I created a bit of confusion with my previous post.
The list of “non-negotiables” shared there is not totally made up of things I consider “test of fellowship” issues – those are mostly doctrines I believe in strongly and will defend strongly.
But there are some doctrines that should cause us to draw a line in the sand – doctrines that should determine whether we fellowship others or not, and by “fellowship”, I mean accept them as a brother or sister in Christ.
From my study of the Scriptures, these “Big Three” are it:
- Belief in God.
- Belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
- Submission and commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master.
These are salvation issues, and when heresies cropped up in the New Testament, these were doctrines those heresies distorted or contradicted.
I was raised within a faith tradition that taught if you go to a different kind of church you are probably doomed to hell, if you don’t understanding certain things at the moment of your baptism you are probably doomed to hell, if you don’t worship a certain way you are probably doomed to hell, and if you neglect to organize your church a certain way you are probably doomed to hell.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my faith tradition and will never leave it – but I’ve dwelled in the scriptures for a few years now and do not believe I should have ever been taught those things.
So many of the things our tradition has made fellowship issues over the years are every bit as ridiculous as anything in that video I showed the other day, because they are extrapolations from scripture – not clear commands.
I really appreciate what Monte Cox said a few years ago at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures: “I’m not comfortable drawing lines in the sand where God has not clearly drawn them – I’m too conservative for that.”
I’m with Monte – I’m just not willing to draw lines where God hasn’t clearly done so Himself.