Majors vs. Minors

What do you guys think are the “majors” vs. the “minors” as far as Theology goes? What, at a minimum, can you not accept wavering on?

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0 Responses to Majors vs. Minors

  1. Scott says:

    Yeah, I’ve thought about this a lot. People want to major on the majors and minor on the minors, but everyone has a different idea of what’s major.
    My systematic theology profressor had 3 tiers – the first were things that he could not compromise and still consider himself a Christian, the second were things he could not compromise and stil remain a member of his denomination, and the third contained areas where he admitted he had some room to be convinced.

  2. Jon Wright says:

    Major: LOVE, flowers, and warm, fuzzy feelings

    Minor: everything else.

  3. Josh Creason says:

    Scott, If I’m not mistaken, it sounds like your prof was using Albert Mohler’s classification system. I think it is very helpful. He would say that third order differences can possibly exist within the same church.
    For me, some first order things include:
    Jesus is God; Jesus provides the only means for salvation; God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and Holy; the Holy Spirit is God; Derek is cooler than the General Lee.
    Second order:
    baptism is an act of obedience of believers; Derek is smarter than Napoleon Dynamite
    Third order:
    Covenental theology is a better understanding of God than Dispensational theology (although, I think some could argue that if you take either one too far, it could lead to a second or first order issue); Derek is better looking than Tom Cruise.

  4. Jon says:

    Tough question Derek. Warfield’s “fundamentals” seem to be a decent enough guide in my mind. (Deity of Christ, Virgin Birth of Christ, Death-Burial-Resurrection of Christ, Atonement through the finished work of Christ, Inerrancy of Scripture)

    I struggle with the subjectivity of such a question, as I think Warfield did, and tend to minimize the issue to the items that were stressed by the classical Theists. I worry that the labor often tends to lead down the path that only those “essentials” are important and the rest of “Theology” is for the ivory towers.

    The problem with the tiered approach arises when consistency is examined. Examples based on Josh’s input:
    First order: the “5”
    Second order: baptism is for believers as an act of obedience and for their children due to the covenantal model of circumcision. The unity of the Covenant is a reality. (i.e.-Covenental theology is a better understanding of God than Dispensational theology)
    Third Order: The proper explanation for the creation of man’s soul is explained by the traducian theory.

    What do we do about the unavoidable occurence of “my” placing “Josh’s” 3rd tier in my 2nd and vice-versa?

  5. Josh Creason says:

    I can fellowship with you, but you can’t with me. 😉

  6. Jon says:

    nice 🙂

  7. Mom Paine says:

    Can an agnostic join this thread?
    Minor – Not eating meat on Fridays, and going to confession.

    Major-Be as nice as you can to others but be careful of mean people. Enjoy things as much as you can without shirking your responsibilities, because this is all there is. Do these things because you have empathy, not because you’re afraid of going to hell, because there probably isn’t such a place. But, if there is… I’m doomed to go there, because the omniscient God already planned it, and he gave me this lousy reasoning mind that can’t rid itself of doubt in the face of all the evidence against such things. And doubt equals hell in most religions. But I care about so many people that do believe, that I hope somehow for them it is true (that there’s a heaven) because I want them all to go there someday, even though I’m missing the boat.

    Mom Paine

  8. Scott says:

    Josh – that probably was Mohler’s system. I didn’t remember that, but I doubt Hammet would claim it as his own if he had gotten it elsewhere. I agree that it’s a good system. Major/minor is too restrictive. Every theologian knows there has to be a third way – otherwise there’s no room for endless discussion, and where’s the fun in that?

  9. Jon Wright says:

    Mom Paine, thanks so much for your response; these are indeed admirable words. However, since you have a reasoning mind, I please help me understand how you know these things to be morally good and praiseworthy. Thanks.

  10. Jeremy says:

    Not be accused of an Appeal to Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) fallacy, but I have to include one of my favorite Einstein quotes: Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

    Not an argument so much as a witty interlude.

  11. Jon says:

    Not to be accused of oversimplification (argumentum ad immodicus simplex), but does the quote “whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods” apply to itself and become shipwrecked as well?

    Just a musing…

  12. Jeremy says:

    There’s the rub.

  13. Jon says:

    Yes. I prefer a good cracked peppercorn and garlic salt rub on my sirloin steak. 😀

  14. Jeremy says:

    Nah, the only seasoning a good steak needs is blood.

  15. Jon says:

    Meredith says… “euwwhhhh”

  16. Derek Lidbom says:

    Although your beef diversion is prime, lets not age it until it gets rotten. 😀

    Things mentioned earlier deal with something that really intrigues me, so I’d like to revive it.

    On what grounds do you deny or affirm the concept of absolute truth/morality?

  17. Jon says:

    Affirm on the simple idea that the statement “there is no absolute truth” must be absolutely true to operate under the dominant paradigm.

  18. Jon Wright says:

    Derek, perhaps to your question one might respond there are no ABSOLUTE morals, that is to say, no set standard apart from human decision, but a relative, social standard to which each group of people adhere. So then, right and wrong are defined, but these definitions are ever-changing with the tides of time. Gay marriage was not right 100 years ago, but now society says it is fine.

    However, this view quickly leads to gross atrocities and distortions. If right and wrong are defined by the views of the majority, then on what grounds are the gas chambers of the Nazis deemed atrocities? Can we condemn from our society the morals of another? If we say yes, then we contradict the above stated view.

    Further, this view yields itself to dictatorships and regimes. The powerful and convincing can change the morals or impress their morals on society. Stalin and Hitler are perfect examples. Indeed, Stalin not only rewrote the morals, but he also attempted to rewrite history…and why not? If morals are relative and he can gain the power to change them, what is stopping him? Power leads to personal happiness which is the only goal, only meaning, only purpose, for a seemingly meaningless and purposeless (is that a word?) life.

    Do not think I am making all who hold this view out to be “bad” people, for some I am sure live “good” lifes. As Mom Paine very pointed out, there are admirable choices in life that are good. But I do not want us to miss the point. This view of anti-theism provides only reasons to be immoral and is left without any objective reference point with which to condemn any choice. ANYONE THAT HOLDS THIS VIEW AND YET LIVES A MORAL LIFE MERELY LIVES BETTER THAN THIS PHILOSOPHY WARRANTS.

  19. mom paine says:

    I hope I’m not too late to make another post to this discussion. I just checked in after my post and was glad to see further disussion, and so many latin phrases!!!! Nice.

    Absolute morals or truth…no. nice people and mean people, yes. Like nice dogs and mean dogs, but with more reasoning power and more true attachments to others than dogs experience. Come on, hey, we are all checking in on Derek’s website because we have an attachment to him that transcends (sp) beastly attachments like relying on him for food or security. But unlike us Derek fans, there are many, many, people that are, through the combination of nature and nurture, sociopathic and self-serving in varying degrees, something like my dog here that would forget me in a couple of days if another person became his source of sustenance and security.

    But yes there can be a “good” (not absolute) morality or ethical basis to adhere to, in the absence of a personal God, but like a “good” faith, it has to be part of your upbringing, (a mark on the blank slate, is it “tabula rosa”?) But whether it be fear of damnation, or an empathy for others that motivates your morality, you are luckier yet if it just feels good to be good because that’s your NATURE.

    To quote Sarah Lidbom and Forrest Gump, “and that’s all I have to say about that” or for the latin enthusiasts among Derek’s friends… “Ut tutus ego have loquor super ut”.

  20. Jon Wright says:

    I admit my ignorance on your Latin, Mom Paine…so much intellectual rhetoric…haha, just playing. Again, your beliefs that you stated above are admirable and I thank you for keeping this thread going.

    However, I still am failing to understand. You said absolute morals or truth&no. Are you absolutely sure of that?

    Further, you are using moral terms in your statements such as nice people and mean people and a good (not absolute) morality and ethical basis to adhere to, in the absence of a personal God. By what standard are these people mean or nice? See? You are assuming a moral standard in your defense of relative (to our up bringing) morality.

    In other words, you are using an some absolute moral standard to establish relative morality. By what standard are nice people nice and mean people mean? What defines their essence as morally bad or good? Their up bringing? If so, then the sons who are criminal dead beats because that is what their father was are good ethically because their life is consistent with their up bringing. But then we know innately that is wrong.

    Further, if the son is good (by his upbringing), then what right does a judge have to say he was wrong and he should serve 15 in the state penn for armed robbery of a liquor store? Because the judge has more power and thus he asserts his authority? Well if that is true, then we are back to the point of my last post.

    For my benefit at least, it would be appropriate here to define what is good and what is bad, and the reasons for each. This would be helpful because it is obvious that I am missing something since this explanation of morality seems unreasonable to me; yet I know that you said it is your reasoning mind that has kept you from believing in God so I hope you can clear this up for me.

  21. Jon Wright says:

    Forgive all the weird symbols. Apparently when you edit in Word and then post, Derek’s code has trouble transliterating.

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