There is no lack of different theological view points on many Christian doctrine. Outside of what many would consider the “essential” doctrine, there lie a multitude of secondary and even tertiary doctrine that people adhere to. The essentials would be considered non-negotiable, but the secondary and tertiary are up for scriptural grab, as they typically are backed up by enough scripture to lean in either direction.
For anyone wanting to mature as a Christian, you will likely discover people who do not affirm the same doctrinal stance as you do, and that’s ok, because it’s through challenge that we come to solidify our stances. However, as human beings we are apt to take personal offense to someone who adheres to a different theology or secondary doctrine. It’s easy to dismiss someone who believes different than you, and often easier to write them off as an ignoramus.
I hope to inspire you to do these 3 things the next time you are confronted with a doctrine that is different from yours (this does not include the essential doctrines):
- Take a step back from the doctrine and ask “is this essential to the Christian faith?” – It may feel like it is, because it’s essential to you, but I would be willing to wager that most of the various doctrines are not so. Here is a great article that lists many of the essentials.
- Without arguing, ask for as much information from the person presenting you with this new doctrine. – They may present to you something you had not considered before. At the very least they can provide to you enough information for you to determine how scripturally sound this doctrine is.
- Research not only the doctrine in question, but also those that counter that doctrine. – Just because your favorite preacher or teacher may hold adamantly to one doctrine doesn’t mean they are the sole authority. Take the time to write down the counter points and take them to the Lord for understanding.
When we find ourselves unopened to challenge on our view of scripture or various doctrine we often stagnate in growth and that isn’t helpful to any person. God has given us as the body of Christ, but not everyone is a hand or foot. There seems to be great need for variety within the Christian faith because it keeps us sharp on guard.
At the end of the day, the bible is the sole authority on all matters of God. If a doctrine counters scripture, it should be dismissed. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)