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Core vs. Non-Core Theology

As Biblical Christians, we need view the theology of salvation as a priority.

It would be beneficial for Biblical Christians to break down their theology into two groups, core and non-core. There are two primary, and interrelated reasons for this.

First, as believers, we need to “love the sinner and hate the sin”.

If we are not careful Christians can become overly leagalistic in exercising this perspective by bleeding into the sinner the “hate” we have for the sin. This is not to say believers should avoid discussing the sin. We do however need to recognize the hypocrisy non-believers see in us as justified when they witness sin in our lives, as we try to simultaneously build the impression of a caring relationship with them. The Bible is an instruction manual for the life of mankind. As such there is an amazing amount of wisdom in its pages, spoken directly from God. However, as we witness to the lost we need to be sensitive to what will promote the gospel and what will repel those from God’s truth. That discernment comes through prayer and is unique to each divine appointment God provides us with.

Second, having both core and non-core theology allows us to set priorities in conversations with believers, seekers, and, non-believers.

What is the most important point an evangelist should wish to get across to a seeker in the faith?

The answer should be abundantly clear, it is the Good News, the gospel message of the plan of salvation. That is the core theology of a Biblical Christian. Why? Because everything else is of secondary importance since we need to accept the fact that each Christian has some false theology embedded in their worldview. The beautiful thing is that, on the other side of the grace, we will sit at the feet of the Father and get all our questions answered and all our twisted theology straightened out.

If one focuses on the core of their faith, the desire for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by accepting Him as both our Savior and Lord, the rest, including abortions, marriages, whether one gets sprinkled or dunked, and the rest pail in significance, however strongly we feel about them. Morality is indeed under siege but we need to remind ourselves that, as Christians, we are not citizens of this earth (Phil. 3:20-21), but of Heaven. We do have a responsibility to this old earth but our time here is but a mist that dries up in the morning (Mark 11:20) compared to eternity.


The non-negotiable core theology for a Biblical Christian should relate to what it takes to get to Heaven (core Biblical Christian beliefs). The rest of systematic theology is “negotiable” since, as humans, blinded by sin and attempting to understand concepts from the Creator of the universe, show only their pride by being dogmatic. Arguing about non-core theology is divisive between Christians of all denominations and seen as hypocritical to unbelievers. The truth is that if our core theology gets us into Heaven, we will be able to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear the perfect truth on all our questions. 

Having said all that, it does not mean we should not have opinions, and express them when appropriate (for example, I am a young-earth Creationist). However, when dealing with seekers and atheists/agnostics, we should hold those opinions loosely, recognizing there are areas where we could be wrong. And, even times when expressing clear Scriptural truth (homosexuality, abortion, etc.) we need to set core, (evangelical) needs above secondary theological condemnation.

AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org

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