In Essentials Unity, In Non-essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity

Dr Pierre Coovert

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Few Baptists know why they are Baptists. Most think that Baptists are just another protestant denomination. Because of this ignorance many Baptist churches are do not resemble a historic New Testament Baptist church. Historically Baptists have been willing to die for their faith because of their commitment to biblical doctrine. This commitment to Bible doctrine gave us the strength to stand in face of severe persecution for most of the last twenty centuries. Over the past century this commitment has been lost. If this situation is not remedied we will not see the power of God return to our churches.

The majority of the differences between Baptists and other denominations have, in one way or another, to do with the doctrine of the New Testament church. Baptists believe, or at least used to believe, that the church is a group of people called out of their homes to assemble together to worship God and conduct His business. They believe that church membership comes after salvation and scriptural baptism. They believe that each local church is a body which belongs to Christ and that He is the head of each independent church.

Most teaching on the church today assumes the church is universal and is composed of all of the saved and that the differences of doctrine were unimportant. Most Christian books on just about any subject are written from this perspective. Because American culture is results oriented the subject of most books on the church are about how to grow bigger churches. They deal with church growth, church administration, attractive church worship (attractive to the world, not to God), etc.

There is little written about building a doctrinally sound church. The cry is “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” This mindset is against the teachings of Scripture. First of all, who has the right to say which doctrines are essential and which are not? Does man have the right to pass judgment upon the Word of God? If you read the pastoral epistles (I & II Timothy and Titus) you will find that it is a pastor’s job to put an emphasis on sound doctrine. He is to teach it all as essential (II Timothy 3:16). He is to pass it on to faithful men who will teach it to others (II Timothy 2:2).

The result of the tolerance movement typified by the statement “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity” is found in II Timothy 4:3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” What is interesting about this verse is that verse two says “Preach the Word” and here they are seeking teachers instead of preachers. A teacher just imparts knowledge. In this context the teachers that are sought are those who teach what the hearers want to hear. It simply soothes their itching ears. Preaching, on the other hand, seeks a response to what is preached. It is to reprove (point out error), rebuke (make the reproof personal), and exhort (use words to move to action). It is to be done with longsuffering and doctrine.

If we expect God’s blessing in our personal lives, our families, our churches, and our community it is time to return to the clear teachings of the Scriptures.

Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
RSS Podcast