The Problem Posed by Food Offered to Idols

This meditation is based on a passage for March 10, 2010 in the Daily Lectionary Year 2 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).

Text: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Reflection and Question: I learned recently of a sobering application of Paul’s counsel to refrain from eating meat offered to idols if doing so would harm a person whose weak conscience still attaches meaning to the sacrifice. In the 19th century, the Dutch Reformed Church based apartheid in the South African church upon a desire to protect the weak consciences of those who did not want to worship with peoples of a different race. They knew this failed the Gospel of one baptism, yet they let it become law. How do we use “the weak conscience” of others to avoid doing the right thing?

Prayer: Holy Spirit, You rule our faith and life in Christ though Scripture. Still, we confess that we can twist the written word, like our South African sisters and brothers, harming others and the church. Forgive us and change our ways, we pray. Amen.