Secondary Issues

I have, over an extended period of time, observed an unsettling reality, within my own thinking process and the thinking process of others, within the Christian community, and also of those who are outside of the Christian community. I am going to try to attempt to explain what I see and the consequences that I think it produces. The bottom line is that I am just putting this “out there” to those who frequently or infrequently read my blog posts, to ascertain, as to whether, you see the same process at work that I see and if you see the consequences that I see.

There are, of necessity, means at our disposal in which to determine, whether; one particular issue we are looking at is of more importance than another. Consequently, in order to determine that one issue is a “secondary issue” as compared with another, we elevate a “primary issue” to be of more importance than a “secondary issue”. I see the ramifications of this thought process being utilized, to justify many of the decisions that we make. And not only is this thought process responsible for our elevating one topic or area of importance, over another, but it also produces many areas of disagreement that we commonly encounter, both within the Christian community and outside of the Christian community.

One of the dangers of elevating one area of importance, over another, is that we may inadvertently (either intentionally or unintentionally) drop other areas of importance to a lesser standing of importance. Obviously, everything that we think about, cannot of necessity, be rendered as of the same importance as all other things. As an example, remembering to buy peanut butter is not as important as remembering to pay our rent or pay our mortgage on time. What most of us do is prioritize what we ourselves consider important. Our priorities become our subjective focus of importance. The problem being, what you deem as a priority and what I deem as a priority, can and does frequently differ.

To some, what matters is the perceived “common good”, or another way of looking at this is that the end justifies the means, or over rides “secondary” acknowledged deficiencies or imperfections. We see this play out in politics or in others areas of importance, such as Christian ecumenical endeavours or our acceptance of, or rejection of, TV productions such as “The Chosen”. 

To others, the means whereby we achieve our goal or come to agreement, is equally as important as achieving the goal we are pursuing. Or in other words, if the means whereby we achieve our goal is not in accordance with the standard we have set as our goal, then we are using substandard means to achieve a desired standard goal.

The difference between these two opposing realities is the standard that we use to determine what is considered as a “primary” or “secondary” issue, or for lack of better words, what we consider as “acceptable” or “non-acceptable”. 

The way of the world is prone to accepting sub-standards as acceptable. We compromise, we accept partial gains, over not achieving any of our goals at all. How power and majority rule is maintained in politics and ecumenical endeavours are prime examples. The way of the world seeks unity in compromise.

The way of the Kingdom of God differs greatly from the way of the world. The way is narrow and restrictive, it demands and sets holiness is all aspects, without compromise. Unity in truth is stressed and required, over unity in untruth. When God’s Holy Word tells us that “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12), this is not open for debate or compromise. That declaration is absolute. The Kingdom of God divides.

There is only one acceptable standard that God’s Holy Word validates and that is not our ways, as in the ways of the world, it is God’s ways, as in accordance with God’s Holy Word. Isaiah 55:8 comes to mind: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.”

I don’t personally see this division in relative priorities or what is considered a relative secondary issue changing any time soon, both within the Christian community and also without. And please note that I do not profess to perfectly follow all of God’s ways or adhere to all of God’s thoughts. But when my decision to accept or reject, differs from yours, the reasoning for my decision, falls back on what I am trying to follow, which is what I perceive as God’s ways, versus my own ways or the worlds ways. And those precepts and guidance are objective in accordance with what I understand and try to follow, as revealed within God’s Holy Word, of His ways and His thoughts

Like the Apostle Paul indicated in Philippians 3:12, I myself have not achieved perfection in all that I do, which includes my decisions. So if we disagree, which is going to happen, sometimes more and sometimes less, it is because we (as in the Christian community) all are in varying stages, I would hope, of heading towards His goal for us. 

I do welcome your thoughts.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

26 comments

  1. I remember as a young minister being convinced that what the body of Christ needed was more relevance. I reasoned that if we played better worship music or offered the right promotion people would line up at the church doors. Thankfully, I read an article by pastor John MacArthur that said God’s truth is the standard, not relevance. The world likes to change flavors daily, but God’s ultimate reality remains. Now, if we could all agree on what God’s truth is….

    The Holy Spirit knows.😊❤️

    Blessings, brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Bruce,
    Good points all. What a person thinks of the Bible is one of the most primary and foundational issues. If they reject the Bible as being authoritative and inerrant, then that is a clear dividing point for any biblical Christian.

    It is abundantly clear that many people who call themselves “Christians” view the Bible as less than authoritative and certainly not inerrant. We see over and over again arguments made whereby the parts of the Bible that conflict with current cultural norms are deemed “outdated” or “meant only for 1st century Christians,” etc.. People construct elaborate arguments that boil down to providing reasons why the Bible doesn’t actually mean what it says. The issue obviously also extends to the “hermeneutic” used to interpret scripture. A bogus hermeneutic can also be tantamount to rejection of the Bible’s authority and inerrancy.

    For me this question (biblical authority, inerrancy, & proper hermeneutic) is the leading question in any religious discussion. If we don’t have common ground on this, then not only is unity of faith not possible, but neither is any meaningful discussion of any issue pertaining to Christian faith and practice.
    Blessings to you, Bruce.
    Craig

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “Unity in truth is stressed and required, over unity in untruth.” Amen to that!

    I can’t imagine the Apostle Paul would ever condone unity in untruth, yet we see this promoted within the church. Nor can I imagine Paul saying, “It may not be right, but it may bring people to church.”

    Jesus said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

    Truth must always be our goal, not compromise. I am thankful for those servants in the Church who have been given discernment. It is as important as any other gift.

    “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

    I think I could write a post on this myself! Blessings, Bruce!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes we need to be in God’s Word, the problem with many people is that they do not pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open their eyes and hearts with what they are reading which is so important. Many think they understand but they do not know. It is not just read God’s Word it is the way we treat one another, God knows our hearts more than we do. When we accept Christ as our Savior we begin to change from the inside-out over time, we become less of ourselves and more like Him, which our world needs today

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the good thoughts, Bruce. I have seen believers passionately debate such secondaries as dispensationalism/eschatology, freewill vs. predestination, and Bible translations. I have even heard from a few here at WordPress who claim that anyone who celebrates Christmas in even the slightest degree cannot be a genuine Christian. Of course, all of these issues are secondaries compared to the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. I have my own views on the secondaries and I rarely climb up on a soapbox about them. What’s disturbing about the church/the Body of Christ today is the proclivity to accommodate false gospels as “unity” based upon untruth/feeling/emotion/worldly rationale is supplanting unity based upon God’s Word and right doctrine.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Bruce, I read and liked this post. I follow this and other blogs. I’m not able to comment or add to the discussion much anymore. I’m guilty of prioritizing and a lot gets filtered out. Most of the time I miss the mark and little if anything gets done. I noticed compromise or that “Ends Justify the Means” thing increasing but is not a new thing. I try to provide a registry of useful resources for Bible study that are free and available to anyone on the web. I have many resources available to me through Seminary, software and books personally. While I try for no compromise personally and don’t believe the end ever justifies deviant means I know we are in many different places in our walks or even in progress of Revelation. We have many different backgrounds and baggage, life to deal with. I would hope that my brothers and sisters would call me our if I misrepresent Scripture, Sound Doctrine or Theology in any content I put out. As for the links, at the Hub, I find more room for diversity. I have learned how to study the Bible and do Theology my self and that is my prayer for all Christ-followers. For all of us, as we produce content, there is a high standard and God holds us accountable accordingly. …for the edifying of the body…unity of the faith, Ephesians 4 comes to mind here. Receiving and giving comments is a good thing, Iron sharpens Iorn, gently guide those who are in error. No compromise vertically to achieve unity horizontally.

    Like

  7. Like you, I believe in the unerring truth of the Bible. Over the centuries, however, Christians have found an enormous number of reasons to fight among themselves. Admittedly, we are to be like minded (Phil. 2: 2). In my humble opinion though, if we can agree on the standard creed, other issues are secondary. This does not mean we can devise our own theology, incorporating Hindu and Buddhist beliefs or pagan and New Age practices. Nor does it mean Christians should stop studying Scripture or pursue unity with other faiths at the expense of our own.

    Like

    • Hi Anna, I am in agreement with your humble opinion, although even there, some take liberties that can open doors, where they ought not to. I’m thinking not being truly familiar with God’s Word would seem to be our collective biggest problem. Thank you, Anna, for taking the time to comment. Honestly appreciated. Blessings!

      Like

  8. I pray that the Holy Spirit can lead us to living in peace and love without compromising God’s word and truth.

    Like

  9. Amen Bruce and all of us being human find that our priority is determined for the moment by whose ox is gored. But you are so right. What is a priority with God for me for today is what really matters. Going beyond that is what usually lands me in trouble. Have a blessed day my friend!

    Like

  10. Bruce, I am aware that setting priorities is a big part of wisdom. So, when I give my mind to the Lord each day and ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5 promises us if we ask, He’ll give it. 🙂 ) I ask that my perceptions be accurate, my beliefs be true, and my priorities match His.

    Like

    • Hi Annie, I do the same by daily asking that God’s thoughts be manifested in my mind and take precedence in my thoughts, that God would mould my heart according to His ways and that God’s Holy Spirit fill my spirit. And having asked this, when I see that there are some big instances when the desired end justifies the unholy means used to achieve that desired end, I wonder who is truly behind what is being acclaimed. When unholy manifestations and unholy associations are forged to produce what is deemed as holy quests, what rises in my mind, are serious reasons to be concerned and question what is truly being portrayed as being achieved. And voicing those reasons for serious concern is definitely not popular. Blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.