Praise the Lord for a great day of teaching and fellowship at the chapel! In the morning we looked at a robust basis for true unity amongst the churches. In the afternoon we had pleasant weather for our Tortworth Lake walk and tea and were blessed to have Rev. Maurice Wheatley with us in the evening when he spoke on providence. It was great to have so many family members and guests along with us too!
Further to the our sermon from Amos 3:3 (“How can two walk together unless they are agreed”) here are a couple helpful articles if you would like to pursue the topic further.
Our FIEC Gospel Unity Statement can be found here.
On the subject of theological triage you can find a helpful article by Albert Mohler Jr. here.
Another helpful model comes from the ESV Study Bible (2008), pp. 2506-07. I summarize it here. Similar to the model of theological triage is one of a target, or concentric circles. We are to aim to hit the mark in the middle, not straying from orthodox belief. That said we must recognize that not all doctrines have the same significance and affect how we relate to others who profess to be a believer or who truly are. We need to ask ourselves the question, “on which hill are we willing to die.” Let us not confuse the periphery for the centre.
The relative importance of theological issues can fall within four categories: absolutes or the core beliefs of Christianity, convictions or those beliefs which are so important have a significant impact of the health and effectiveness of the Church, opinions or items that are less clear and certainly not worth dividing over, and questions or unsettled items to which answers would not necessarily effect or alter the absolute tenants of the Faith.
To help one discern where a theological or practical issues falls within the circle one can weigh the cumulative force of the following seven considerations: 1) relevance to the character of God; 2) biblical clarity; 3) relevance to the essence of the gospel; 4) biblical frequency and significance; 5) effects on other doctrines; 6) consensus among Christians; and 7) effect on personal and Church life. These need to be understood collectively. Often only one of these seven tools is used which produces a skewed result and a person or tribe resting upon an absolute that is actually an opinion (or visa versa). “The ability to rightly discern the difference between core doctrines and legitimately disputable matters will keep the Church from either compromising important truth or needlessly dividing over peripheral issues.”
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,