Martin Luther, who, was instrumental in the Protestant Reformation, said, “It is neither right nor safe to act against conscience.” Luther, with his conscience informed by the Scriptures, had become convinced over matters that he could not turn away from and matters that he could not ignore, stood his ground. Are you interested in learning more about the conscience and how to inform yours? Consider listening to the following sermons by Dr. Caldwell delivered to the congregation at Founders Baptist Church, Spring, Texas:
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The Role Of The Conscience In The Christian Life
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Josh Philpot asks Dr. Richard Caldwell to talk with him about the concept of the conscience. Dr. Philpot tells us that he has seen the conscience personified as an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other who whispers into our ears about those things happening inside us, often described as our inner turmoil. But is this the understanding the Bible gives about consciences? What is the conscience, and what is its role, especially in the life of a believer?
The conscience is a God-given warning system that He has built into all of us. It’s the part of us that passes judgment, an internal means by which we judge things that are right or wrong, good or bad. The conscience is an important part of us that is meant to serve us well and should never be taken lightly.
Dr. Caldwell says there are a few things we should know about the conscience. It isn't the Word of God and isn't inerrant. It can be wrongly informed and overly troubled. The conscience can be abused, ignored, and violated. It will only be as good as the information we feed it. As Christians, we are responsible for informing our consciences with the truth of Scripture. Our conscience serves us as a witness to what we know and bears witness against us when we go against it.
As believers, we need to pay attention to it. Dr. Caldwell shares an example from 1 Corinthians 8 and explains how it speaks about how the conscience works. He tells us that this passage reveals a danger involving someone with a stronger, more informed conscience that could cause a person with a weaker conscience to violate their conscience. The result of doing this is a troubled conscience for the one with the weaker conscience. Dr. Caldwell explains that where we often see this played out in the Church is within those areas and with those things we label Christian liberties.
What happens when we go against our conscience? Dr. Caldwell says we end up making it callused in a manner of speaking. Over time as we become less responsive to it, it doesn’t bother us anymore because we've ignored the prompting again and again. That’s why it’s so important to pay close attention to our conscience and not just plow through it. Our consciences must be rightly informed, which involves us saturating our hearts and minds with the Word of God, being transformed and renewed daily, and maturing in our faith. Not doing these things results in an immature faith, having weak, uninformed consciences that lend themselves to guilt and shame. And, if we carry on giving in and going against our conscience, we can sear it, rendering it insensitive, bringing harm to ourselves, but often to others as well.
Can we enforce our conscience standards on others? Dr. Caldwell says no, we can’t do that. What we are speaking about when it comes to matters of conscience are things not clearly spoken about in Scripture. We are talking about those matters not spelled out in the Scriptures. We cannot take our personal standards, even if it is something informed by the Scriptures, and tell someone that the Bible forbids them to do it. Yet we can attempt to inform others. We can try to persuade them by informing their conscience on a matter. But if they remain unsure and not fully convinced about whatever it is that we are free to do, they should not go along with us or participate in it.
As the stronger brother or sister, you should love the Lord and your weaker brother or sister enough to care about this. Even so, it doesn’t mean that the weaker brother or sister should remain uninformed, less informed, or unpersuadable. They ought to be willing to listen to others who desire to share with them what they have learned and to look into and study these things from the Scriptures for themselves. Should they remain unconvinced, they also need to have the strength of their conviction to stand their ground. What we should want more than to please others is to please the Lord. Our aim is to please the Lord over pleasing each other. Therefore, as we love the Lord and love each other, we ought to be able to talk about these things. Yet when we do not arrive at fully convinced minds of agreement, we can agree to disagree with each other without causing strife and division within the Church.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.
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