Our world is filled with opinions. From the time we wake up till the time we go to bed, we hear many opinions. They are in casual conversations, on the television, the radio. They say, “This is the best way to wash your car,” “this mop will pick up everything,” “this vacuum will clean the air so well,” “I believe the accident started with . . .,” and so forth. Opinions are beliefs about something that may or may not be true. In fact, many court cases end with, “It is the opinion (or view) of this court that . . .” So, opinions are definitely a part of our lives. However, how can we relate what we know about opinions to religion?
Well obviously, spiritually, we are suppose to teach others (Matt. 28:20). We didasko, that is, we teach or instruct others. And we in essence, are able to know by learning (2 Tim. 2:15) by which, we are able to teach others (2 Tim. 2:2). Now, because what a teacher does (and some are more studious than others), we may involve ourselves in many different studies and several different discussions or topics so that in the end, the teacher is leading one in a definite direction so that learning takes place. In Christianity, we learn all we can so that we are teachers who defend the Faith from various angles (Phil. 1:17), are fishers of all men and not some men (Matt. 4:19; 1 Cor. 9:22) and laborers in the Gospel of Christ (1 Thess. 3:2). And so all of us, including preachers must make sure that real learning, that is true to the Word of God, takes place. However, there are times when opinions may be given as a logical conclusion based upon a teacher’s study.
Take for instance, an article I wrote a few weeks ago regarding the Peace Symbol. While I realize that I was stating my opinion that it was wrong to wear a Peace Symbol, it was just an opinion based upon my research. It of course cannot be bound because it has little to do with the Word of God and any attempt to bind this would be pointless. However, I believe that we all can bind that true peace comes from Christ. After all, “. . . his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). Indeed, in a world of chaos and corrupt overlords, the Prince of Peace is the Giver of all blessings.
Now when encountering opinions, we find several examples of those who had them in the Bible. Do we not remember the discussions between Peter and Paul (Gal. 2:11-21)? In Jn. 18:38, we find Pilate who formed his opinion that there was no guilt found in Jesus. Of course, we all know that this was true. And what did Paul mean when he penned by inspiration, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations” (Rom. 14:1)? Brother Moses E. Lard stated his opinion about what Paul wrote here, by stating, “Accept him, but not to the end of deciding relative to his thoughts in regard to certain things. These thoughts are his own private opinions respecting things about which there is no command. He, therefore, has the right to hold them without interference from others.”
When I wrote in the peace symbol article, “no Christian should want to wear, support, or show respect for any symbol which indicates allegiance to the opponents of Christianity,” I did not attempt to bind. Otherwise, I would have wrote, “Christians are forbidden to wear the peace symbol.” This violates 1 Tim. 4:1 in attempting to bind where God has not bound.
Truly in our studies, we come upon many fascinating things and side studies and desire to share them with one another from our diligent, honest and careful studying. But indeed, there is no other will by Gods’. There is no other inspired book besides the Bible. And, opinions are personal beliefs that all of us hold. So, let us not bind them. Yet we all need to realize that, since Christians come from different backgrounds, let us all seek to live together in harmony, seeking the Truth, clinging to the Truth, maintaining peace. Amen.