Friday, June 06, 2008

How Do You Know if a Doctrine is Essential? Three Criteria

C Michael Patton @ provides three criteria to determine "essential doctrine". From his introduction:“In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” These are the words of obscure reformer Rupertus Meldenius (often wrongly attributed to others). They form somewhat of an Evangelical credo. Evangelicals have traditionally believed that there are certain doctrines that form the core of the Christian faith. They are called “cardinal doctrines.” They are what we might call the sine quo non—the “without which, not”—of the Christian faith. In other words, there are certain doctrines that when denied, by definition, evidence a person does not have the basic core beliefs that must be present in the truly regenerate".

1. Historicity: Does the doctrine have universal historical representation?

2. Clarity (Perspicuity): Is the doctrine represented clearly in Scripture?

3. Explicity: Does the passage of Scripture explicitly teach that a certain doctrine is essential?

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