Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Discerning Doctrine" by Mark Dever

Here is a rough transcription of my notes from Mark Dever's New Attitude 2007 lesson about discerning doctrine. Here's a link to the audio. My post-conference thoughts are italicized and bold.

Part 2 of my lesson notes is here.

What's the difference between primary and secondary doctrine? How do you know when to cooperate or to compromise?
1) Do we follow commands to purify and/or unite?
2) What are common fights among Christians?
3) What are we together for?
4) What must we agree on?
5) What may we disagree on?
6) How to disagree well.

There's a tendency to be too inclusive/exclusive. Truth should go together with humility (my note-taking shorthand abbreviation for "together" is "2getha").

Some want unity (and thus go too liberal on core Christian doctrines), others want purity of doctrine (and thus start condemning other Christians because of matters of opinion). Must take the best of both sides and find a good medium between unity and purity of doctrine.

(And then for some reason my notes start again at point 3. I must've mislabeled the expositions of points 1 and 2)

3) What are we together for? What are we cooperating for?
For what purpose do I seek to agree with this person? The amount of doctrine agreement needed depends on the level of the "project" in question In other words, the amount of cooperation needed. For example, when considering a potential spouse, it is quite important that Christian couples should agree on all issues that have the slightest importance to them. Similar, but slightly lesser degrees of doctrinal unity are necessary when joining or starting a church. However, inter-church (extra-church?) efforts like praying in front of abortion clinics do not require Christians to agree on, say, the finer points of believer's baptism or millenial eschatology.

The message was long, and so were the notes I took. Combined with my post-conference thoughts, that would be a post too long for busy people to read, so I will split it up into two parts. Read Part 2 here.Perhaps I will also write up Al Mohler's lesson on Discerning Culture, which was another one of my favorites.

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