Monday, November 29, 2010

Church Doctrinal Agreements

Last week, I posted a bit about the role of doctrine in Christianity. All churches have some sort of doctrine, set out officially or unofficially. Sometimes those churches don't even know their doctrines. But there is a sort of emphasis, a focus of theology, message, and mission.

It's not possible to have an entire church organization of people who are in 100% alignment with absolutely everything. Heck, good luck finding two people who totally agree on every theological point possible.

This is where it's important to know what's essential and nonessential. What's worth going to the wall over? What's negotiable?

Even with those things that are negotiable, we still need to be in community with some coherence. Most of us would advocate marrying someone who is as much alignment as possible. There's a practical element to this.

I would say a church can have more variation. As I have indicated, I think churches should not require much strictness in agreement from their members. The diversity can be powerful. And frankly, the larger the community, the harder it will be to get 100% alignment. Those communities that require that are just going to get lying members, I think.

Anyway, from the perspective of an attendee/member, how much do you think you should agree with a particular church on nonessentials/negotiables? It probably depends on how much the community emphasizes the area of disagreement and how passionately each side believes it.

A community can be a very good fit in many ways, but also have some challenges on what could or could not be minor issues. Sometimes the differences can help keep us all in check, which is useful. But sometimes differences can just be destructive. Where is the line for a good fit/match/partnership?

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