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In Essentials, Unity - Really?

by Vyckie Garrison, No Longer Quivering

When I was a believer, I was aware that not all Christians believe the same regarding matters of doctrine and practice, but that was no problem for me as I reasoned that it is only necessary that Christians agree on the very basics. Like Augustine said, "In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty - in all things, charity."

However, when I finally allowed myself the freedom to follow the questions nagging in the back of my mind, I realized that even in the very basics, there is much interpretation and little agreement - even among Jesus and His followers.

Take the basic matter of salvation for example: When asked directly, "What must I do to have eternal life?" Jesus responded,

"If you want to have eternal life, you must obey his commandments."

"Which ones?" the man asked.

Jesus answered, "Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Respect your father and mother. And love others as much as you love yourself." The young man said, "I have obeyed all of these. What else must I do?"

Jesus replied, "If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower."

Obey the commandments, sell all your possessions, give your money to the poor, follow Me - this is Jesus' "plan of salvation." Paul said, believe on the Lord Jesus - Peter said, repent and be baptized. So what is it?

Maybe find a definitive answer here: - ?

My Facebook friend recently posted the following as an example of why Evangelicals' "I just believe what the Bible teaches" doesn't work:

From Zondervan:

From InterVarsity Press:

Salvation is about as basic as it gets. If the Bible does not provide a clear, indisputable answer to this question - that's a real problem for those who claim to "just believe what the bible teaches."

Hat tip to Eric S. Weiss for the list.