In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
—(credited to) St. Augustine
Ready? Here’s the elephant:
All Christian women should stay at home with their kids.
Ah, you’ve been pummeled by that elephant before? Thought so. Well, then. Let’s describe this elephant a bit more, shall we?
All Christian women should be married, should not use birth control so that they are able to have lots of children, should stay at home with said children, and should homeschool them.
I could go on, but you get the point.
Let me be clear: there are essential tenets of the Christian faith. These issues truly are black or white. Pastor Brett calls them “close-handed” issues, things we cling to tightly and about which we do not compromise. Beth Moore calls them “spine” issues, the things that connect and comprise the true body of Christ.
These essentials include such things as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, salvation by grace and not by works, the resurrection, and so on. These are things about which the Bible is clear, things that one must embrace in order to be among the body of Christ. (To hear what the Bible says about these essentials, you can listen to Pastor Brett’s message series “We Hold These Truths.”)
* Can a Christian have wine with dinner? Drink coffee? Smoke?
* Can a Christian watch TV? Go to the movies? Play video games?
* Can a Christian dance? Play cards? Read books other than the Bible?
* Can Christian women work outside the home?
* Can Christians eat meat that has been offered to a pagan idol?