a group conscience
– just as individuals (“each…own mind” Rom 14:5) reach conclusions on Matters of Conscience so also a group (“you [plural]…same mind…one accord…one voice” Rom 15:5-7) can and should have conclusions on Matters of Conscience.
– these conclusions are simply what they have agreed is their
unique common ground on M of C. It is their consensus (their
chosen unity in application) and thus their group conscience.
note: Don’t we need to be very careful to NOT let another church, outside experts or institution control our group situation? Instead, we should encourage Christ-centered culture and community that is well fitted to the spiritual needs of our own people.
– a group conscience does not mean every individual in it must think exactly the same way on all Matters of Conscience (Rom 14:19).
Obviously “mutual upbuilding” does not refer to robotic thinking in all M of C. That would contradict the priesthood of the believer (Rom 14:12).
btw – some people in our own chosen group, young or old, at some point may do in M of C whatever their conscience can bear – so…?
We should learn from the past. The stricter a group tries to be on M of C the less convincing they will sound on matters of Clear Biblical Command.
– In M of C we should let Gospel grace keep us from elevating our preferred applications to the same level as Divine Revelation. A sentimental or defensive attachment to traditionalism is idolatry as much as putting cultural relevance on a high pedestal.
(“don’t canonize your applications…don’t dogmatize your applications”) Matt Olson sermon
– In M of C one Christian group’s common ground is not superior to a different group’s common ground (Rom 15:7, “accept one another”). God welcomes us into His Divine Community.