What doctrines are Christian essentials, what are very important, and what are important yet non essentials? 


Essentials - without which there is no Christianity

  • - The plenary verbal inspiration of the Scriptures - all scripture is God-breathed
  • - The doctrine of the Trinity
  • - The absolute Deity of Christ
  • - The eternal Sonship of Christ
  • - The Incarnation
  • - Christ's substitutionary sacrificial death at Calvary
  • - His burial, resurrection, and bodily ascension to heaven
  • - The Gospel - justification by faith alone in Christ alone- crucified, risen, and ascended
  • - The Second Coming
  • - The eternal blessedness of the saved in glory with Christ
  • - The eternal punishment of the lost in hell and the lake of fire

The important (but not necessarily "fundamental") 

  • - Baptism - how and why and when and who.
  • - Divorce and remarriage - What is permissible, or isnt'? If, when, why?
  • - The outline of prophecy - pre-, post -, amillennial? pre-, mid-, or post-trib, etc.
  • - Eternal security
  • - Women's head covering (When? Where? Why?)
  • - Women's ministry
  • - The timing of the Rapture (see above on prophecy also)
  • - The sign gifts - still in use today? Continuationism or non continuationism
  • - One's stand on Five-point Calvinism vs. Arminianism
  • - The believers relationship (or not) to the Law of Moses

The following are important but non-essentials:

  • - One's stance on voting and military service
  • - Wine vs. grape juice at the Lord's Supper / Leavened vs. unleavened bread
  • - One cup vs individual cups
  • - The use of musical instruments in the church meetings
  • - The times of meetings
  • - "Thou" vs. "You" when we pray
  • - Bible versions
  • - Foods, drinks, observance of days

These are interesting suggestions generally accredited to William MacDonald with whom we have much agreement and respect, but these are not exactly his notes, there were slight changes made.  The difficulty in these matters is as follows: There are errors in which Christians can fall into and practice, while not affecting our understanding if they can still be called Christians. Yet the challenge is.... that categorizing anything as "non essential" can be a danger, for in many minds it becomes a license to continue in error, when we say it is non essential. 

There is no easy solution to this problem, but the above items are given as food for thought to them interested in pleasing the Lord.  If one is truly interested in pleasing the Lord, then each matter is important, within the grace and understanding and light one may have.