Teachers: the line-drawers of Christianity
The teachers are the “line drawers” of Christianity. Line-drawing is a stuffy, boring, black-and-white business: few people liked their systematic theology classes. But like moles in a field, us teachers go to our work. We cannot help it! And lines are important! If there were no lines, there would be no structure or form for the others to color in.
Of all the lines the theologians draw, the most important may be the line between « essential » and « nonessential » doctrine in their own minds. This perhaps the most difficult line to draw, because a teacher will be passionate about all truth, not just the essentials. However, this line is also the most essential.
This is a decision to draw with a firm line around christianity, and a dotted line throughout. This is not an admission that some doctrines are less important (an idea few teachers can tolerate!) All truth is important: but not all errors exclude one from the family of God.
A failure to make this differentiation will turn their a teacher’s ministry of building the church into a ministry of crippling her. Instead of giving her roots, he will cut her in pieces: and the more acute their reasoning and exegetical skill, the more deeply the lines will cut, and the more painful, long-term and live-stealing will be the divisions caused.
What Comes First – Doctrine or Life? (A response to « Beyond Foundationalism » and « Velvet Elvis »)