There is a great saying (which is a little hard to track down who said it first) that I think we can regain in our church and in the wider body of Christ. On Essentials Unity, Non-Essentials Liberty, in All Things Charity. In other words, those teachings of “The Faith” that are essential, we should work towards unity on. Those teachings that are peripheral, or secondary, even where there has seldom been unanimous agreement on, that we should allow some freedom on. Namely, there can be differing views in the body of Christ, without automatically being considered heretical. Thirdly, for all those opinions on tertiary items, Christians should show love.
I happen to really love this phrase. I have used it for quite some time. I think it provides the church with a level of guidance and freedom. That the Church can allow viewpoints on numerous topics within the ‘four walls’ from Christians. Moreover, where Christianity has not reached unanimous agreement, Christians are free to think what they will. We might also say that the the essentials are those things that are very clear Biblically. The non-essentials are the things that are less clear. And, the “all things’ category are those things that are even less clear. So, from the picture in this blog, the essentials are right before us and the others are at various positions in the fog.
This phrase also protects one group from being able to totally harness control on an issue to the expense of others. It sets the tone for intellectual honesty and freedom. It sets the tone for Christians not to get lost on secondary’s and divide over non-essentials. Many in the early Church would be shocked to see how Christians have divided over non-essentials. Finally, it gives helpful room to navigate discussions with Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, and more…who for the most part all share in the essentials of the faith.
What are the Essentials? Well, I will get to that in the next blog.
For THE FAITH