Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Core of Christianity and the Periphery

In theology there is a core and a periphery to theology. All truth is important, but not all truth equally vital.

The distinction is not arbitrary or unimportant. You see that scripture says that if we have all virtue, but lack love then our faith is meaningless. If we have the whole world, but lack faith in God our life is meaningless.

You see faith and love are at the center of Christianity, they fall in essentials. It is of great importance to the church to recognize what is important and what is not so important.

You see many churches in the current day focusing heavily on minor points of scripture which are toward the periphery of Christianity in importance and completely neglecting elements at the core.

Ultimately we need to embrace all of the truth in scripture, but we also need to pay attention most closely to what scripture says repeatedly. Usually scripture repeats what is critical in many places and many ways. Often scripture explicitly says that a principle is vital.

The distinction is lost to many theologians and churches. It seems unimportant. The reality is it is of great importance. Minor debates over the meaning of a Greek word used only one or two times or a single Old Testament text often have as much fervor as debates over the meaning of justification by faith alone.

You see we completely lack an understanding of the structure of Christian theology if we get caught up in the tiny debates of nuance and do not care about debates at the very center of Christian faith.

It is of course completely unmodern to place certain truths at a much higher level than other truths. But the reality is that it makes complete sense and you see many situations where it is the case in life that one truth is far more vital than another truth.
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