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One-Minute Theology: Adiaphorus

The-Thinker-500-x-375Pick your battles.  As surprising as it may seem in today’s embattled culture, some opinions are morally neutral.  (That was the point of Romans 14.)  Not surprisingly, theologians have a word for that.  The term “adiaphorus” means morally neutral.

There are two types of beliefs.  Some are “lynch-pin beliefs”.  If you get them wrong, everything else falls apart.  You might believe something, but it isn’t Christianity. That’s what Paul warned against when he spoke of “another Gospel”.  It’s why we have historic creeds, and reject certain ideas as heresy and preachers as apostate.

The other type of beliefs are secondary.  This can include ideas that either will not have an objectively “right” answer, or ideas that — even if you believe something incorrect or untrue, it will not change or diminish the core belief that under-girds your faith.

There are faithful Christians that differ on many views.  They can include — among other things — their understandings of worship styles, baptism, free will, alcohol consumption, biblical prophesy, spiritual gifts, and timelines for Earth’s history.

Do not misunderstand me.  These ideas are not unimportant, and they will certainly have a direct affect on our understanding of Christian life and practice, but incorrect views in these will not endanger your soul.

This should produce humility on our part.  Don’t be dogmatic on secondary issues. This is especially significant when we teach our kids.  If someone holds a secondary idea as an essential part of Christian faith, and they come to doubt that secondary idea, this can cause a needless crisis of faith.

Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck

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