..be sure to do your part in maintainin' ..or in preservin' if you will.. the unity of the Spirit with other fishers. Imperative!
You don't have to create it - unity - or weird-out majorin' on minors (..like elevating non-essentials to the importance-level of our essential tenants of the faith) ..or even in minorin' on majors with Family members or strangers (i.e., in an effort to unify with say Muslems, New agers, JWs, or Mormons).
We are called to unify with bornagain believers around Christ and the clear Essentials in the Word, and then we cut peeps some slack. Important. You already know this, but I like to remind folks cuz I need to be.
Remember: Of course it is not in any way arrogant to be fully convinced in your own mind about the truth that you study. Yeah, to strongly believe something like.. "Hey gang, I challenge you to go check it out well in the Bible—I'm confident that right on this one."
But proceed with discerning caution and some deferring restraint in serving with saints, cuz it is indeed arrogant to not consider along the way about the possibility that "Hey I'm a mere mortal and I could be wrong on this secondary, doctrinal-grey-area so I too will recheck."
"Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers." 2 Tim. 2:14
We can't connect with the Father without having Jesus inside, and we won't trust Jesus without knowing Him. And we can't know Him apart from His written word, His essentials and believing prayer. And remember, when you see broken beyond repair He sees healing beyond belief! @Kurtwvs
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men [and 'all' in the original language here actually means: all], apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves..." 2 Tim. 2:24-25, emph. mine
God makes us tender-hearted and kind like Jesus, as we make the choice to be like Him. Dear.. dear brothers and sisters, many secondary differences can still be respectfully debated even in a spirited way, but why go and break fellowship with family members when these ole debates which godly saints have thoroughly discussed, have been around for multiple centuries? Have we not nets and hooks to cast instead of minutes to burn?
Peace-out bro n sis. Let love compel you—no witnessin' time to waste! Be gracious. Be a blessing to hang with. Both sinners and saints loved to be with Jesus. He had a great attitude with the right priorities. Be godly ..daily, instead of pugnacious, uber-gruff, abrasive, puffed, hurtful, divisive, or contentious.
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." See Paul's whole context with Eph. 4:1-3, nkjv
"Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind." ~ Eric Hoffer
"We put up with anything rather than hinder the Gospel of Christ." 1 Cor. 9:12
Holy fear, a clear conscience, accuracy with the text-work, and pure-passion must inform our tone, inner human spirit, approach, and tact ..for indeed our hook, net, and appropriate bait-occasions don't really come by so often ..and besides.. these are your last days as well as mine no matter your escatological stance.
The Essentials of Christianity
By Kurt von Schleicher
When we talk about the essentials, we are referring to the basic elements that make up and characterize our historic faith, and which separate it from other false belief systems in the earth. Our goal is to make people so familiar with the Word of God and the essentials of the Christian faith that when a counterfeit looms on the horizon, they will recognize it instantaneously.
I like the maxim Augustine used to quote that originated from a basically unknown German man named, Rupertus Meldenius in AD 1627. Regarding different Christian teachings, Meldenius stated: "In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, and in all things charity." That’s profound, because we all need to let the written Word of God dictate our faith and practice rather than supernatural experiences, feelings, or well-intentioned spiritual leaders and yet not cut off people for minor differences of opinion. We simply need to look to the Lord in this as we prioritize our beliefs and our relationships. Again, we don’t ever want to break fellowship with other Christians just because we can’t come into a full agreement about the periphery doctrines of our faith that really aren’t pertinent to salvation—namely non-essentials. Maybe like me, you've experienced a situation were a TV preacher was verbally elevating secondary teachings to the level of cardinal/essential Christian doctrine and then watching them divide with other Christians over these. That’s so wrong and should be addressed!
Today religious leaders from prominent Christian denominations say even Moslems and Mormons will enjoy salvation apart from the Bible Christ. But real Christians must form their unity around nothing more than the Bible Jesus and the Essentials, since essential Christian doctrine forms the only line of demarcation between the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the cults. Now, as perhaps never before, this line is not just slightly blurred by false teachers and their teachings, but it is being totally distorted. The tide in evangelicalism is turning from unity around the essentials to unity despite the essentials -- unity at any price. Sounds sweet, but we aver that truth is more important than unity. Movements within our culture today—cults as well as within the church—are compromising, confusing, and contradicting essential Christian doctrine and it’s time we Christians wake-up to our duty with no compromise!
It is precisely because these essentials have been unrighteously redefined that millions have a completely distorted view of what it means to be a Christian today. Today several putative “Christian leaders,” (para-church and local church ministers) exacerbate the cloudiness and I believe unintentionally obfuscate what’s orthodox. Of course they will use Christian terminology in their teaching and mix in many true statements (otherwise who would swallow the poisoned part), but the meaning they pour into many of the words they use is decidedly unbiblical. Jesus Christ commands, “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24). The Bible says, “Open your mouth, judge righteously” (Prov. 31:9). In light of these verses let’s look at the essentials:
First, we believe in the authority of the Scripture, which is another way of saying that the Bible is God’s inspired, infallible and inerrant Word. It’s the ultimate source for knowledge about God, as well as the definitive guide for our everyday lives.
Second, we affirm the existence of a triune God, or one God in three distinct persons--yes, three distinguishable personages. (In other words we are talking about: a plurality in the divine unity or God’s three-in-oneness. Not three Gods, yet each of these Persons is fully God)—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This God is self-existent, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, righteous, and loving. God created the universe from nothing and He rules over His creation sovereignly including both human and angelic beings. (Note: Though the term “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible it does belong to that class of terms which are biblical in the sense of expressing clear Scriptural teaching).
Third, we also hold that man is a physical and spiritual being who is created in God’s image. But because of his sin or transgression, man has lost his fellowship with God. The extent of sin is so great that its effects continue to this very day in the form of cruelty, suffering, and death.
Next, by God’s grace, Jesus Christ—who is fully God and fully man—was sent to save us from our bondage to sin. We believe that Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died vicariously for our sins, physically rose from the dead, and will one day return to judge the world and deliver His people. Personal faith in Jesus Christ is the only means by which mankind can escape eternal damnation and judgment.
Finally, we recognize the church as God’s ordained institution—a living organism that’s headed by Jesus Christ. The true Church is composed of all believers, and is organized for worship, for fellowship, for the administration of the sacraments, for spiritual growth and support in the Word of God (for there is no spiritual growth apart from the Word), and for the evangelization of the world.
A lot more can be said about these, but here is some further reading: Paul Little’s book Know What You Believe, R.C. Sproul’s Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, also Bruce Milne’s Know The Truth (IVP). Kurtwvs.tumblr.com