In theology, just as in battle, some hills are worth dying on and others are not. But how do we know which ones? When should doctrine divide, and when should unity prevail? Just as a medic on a battlefield treats the severely wounded first and then moves on to the less serious injuries, we must prioritize doctrine in order of importance. Pastor Gavin Ortlund implores us to cultivate humility as we prioritize doctrine into four ranks—essential, urgent, important, and unimportant—so that we will be as effective as possible at advancing the gospel in our time.
“Some seem to think that faithfulness to God is measured in how much we argue about things. I am so grateful for Gavin Ortlund’s book, which reminds us that faithfulness can be defined in far more biblical ways. Ortlund does not pretend that he has the answers to end all church arguments, but he helps us understand that failure to distinguish critical matters from secondary and tertiary concerns is an abandonment of the pastoral prudence that is essential to Christ’s mission. Even Jesus said, ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.’ For pastors operating with the care and courage of Jesus, patience is not compromise, kindness is not weakness, and Christ’s mission supersedes our personal victories. Ortlund honors Christ’s manner as well as his message in this fascinating and challenging book.”
“There are few needs today as urgent as the one Gavin Ortlund so ably addresses in this wonderful book. Healthy theological perspective and poise are all too absent in an age of immediate escalation and rage. This book could transform our thinking, our capacity for fellowship, and our witness to the world. I pray it is read widely and heeded deeply.”
Sam Allberry, Speaker, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; author,Why Does God Care Who I Sleep With?and7 Myths about Singleness
Table of Contents
Foreword by D. A. Carson
Part 1: Why Theological Triage?
1. The Danger of Doctrinal Sectarianism
2. The Danger of Doctrinal Minimalism
3. My Journey on Secondary and Tertiary Doctrines
Part 2: Theological Triage at Work
4. Why Primary Doctrines Are Worth Fighting For
5. Navigating the Complexity of Secondary Doctrines
6. Why We Should Not Divide over Tertiary Doctrines
Conclusion: A Call to Theological Humility General Index Scripture Index
“Gavin Ortlund helps us think well as brothers and sisters in Christ on where we must staunchly defend the truth and draw immovable lines. He also helps us know where to extend grace and lovingly disagree while working together for the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the building up of the Lord’s church. This book is much needed in our day. May our Savior use it for our good and his glory.”
Daniel L. Akin,President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“In this age of theological infighting and compromise, Gavin Ortlund issues a clarion call for wisdom. You don’t have to agree with him on everything to appreciate his sane and clarifying advice. This is an important book for our time, helping the church as we struggle for both faithfulness to God’s word and a proper Christian unity.”
Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology, Oxford, United Kingdom
“As best I can tell, this is the first book of its kind and is long overdue. Gavin Ortlund has done the church a tremendous service by providing a clear, irenic, and well-reasoned (not to mention biblical) perspective on the comparative importance of our many Christian doctrines. Some in the church today have waged vigorous war and ‘died’ needlessly on virtually every hill, while others, in the name of unity, don’t find any hill worth ‘dying’ on. To both, and to everyone in between the two extremes, I say, ‘Read this book!’”
Sam Storms, Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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