Just finished reading a book by Al Mohler called He is Not Silent. Very good book that I’d recommend to anyone involved in ministry, even though it is effectually written for pastors. One particular thing that stands out to me is the three levels of doctrine defined by Mohler as:
- Level 1 – Essentials of the Faith. This level includes things like the virgin birth, the Trinity, the Resurrection, and the deity of Christ. If we don’t get these right, we can’t really consider ourselves Christians.
- Level 2 – There is room within level two for disagreement, but these are serious enough that we couldn’t really worship together on a regular basis if we did not agree. Things included in this group may be infant baptism, charismatic gifts, and position on predestination.
- Level 3 – These are non-essential to the Faith. It doesn’t mean they aren’t important or shouldn’t be discussed. It simply means we won’t have to break fellowship over a disagreement. One thing that pops in to my mind on this level would be eschatology.
The reason I bring this up is because it seems like some here only recognize Level 1 and Level 3. You either push to call someone a heretic, or you don’t think it’s worth making a fuss about. That makes discussion particularly tough for me, because I would say most of the disagreements that I share on this site fall into Level 2. I’m not saying the person in error can’t be a Christian. I’m not calling them a heretic or a false prophet. However, for the most part, I’m not nit-picking either. I’m pointing out (sometimes in a light-hearted manner) things that I consider to be very serious issues. I point them out because I think these issues need to be addressed by each individual believer, and sadly, some modern leaders seem to want them swept under a rug.
I want to hear from you. Which issues fall into each level for you? Is this completely subjective, or is there a biblical standard to follow? Does it matter at all, or is it enough for one to confess belief in Jesus?