Martin Luther is credited with saying “in essentials, unity”.
In applying that sagely advice, over the years I have developed two essential prerequisites for all other essentials. They have served me well, and tend to weed out over 90% of the frauds, fakes and flakes that plague God’s church (don’t ya love ’em!).
1. There is no basis for unity on something that someone is pushing but not living – because leaders are held to a higher standard and integrity matters.
2. There is no basis for unity where the plenary authority of scripture as God’s written word is rejected – because otherwise we lack God’s external standard for agreeing on other essentials.
I’m cool with lots of diversity on matters of doctrine, belief and practice, so long as those two “essentials” exist. However, where they are absent, I have yet to see a healthy, sustainable, reproducing local church – organic, simple, missional, traditional or whatever – emerge.
I’m not saying I have it all figured out, but I’ve seen the inept folly of those who think they are “beyond” either of those two “essentials”. Let’s move on, while learning from their mistakes.
If you want to read more about the necessity both experience and scripture, see Theology and Reality.
~ Jim Wright