If Christianity is true, then it requires action. If atheism is true, it requires the same. Some of my skeptical friends would argue that absence of belief in a deity requires no action, but only rejection of beliefs based on the opposite. Fair enough. But my duty here is not to tear down another’s beliefs or lack thereof. My vocation is to constructively build the propositions of following Christ, then openly listen to the arguments that may deconstruct them. My vocation is to converse, not to monologue (that became a verb in The Incredibles, but alas the stuffy OED does not acknowledge it).
So what proposition (if, then logic statement) do I find in Romans 2? I find one of the chief stumbling blocks in faith – – that Christians are hypocrites. Why is that so common an objection? Because it is so commonly true. So I return to my assertion that all humans, me chief among them, are fallen and that scripture is self-correcting.
I’ll take Romans 2 a few verses at a time, just like Romans 1, but let me start with the conclusion: Christians who judge others are far out on a thin limb. When I formed my understanding of Romans 1: that God speaks through creation and revelation of scripture, and that the chief sin of the human is to worship created things (herself or himself) rather than the creator, it was always with the knowledge that Romans 2 was coming.
Romans 2 says this – – who am I to judge you? Am I qualified? Do I speak or live with authority? Do I understand the balance between wrath and mercy? Do I even understand the meaning of those words?
My appeal here is not to the skeptic. I understand that if scripture has no resonance then these words may be meaningless. But – – to a believer who accepts the authority of these words, be careful and remember what they say. And to the curious skeptic – – please hold me to my own standards – – too often I’ve been a hypocrite.
Next postings: Romans 2.
**By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons