In this chapter Paul is speaking about the danger of believers criticizing other believers. It seems that the problem arose from believers saying that other believers were wrong by their dietary preferences or when they choose to worship. Paul’s concern is that it is important to have faith, but it is not important to nitpick in such a way. “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.” (14:1 NLT). The important thing is to believe in Jesus.
Now obviously there are things that are wrong. There are teachings out there that are completely against the gospel, even though they claim to follow Jesus. It is important for those that are more mature in the faith to correct those that start to follow these false teachings, but otherwise we cannot pick out every detail.
There is a couple at our church that my wife and I have started to become friends with. They are vegetarians and my wife has been quoted as saying, “Salad isn’t food, salad is what food eats.” Now Paul is saying that neither of us is wrong. Now we could have a theological argument over this, but honestly in the scope of salvation it is a non-issue.
But I think what lies at the root of this chapter is what Paul says in verse 19, “So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” (NLT). The church isn’t a place where we tell everyone they are wrong, or beat each other down. It is supposed to be a safe place where believers can gather with other believers and build each other up. It is true that everyone has a slightly different approach and view of God and Jesus, and that is because of their experience. All those viewpoints help us to know the true God. Music is pretty boring if every instrument and voice did the same part. It become interesting when we add harmony. So just like music, harmony is important in the life of the church. Simply do everything for the glory of God.