I am grateful to the men of faith that have gone before us, pleading for a return to the Scriptures, and an earnest call to be Christians only. I would like to share a quote published on the front page of the Gospel Advocate as an editorial by F.D. Srygley in 1889… From the article titled We Ought to Agree Among Ourselves, he writes:
The basis of our union ought always to be as broad as the conditions of salvation. No man has any right to make his plea for union narrower than this. It is wrong to make anything a condition of fellowship which is not essential to salvation. We draw the line here. That which will damn a soul and separate us in the next world should divide us in this; nothing else should.
There is much that we as Christians can, should and MUST agree on. That Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth lived a sinless and perfect life, dies on the cross for my sins, your sins and everyone’s sins. That Jesus rose from death and ascended into heaven. And finally, that He will one day return. This is the Gospel. This is essential. This is not optional. Additionally, I think we must agree that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, without error or defect. The Bible tells us about God. The Bible identifies sin and tells us that sin separates us from God. The Bible also tells us how to be reconciled to God. The pattern prescribed requires faith, repentance, baptism, and a daily lifelong pursuit of living His way. To me these are indisputable, essential to salvation, and firmly established in Scripture.
There are other things that scripture calls debateable matters. Things which there may be a difference of opinion on. Romans 14:1-6 says, “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”
None of the items in Romans 14 have any real thing to do with the essentials mentioned above. Whether I am the weaker brother or the stronger brother the same two things are required of me. Serve, eat, and worship God in a manner consistent with the Scriptures, with a sincere heart and a prayerful desire to understand of God will. I should also recognize that my response to one with a differing opinion on an issue that is non-essential to salvation ought to be one of grace—and probably more study on my own part. This is the example of the many reformers and restorers of the church from the first century until today.