What's Major and What's Minor?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    In another thread, the statement was made that we should quit arguing over minor issues.

    My question is, what are the major issues over which you'll go to the mat, and what are the minor issues about which we ought not to argue?

    I'm not talking about here on the BB. Nothing is exempt from debate here. I'm talking about in other settings, such as within your congregation, association, state convention or the SBC.
     
    #1 Tom Butler, Nov 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2007
  2. tinytim

    tinytim
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/tim2.jpg>

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    11,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    The fundamentals of Christianity.. I will fight for...

    Inerrancy of the Scripture
    The virgin birth and the deity of Jesus
    The doctrine of substitutionary atonement
    The bodily resurrection of Jesus
    The authenticity of Christ's miracles
    His physical return.


    Along with The Baptist distinctives... because I believe they are Biblical.

    Biblical authority
    Autonomy of the local church
    Priesthood of all believers
    Two ordinances, Believer's Baptism by immersion, and the Lord's Supper
    Individual soul liberty
    Separation of Church and State
    Two offices of the church (pastor and deacon)
    Saved church membership

    I looked these up on Wiki... because I forgot what they were right off the top of my head.... :laugh: :tonofbricks:

    There may be others that I would stand toe to toe for, like eternal Security, but these are the big ones for which I would take a stand.
     
    #2 tinytim, Nov 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2007
  3. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    Foundational elements of the Christian faith:

    Trinity
    Deity and humanity of Christ
    Substutionary Atonement
    Exclusivity of Christianity
    Virgin Birth
    Fallen nature of mankind
    Resurrection of Christ
    Second Coming of Christ
    Reality of Heaven and Hell
    Inspiration of Scripture

    Those are the foundational elements. They are non-negotiable, everything else breaks down to doctrinal positions and preferences. (Note: I don't believe that the style of music you use in a service being a doctrinal position.)

    Also, I like and use the Baptist acrostic that Tim used...but replace the last "s" with Soul Liberty. I like his last "s" though. :)
     
  4. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    So there seems to be some agreement on the foundational doctrines.

    The type of music was mentioned by preachinjesus as a non-essential. How about some more?
     
  5. Gold Dragon

    Gold Dragon
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    3,837
    Likes Received:
    3
    Some of the issues that appear to divide churches these days include:

    homosexuality
    female pastors
    seeker-sensitive focus
    prosperity gospel


    Some older issues that commonly divided churches include:

    Calvinism/Free-will
    speaking in tongues
    eschatology/adventism
    form of baptism
    infant baptism
    open/closed/close communion
    alcohol


    I don't think I would consider any of these issues majors.
     
  6. JustChristian

    JustChristian
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,833
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe we have a different definition of major and minor. I believe that the major items are those that would be shared by all Christians (Baptists, Presbaterians, Methodists, etc.). With that in mind I would exclude all Baptist distinctives. The thing that I keep asking myself is if God accepts Christians that don't share certain beliefs with us who are we to say that we won't accept them?
     
  7. StefanM

    StefanM
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    72
    A good question to ask, if you ask me!
     
  8. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe I should define the issue more narrowly. What issues, doctrines or other views would cause you to deny membership in your congregation? Or would cause you to leave your church?

    Let's take Stephanos' list:

     
  9. npetreley

    npetreley
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    If someone disagrees with you on an issue, and you don't like that person, then the issue is major and may even be evidence that the person is not saved. If you are indifferent or better about that person, then the issue is minor.
     
  10. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    It depends on why you put on ignore if something is major or minor :)
     
  11. StefanM

    StefanM
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    72
    That wasn't my list, by the way!
     
  12. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, it was Gold Dragon's. So, are there any of them you would make a test of fellowship?
     
  13. youngmom4

    youngmom4
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    0
    All I can say is... :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  14. blackbird

    blackbird
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    11,898
    Likes Received:
    2
    Took the words right out of my mouth!!!

    I'd face the Gaunlet for the list above!!!
     
  15. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,093
    Likes Received:
    218
    Lets throw a twist into this.
    Personally, I am open communion - and I would consider that somewhat a minor doctrine. I would not have a problem if someone joined our church if they were closed communion.

    But supposed they beacame a Sunday School teacher and started teaching closed communion. Now is it a minor or major doctrine?

    Should we have two classes of membership - 1 for teachers - 1 for those not allowed to teach ....

    Thoughts

    Salty
     
  16. christianyouth

    christianyouth
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    1
    A lot of us agree on what is major and minor. My next question is one that I'm sure some of you were anticipating. Does the Bible distinguish between major issues and minor issues? In other words, what basis do we have for saying that there are majors and minors? Personal preference? Our understanding of what one must believe to be saved?

    I mean, I liked what Tim said. Churches that start denying things like the virgin birth, etc, show that they have a very desupernaturalized view of God and His interactions with mankind, and would probably have a problem with the first few chapters in Genesis as well. But how can we say that Baptism is not just as crucial. What about gifts of the Spirit or so on?

    These are honest questions and are in no way an attempt to suggest that no distinction should be drawn between major/minors. Intuitvely, I believe there is minors. Personally, I see Calvinism and Arminianism as a minor, a view recently adopted that has been incredbily liberating. I also agree with PJ, that music is a minor issue. Now, I think that our music is a good indicator of our view of ministry, and thus is important, but no one will go to hell for promoting Christian rock.

    To sum up once more : Does Scripture draw distinction between the majors and the minors?
     
  17. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    This is an interesting example of conversations like this...only a few have actually positted a list of foundational elements. The rest have barely touched on the OP.

    What I find in my conversations from place to place is the same thing. When asked what a foundational element of their faith might be many don't actually address the issue but are happy to critique other suggestions. I'm really not saying too much here but pointing out that the OP is more about what do you believe is major and what might be some minors than adding conjecture to a few lists. :)
     
  18. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's a partial list of views that I would not make a test of fellowship.

    Eschatology.
    Wine vs. grape juice in the Lord's Supper
    Bible versions
    Skirt length, women's slacks
    Hair length, both men and women.
    Calvinism/Non-Cal
    Landmarkism/non-Landmark
    Open/Closed Communion
    Style of Music

    Gold Dragon listed some other issues he thought were minor. I would not be a member of a congregation which

    Spoke in tongues
    Baptized Infants
    Did not immerse
    Accepted as valid baptism a form other than immersion.
    Welcomed and affirmed homosexuals as members.
    Had a female pastor
    Preached a prosperity gospel
    Had a pastor who preached a six-part sermon series on hot sex.

    I may list others if I think of them. My list of non-essentials is a lot shorter than I expected when I started my list.
     
  19. StefanM

    StefanM
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    72
    What about a fix-part series? :laugh:
     
  20. Amy.G

    Amy.G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    13,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    That could be interesting. I've got some parts that could use fixin'! :laugh:
     

Share This Page

Loading...