I received the following question:

Regarding Romans 14. Can you use this passage to bring up not going to church today or why we should not get baptized with water?

Romans 14, as you know, encourages us not to use our freedom in Christ in a way that would cause other believers to stumble. It is important that we have a good attitude towards our fellow believers, no matter what false doctrines they might be believing. It is not right to despise our fellow believers, no matter what wrong ideas they might have. If they believe in and love the Lord Jesus Christ, they are our brothers and sisters, and we should not reject or mistreat them just because they have some false doctrine.

That said, the Romans 14 passage is perhaps not the best thing to apply to these situations. What might arise through telling someone I haven’t been water baptized? Maybe they would think, “Wow, maybe I shouldn’t get water baptized either”? What would be wrong with that? It seems unlikely that just knowing this is going to induce anyone to sin. More likely, it will either make them think that there is something wrong with you or you are not pleasing God, or else will make them really think about the issue. It is hard to think of a scenario where it could lead a person to sin.

On the other hand, not going to church is something that maybe you would want to be more careful with. People equate going to church with having a relationship with God, or with caring about your faith. It would be preferable if people know we care about our faith and our Lord, and that we do have a relationship with Him, before they know we do not attend a church. We do not want to promote the idea that as long as I am saved, I can live my life without giving God a second thought, and that is fine. (Of course, one has to question whether a person who does that actually is saved at all, but that is another issue.) So this could encourage someone to stumble. A bit of caution might be in order. But ultimately, it is probably not good to lie about this, and I don’t think it is nearly as likely to cause someone to stumble as someone eating meat offered to idols was when Paul wrote Romans.

Remember, the weak in faith was not believing what God had said, which was that meat offered to idols by others was fine if you ate it unto Him. They should have had more faith and believed this. However, they did have good Biblical precedent for this. Remember that Daniel and his friends refused to eat meat, no doubt for this very reason. So they had Scripture for it, just not right division. God had given new instructions for the Acts period.

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