Over the past week I have referenced an old article by Al Mohler several times. It is titled, “A Call For Theological Triage and Christian Maturity”. The article has been extremely helpful for me when thinking about the differences Christians have over certain doctrinal matters. In the article Mohler categorizes doctrines into a threefold framework that is easy to remember. He illustrates this structure by using a medical triage reference. In this kind of outline priority is given to the most essential and serious matters. Here are a few excerpts:
“…first-order doctrines represent the most fundamental truths of the Christian faith, and a denial of these doctrines represents nothing less than an eventual denial of Christianity itself.”
“The set of second-order doctrines is distinguished from the first-order set by the fact that believing Christians may disagree on the second-order issues, though this disagreement will create significant boundaries between believers. When Christians organize themselves into congregations and denominational forms, these boundaries become evident.”
“Third-order issues are doctrines over which Christians may disagree and remain in close fellowship, even within local congregations.”
If you don’t know Dr Mohler, he is a theologian and serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world. He is a brilliant cultural spokesman and is always pastoral in his approach to relevant issues. His website is www.albertmohler.com .