Thursday, February 22, 2007

Majors and Minors: What's Your Majors/Minors?

If you've been in an Evangelical church for any length of time you've probably heard the phrase, "We should major on the majors, and minor on the minors."

But what does that mean? Would you agree with me that it means different things to different people? What it means to R.C. Sproul or John Piper will mean something different to T.D. Jakes or Joel Osteen.

What does it mean to you? What are your "majors" and "minors?" The Trinity? The meaning of Communion? The Gifts of the Spirit in operation today (e.g. tongues)? The End Times?

I'd love to hear what you think. Please tell us!

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

Here's what John MacArthur says about What Doctrines are Fundamental. Good stuff!


At 2/26/2007 11:00 PM, Blogger Walter Hampel said...

I do think that a precise definition of "majors" and "minors" will vary from one believer to another. It is true that theological frameworks can color our perception of what is important and what is not. The trick is to pray that these priorities and emphases are in line with God's Word to us in Scripture.

We know from the Apostle Paul that there actually is a category of things of "first importance." These include the death of Christ according to the Scriptures, His burial and His resurrection, also according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Upon reflection, I've developed a position on majors and minors in which a "major" is something about Christ which testifies of Him or His work for us as shown in the Bible, be it direct or inferential. If someone challenges that, that is taking on a "major." For example, the Scriptures are clear that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. In light of another effort to discredit Christianity by folks like James Cameron who are presenting an argument for "the lost tomb of Jesus", we see a challenge to a major, first importance belief of Christianity. Christ's resurrection as a real event in space and time is not a minor point.

I do think that at least one belief in Christianity is a "major" despite not being explicitly stated in the Bible. The belief is the doctrine of the Trinity. While the explicit doctrine is not found for a few generations after Christ, the implications of the Scriptures which speak of the Father as God, the Son as God and the Holy Spirit as God, as well as the knowledge that there is only one God, is a direct implication from Scripture and is a major belief of our faith.

I do see minors as those area where disagreement does not challenge the authority of Scripture and the integrity of our faith. For example, I do understand the doctrine of Christ gathering His elect st the end of the age as being very important. Yet, the timing of that gathering, be it 7 years before Christ's return, 3.5 years before or coinciding with His return is a minor point of comparison.

I do think that the Apostle Paul's admonition to understand the importance of holding to unity of the Holy Spirit until we arrive at unity in the faith. I see this passage as a reminder to me to be very careful before holding to some point of the faith as "major" or "minor."

I really like the blog. The name of the blog makes the point. Doctrine does matter. Without it, we're deceived into living a life in which our ethics and morals come first and our theology (if we even have any) is developed as a result. In light of the approach of the Bible, especially found in Romans and Hebrews, where the ethical and moral injunctions come AFTER the presentation of doctrine, an "ethics/morals first" approach is the exact opposite of the biblical approach.

Thanks again. I've put a link to this blog on my blog.

Walter Hampel

At 2/27/2007 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

The Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

I like to try to be as ecumenical as possible. These two creeds for me are pretty good at stating the essentials of the faith.




Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home