness to Yahweh’s word; breaking “the first and greatest commandment” becoming something that would defile him before Yahweh… 

Romans 14:14 – I know and am convinced by the Master Yahshua that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Romans 14:23 – But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

The actual word rendered “unclean” is from #2839 “Koinos,” which means “common” The word is used in other places such as

Act 2:44 – Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common <2839>.

It’s a term designating every day, regular things which are not consecrated. Some Jews in Messiah’s day believed that such things were to be avoided, but there was no biblical basis for their claims:

Mar 7:2-4 – Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled <2839>., that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.
3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders.
4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches

There is nothing in the scriptures which tell us our hands are defiled unless we wash them prior to eating. This was a “tradition of the elders.” This is the only other instance of this word #2839 “Koinos” in relation to eating food. Therefore, the “Koinos” spoken of in Romans 14:14 is not speaking about pork or other biblical unclean meats. It’s speaking of the “tradition of the elders” and how they regarded the marketplace as being a place which would make your hands “common” and in need of a special kind of handwashing. Messiah told them:

Mat 15:19-20 – “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
20 “These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

The Jews of that time period believed that if a clean animal such as an ox were offered to an idol, that would automatically cause the meat to be impure or common. According to the Encyclopedia Judaica under the heading “Purity” it says:

“In the case of idolatrous offerings the law is even stricter than the impurity of the idol itself and Judah b. Bava says that it conveys impurity by overshadowing, as does a corpse”

But Paul, a former Pharisee himself, was persuaded by Yahshua that these things were not “common” at all and in fact nothing really is. There really isn’t a separate class of items called “common” in the Bible in the sense that they need to be avoided. The scriptures already supply us with correct classifications of what is clean and unclean. We don’t need a special set of laws, especially ones based on traditions of men, to make other classifications of things we must avoid in order to be “clean.” Thus the scripture should actually read:

Romans 14:14 – I know and am convinced by the Master Yahshua that there is nothing common of itself; but to him who considers anything to be common, to him it is common.15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom the Messiah died.

So here in Romans 14 we evidently have a situation where there are believers avoiding meat because they viewed it as “common” and other believers avoiding meat because they were weak in their conscience and couldn’t help but think of the idol, and other stronger believers who had fully cleansed their conscience of both Jewish tradition and Gentile tendencies towards idol worship. However, these stronger believers who were more mature in their faith were acting immature in other ways, for they were partaking of that food in such a way that it would weaken and grieve new converts who, in their weakness, would be tempted to return to their former ways. To cause stumbling in a brother is a failure to love. In this way the stronger in knowledge and faith brothers were violating the first great commandment and the second great commandment…Matthew 22: 37Yahshua declared, “‘Love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’e 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’f 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” So if what we choose to eat would not bring honor to Yahweh but would harm our brother who is weak in faith then we are not loving them as ourselves and we are not loving Yahweh Elohim because surely us harming our weaker brothers faith is not the will of Yahweh. 

Romans 14:16 – Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of Yahweh is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves the Messiah in these things is acceptable to Yahweh and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of Yahweh for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.

Again.some lacking the Hebrew perspective that Paul and the Master Yahshua who he followed had, would point out that Paul said “All things are indeed pure” and consider that to be proof that we can now eat unclean animals. However, notice that the context of verse 20 is that Paul doesn’t want to see a brother destroyed over “food(broma). There isn’t a single in the bible that would classify unclean animals as “food(broma). Actually there are numerous places in the bible where it consistently says just the opposite. So among things that are considered to be “food(broma), all things are indeed pure. This is why in Luke 11:39, Yahshua could say to the Jewish people that”all things are clean”; for he was speaking within the context of food(broma). In the Jewish Hebraic mind, pork and shellfish were never food(broma) to begin with. Another point is that when verse 20 says that “all things are pure” we need to be careful with assuming “all things” really means “ALL THINGS” in the sense of never having a single exception. For instance:

Col 3:22 – Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing Elohim.

What if a slave owner told his slave to go and murder someone? Or to go and commit adultery? It does say” All things,” yet we make an exception for the obvious because we know Paul would not be telling slaves to obey their master rather than the Law of YahwehYahweh’s word provides the parameter from which we understand the exceptions involved.Here’s another example of where “all” doesn’t literally mean “ALL“:

Rom 16:19 – For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.

Did every human being on the planet know about the obedience of the believers in Rome? It says “all,” yet we know just from common sense that he didn’t really mean all.



Even in our own language, “all” doesn’t always mean “all.” For instance, if I said that my daughter ate “all” of her breakfast, it may be possible that she left a few crumbs on her plate. So, even in our own language “all” CAN mean “all“, but it doesn’t always mean “all” without exceptions. We have to understand context, don’t we? We can’t just look at a verse which says “all things are pure” and assume, based on a western Gentile mindset that we understand what the obvious exceptions are. Here’s another:

Titus 1:15 – To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled

Does this mean that if I’m a pure person, I can look at a pile of buzzard droppings, or rotting corpses and say, “wow, how pure! Pure as the wind driven snow!”Or would we say that sexual immorality is pure? How about murder? Certainly not. We know that sexual immorality and murder are not pure because Yahweh’s word/Law already tells us that these things are not pure. So when we look at this verse:

Rom 14:20 – “All things indeed are pure”

…we should not assume that Paul is speaking against what Yahweh already said is impure and unclean. No one, not even Paul can go against scripture. Yahweh’s word is not divided against itself. We don’t have contradictions in the bible. For this reason, we have to work within the obvious parameters of what Yahweh has already said, and what would have been “common sense” to a first century Jew when it comes to understanding the obvious exceptions.The concept of clean and unclean did not come from the Leviticus Law. Noah was told to take 7 of all clean animals on the ark with him and 2 of the unclean. Noah knew the difference because it was common knowledge even in his day. So the context of Romans 14:20 has everything to do with real “food” (broma:clean meats) and the unnecessary and unbiblical classification of clean meats becoming “common” and thus needing to be avoided for that reason.

Romans 14:21 – It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

This is where Paul actually clarifies that he is talking about meat offered to idols. It is hidden from our eyes by translation but it is nonetheless there! Let’s look at the Greek word that is translated “meat” here…

BDB/Thayers # 2907 kreas {kreh’-as} perhaps a primary word;; n n AV – flesh 2; 2
1) (the) flesh (of a sacrificed animal)

In fact it is this same word that is used in 1 Corinthians:

1 Cor 8:13 – Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat <2907> , lest I make my brother stumble.

This is the only 2 places in the New Testament where this Greek word is used. In both cases the context was concerning meat offered to idols.

 

Romans 14:22 – Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before Yahweh. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Again, if in their “mind” a weak brother has any doubts about the Earth being Yahweh’s and the fulness therein…and are tempted by the idol, this person would be condemned of violating the first great commandment if he eats. Since this is exactly what was taught in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, and the striking parallels between what Paul said to Rome, it seems very obvious to me that both are speaking of the same things. In the Roman assembly there was a clash of thought patterns into true faith; both were based on traditions and ideas of men. The Jews had their fast days and concerns about otherwise clean meats becoming “common,” and Gentiles had their tendencies towards idolatry. The stronger believer had fully cleansed their minds of these disputable and doubtful thought patterns, but they were warned to walk in love, and not do things to cause weakness in others. Paul at no time during this chapter considers “liberty” a license to sin. By the law is the knowledge of sin, and sin is defined as “transgression of the law” (KJV 1 John 3:4). If we eat things that the law has said are “abominations” and should not be eaten, we are transgressing the law. So we can’t throw out the whole of scripture that teaches against sin because of a one sided conversation in Romans! It can not be proven that this chapter is speaking of unclean meats. But it CAN be proven that its not. There are many other passages that consistently teach we should keep the commandments. Here is one example in scripture that shows Yahweh’s consistent concern for people who eat unclean animals:

Isa 66:15-18 – For behold, Yahweh will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire.16 For by fire and by His sword Yahweh will judge all flesh; And the slain of Yahweh shall be many. 17 “Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, To go to the gardens After an idol in the midst, Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse, Shall be consumed together,” says Yahweh.18 “For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory.

This is what Yahweh says he will do when He comes and judges the world with fire. This has not occurred yet. So yes, Yahweh is still concerned that we do not eat things that are abominations to Him. There are a few things in Yahweh’s word that He considers to be an abomination. Eating the flesh of animals that He did not create us to eat is one of them. If we are or have been ignorant of this, Yahweh takes into consideration that our hearts are yielded to what we know of his will, even if we have not fully understood His will for our lives. He can save us in spite of our lack of knowledge, as long as we’re keeping the first great commandment in the knowledge He gives us. So I don’t condemn those who are uniformed or don’t see the things that the Holy Spirit has blessed me to see. But if one has been using Romans 14 as justification for Sabbath breaking and eating swine’s flesh, and working under the assumption that those things were done away with when Messiah died for our sins, I do not see anything in Romans 14 that would prove such a concept. And the concept directly contradicts other scriptures, not only in the prophets, but also within the book of Romans itself. We alI know that Messiah will return and at that time all the world will be under the New Covenant reign for 1000 years: 

Isa 66:22-24 – “For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says Yahweh, “So shall your descendants and your name remain.23 And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says Yahweh.24 “And they shall go forth and look Upon the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

We need to take a hard look at these things and realize that the Sabbath and even the New Moons will be among the observances during the New Covenant reign of Messiah. It is those who have “transgressed against” Him that will be judged. Since He is destroying those who eat swines’s flesh and He is re-establishing worship days on the sabbath and New Moons, it should be obvious that sin is still “transgression of the law” (KJV 1 John 3:4) and Paul in Romans 14 cannot be suggesting that we can eat swine’s flesh and break the sabbath. Otherwise, he would be leading the Romans to transgression and setting them up to be at “enmity” with Yahweh, leading them to have a carnal mind which is “not subject to the law of Elohim, nor indeed can be,” Romans 8:6-7. Let’s not wait until the Messiah has set our theology straight when He returns and re-establishes the Law of Yahweh as being the Law of the land. Let’s seek to be subject to it today; while cleaving to the understanding that it is only by grace that we are saved. For while the law can save no one, we are called to live as Messiah lived and walk as He walked. He was not a Sabbath breaker or swine eater. Yahshua who is the same yesterday, today and forever now wants to manifest His life through us. Let’s allow Him to do that! Talking about not being a Sabbath day breaker brings us to Paul’s final Romans 14. “disputable or doubtful thing”.. debate # 2 [choice days of fasting]

Romans 14:5 – One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.6 He who observes the day, observes it to Yahweh; and he who does not observe the day, to Yahweh he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to Yahweh, for he gives Yahweh thanks; and he who does not eat, to Yahweh he does not eat, and gives Yahweh thanks.

There are various theories on these 2 verses. One already proven inconsistent with scripture theory states that this is talking about the Sabbath. There are several reason why you should believe and see that this is not so. They are:

Since this is talking about the observance of days which are outside the law, one possibility would be that it is referring to days on which men may chose to fast. This does have support in the Romans 14 text because the scripture says:

Romans 14:6 – He who observes the day, observes it to Yahweh; and he who does not observe the day, to Yahweh he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to Yahweh, for he gives Yahweh thanks; and he who does not eat, to Yahweh he does not eat, and gives Yahweh thanks.

Another less certain possibility is Paul could be referring back to his earlier statement in verse 3 where he who “does not eat” is the vegetarian, but this is not necessarily certain. Remember, we are listening to one side of a phone conversation. One of the traditions of the Pharisees in that day was to fast twice a week:

Luke 18:11 – “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `Elohim, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 `I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’

To my knowledge, these are the only outside the law extra-biblical days mentioned in scripture which would be observed “to Yahweh.” Also Yahshua expected that His disciples would fast:

Luke 5:34 – And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 “But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.”

If it is speaking of fast days, the context of the whole chapter of Romans 14 would have one consistent thread: FOOD. This would explain why Paul later says the kingdom of Elohim is not about eating and drinking (vs.17). It was not uncommon to go without both food and water during a fast(Exodus 34:28,Esther 4:16, Acts 23:1).They were disputing about who was right or wrong because some choose to adopt the man made tradition of fasting during certain days of the week; while others choose not to do so at all.CONCLUSION:Whether addressing clean foods that weaker brothers avoid eating because they in ignorance believe the (broma) are made unclean, or whether or not brothers should or shouldn’t be fasting on certain days of the week, Paul goes into Romans 15 with this admonition…

Romans 15:1-3 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Messiah did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me. 
 
Paul then in the very next verse states exactly what they will be learning-everything that was written before in Yahweh’s Law “the scriptures”…

Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 

Eventually, those weak in the faith will understand the Law of Elohim well enough and there will be no more “doubtful disputations.”

Simply put, all Paul is teaching, as it relates to debate #1, is that we can eat anything that was already written in the past to be declared clean (broma). We do not need to be concerned with the doubtful doctrines or concerns of men that are not rooted in the Word of Elohim. Yahshua already taught us on this matter in Mark 7.

Concerning debate #2, We do not need to dispute over whether our brothers choose days of the week to fast or not. As long as we stick to and grow in the knowledge of the Word of Elohim, then we are strong in the faith. Those who exercise doubtful disputations outside of the Word of Elohim are weak in the faith. We need to be patient with them and be careful not to offend their faith as they continue to learn about everything. As they grow in the leading of the Holy Spirit, they will eventually come to the same conclusions