In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity

Church bulletin:

Does the Bible present the concept of primary and secondary truth, or essential and non-essential truth? While all truth is truth and necessary, belief in some doctrines is essential to salvation.

The Bible: If faith comes through the teaching / reading of scripture, it must involve the belief that scripture is God’s Word and thus infallible.
The human condition: No-one will be saved unless they are convinced they need to be saved.
The person and work of Christ: Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. If this was not the case He could not redeem us. He lived a perfect life, died as a penal substitute and rose from the dead on our behalf. If this was not the case He could not redeem us.
Grace and faith: We will not be converted if we think we contribute in any way to Christ’s work. Salvation is ours only on the basis of grace alone through faith alone.

Then there are doctrines, should we get them wrong, we will not fall short of God’s kingdom. For example:

Baptism: The Biblical expectation is that believers will be baptized; baptism however is only a sign of salvation not a prerequisite to it. We are saved irrespective of the sign.
Corporate worship: from unaccompanied psalm singing to big bands and choirs; we may feel that some practices are not overly helpful, nevertheless sincere Christians differ in their approach.
Eschatology: all Christians believe in the literal physical return of Christ, but there are different views as to the circumstances of His return and what follows.

Every doctrine in the Bible is important. This does not mean that every doctrine carries the same degree of importance. There are two extremes we must avoid: firstly, denigrating doctrines to irrelevancy if they are not necessary for salvation (this is particularly seen today in relation to baptism and the Lord’s Supper); secondly, making every doctrine a test orthodoxy as though there is no room to move. Augustine said, “in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity”. A helpful rule to follow.