Sunday, August 17, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The reading for today in Romans 1 establishes a truth (doctrine) for mankind to believe that God is who He says He is. There are dozens of other doctrines that God teaches us in His Word, but for Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 1, verses 18-21 are like Genesis chapter one.

Ancient Roman farmers were pantheistic, believing that gods and spirits inhabited everything in nature (much like the Baha’i Faith today). The practice of their faith was both private and public. “Lar Familiaris” was a guardian spirit/god that watched over individual families. Every family had a Lar Familiaris. For them, their Pantheism was central to daily life.

Later on, the Etruscans and Greeks influenced Roman religious culture as Rome became an Empire. Pantheism evolved into the worship of three major gods: Jupiter (Zeus), Juno (Hera), and Minerva (Athena).

Roman worship was done privately, and publicly. Public worship took place at a temple that became known as the “Capitoline Triad.” Already, within the dominant Triad belief system existing in Rome, Paul found a basis of common ground that he could build upon to explain the One True God as a Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit made up one single God, in three persons.

But Roman had many other, lesser gods too. And it doesn’t take much of a stretch to understand that Lar Familiaris might have been the basis for the Roman Church’s Guardian Angels, for Guardian Angels have endured through Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity.

As Paul had done with the Athenians, he found common ground upon which he could build a true and enduring faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. With Paul’s teachings, the Romans found themselves without an excuse for not believing in God and Jesus Christ.

Today, evangelists face the same thing: unbelieving people who hear the truth, and now have no excuse to not believe. Once their eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit, a decision must be made. The only question is whether it will be the right decision.

“Harden not your heart, as in the day of provocation…” Psalm 95:8 

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