Concentrating on the Essentials

Note: As a pastor I am always concerned when I see people making their convictions on end-times, creation, a certain method of evangelism, family integration, homeschooling, style of worship etc, primary issues in the church. Not that these things are not important, but I fear for the souls of those who always want to talk about secondary issues, and so Christ and His gospel take second place. When people would rather go to a church that teaches their end-times view or another secondary issue over whether they are Christ centered and have the gospel right, then it may, as Ryle points out below, reveal a major concern over their soul – Kevin Williams

It is a bad symptom of any man’s state of soul, when he begins to put the second things in religion in the first place, and the first things in the second, or the things ordained by man above the things ordained by God. Let us beware of falling into this state of mind. There is something sadly wrong in our spiritual condition, when the only thing we look at in others is their outward Christianity, and the principal question we ask is, whether they worship in our communion, and use our ceremonial, and serve God in our way. Do they repent of sin? Do they believe on Christ? Are they living holy lives? These are the chief points to which our attention ought to be directed. The moment we begin to place anything in religion before these things, we are in danger of becoming as thorough Pharisees as the accusers of the disciples. – J.C. Ryle

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