Pancreas made a list...

A few days ago, Pancreas commented on a prior post:

Tomorrow night I'm going to be teaching about non-negotiables, looking at Paul's understanding of Christian freedom, the NT understanding of the Law, and examples of cultural engagement biblically...

The question in my mind is this:
Given what I see in scripture with respect to how Christians should engage the surrounding culture are there some non-negotiables? Are there things that no Christian should do and things that every Christian should do?

So far, here's a working list:

Should nots
1. illegal drugs
2. drunkenness
3. pornography/objectification
4. sex outside of marriage
5. gossip/slander

1. generosity
2. peace/justice issues
3. disciple-making/evangelism

Obviously, both lists elicit a number of other questions... So here's my follow-up thought... What would you take off each list? What would you add? As Christians engage the surrounding culture, what are the non-negotiables that should and shouldn't mark our interactions?
My response to Pancreas' list was positive. Although I think creating lists (like this, no matter how noble) immediately freezes concepts into a form of rigidity that becomes potentially harmful down the road when good intentions become stale legalities.

Nonetheless, I have some questions

  • Pornography vs. art?
  • Marriage as defined by the church, or by the state?
  • Do drugs stop being sin when they are legalized?
  • Define "evangelism"
  • Define "drunk" ;)

I'm comfortable with evangelism because I don't view evangelism as something demanding a pre-packaged "salvation plan," but rather loving, outwardly focused living in the real world, that sometimes names God, and sometimes names goodness and truth (which conveniently overlap).
I'm comfortable with disciple-making because it tends to presuppose a relationship - hopefully one based on mutual respect.I'll have to get back to you on additional "shoulds." I'm trying to sidestep some of the culture war fodder that could be here (i.e. gay marriage, whose justice, etc...)

How about YOU? What would you do with this list?

Add to it? Subtract from it? Edit? Throw it away?

Thanks again for sharing Pancreas. Let us know how your study group went!


non-metaphysical stephen said...


How about: 1) Love God with everything you have and are. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. 3) Bear one another's burdens.

I think aside from these, everything else is negotiable -- there is a time and a place and a purpose etc.

I wonder if the Pharisees couldn't understand Jesus because their list of non-negotiables got in the way, whereas the prostitutes and tax-gatherers were able to discover his Truth.

Peter said...

Ha! Yes! Fabulous, Non-Meta-Steve!

Isn't that exactly what Jesus boiled the Law down to? And Paul, to "love" alone?!

Well said.

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