Basics Versus Peripherals

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. 1 Corinthians 8:4-8

The issue of eating food sacrificed to idols was a relevant issue in that day. It’s an issue we probably have never thought about. But we do have issues related to the conscience.

We see such issues in the news all the time, and Christians debate the merits of both sides all the time. Was it right for the cake baker in Colorado to refuse to make a cake for a homosexual couple? Christians came down hard on both sides of the issue. You could apply the same principles to Muslims, transgenders, and Hindus.

We live in a very complex world where there can certainly be gray areas. While we like to see things black and white, it’s not reality. Yes, key doctrinal issues are black and white, right or wrong issues. But with “peripherals,” it’s not so clear.

So, what are these key doctrinal issues vs. the peripherals?

The Apostles’ Creed is a good place to start.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Those are the basics tenets of the faith. Denominations may differ a bit on a couple of those points, but this is what the Church has believed down through the centuries.

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