First of all, let me silence the critics who say that there are no "essential doctrines" as the entire Bible is essential. They feel it is false and even heresy to say that there are essential doctrines. As I have stated many times elsewhere, it is essential to define terms. They clearly don't understand the definition and deeper meaning of this phrase. Let me start by saying that every word in the Holy Bible is sacred, inspired and essential. However, the use of the phrase "essential doctrines" is referring to the fact that there are doctrines that we can extract from Scripture which are traditionally considered by Orthodox Christianity to be "essential" for correct doctrine and a Christian worldview. There are many things that we cannot ascertain from Scripture and a difference of opinion on these is inevitable. Some of these things are naturally going to be more important than others and the use of the term "essential doctrines" refers to those which would deliniate whether or not someone has what would be considered true Christian beliefs or not. The other beliefs are often termed "non-essentials," for example, drinking alcohol, dancing, dress issues, dietary issues, etc. I discuss this on my Morals/Convictions page.
The Bible is very clear on the essential doctrines and is in agreement 100%. There are over 24,000 fragments and manuscripts of the New Testament and they all say the exact same thing when it comes to the essential doctrines. The other minor differences are typos, word order differences, etc.
It is very important that the Church rally around these essential doctrines and find unity in them through Christ. The "non-essentials" should not lead to division, only minor differences overshadowed by love and unity in the body of Christ. The only separation occurs when the essentials are compromised and more on this can be found on the false teachings page.
© Todd Tyszka
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