These statements, which I've made before, are about our behavior
about what we call "doctrine" (though that concept, as commonly understood today, does not occur in the Bible, imo).
- Yes, according to the NT, there is a short list of theological opinions that a person must have in order to be a Christian. They are repeated throughout the OT and/or NT, as one would expect.
- All other "essentials" are behavioral.
Jesus told His disciples to teach everyone to observe/obey all that He commanded. We are admonished to obey and practice the truth (or His word). It's that true righteousness which is in Jesus (Eph 4:21) that He appears to overwhelmingly care about, based on the overwhelming emphasis on such things throughout the OT and NT, and that's what Paul says God-inspired scripture is useful for - instruction, reproof, correction, and training for righteousness.
- Conversely, based on Scripture, God seems to care very little, if at all, about any of your or my other opinions about other non-behavioral matters. If God had cared about systematic theology, then we would have to admit that He failed miserably to give us one. Not only does He not seem to care, but ...
- He didn't appear to care much throughout OT times, nor in the NT.
- I don't know of anything in Scripture that indicates that we will be punished or rewarded for our opinions (perhaps excluding the aforementioned).
- In the NT, both good and bad teaching/instruction - mentioned some 50 times, I think - is nearly always explicitly associated with good and bad behavior.
- We are told to be united, to be of one mind, to not be sectarian (i.e., hairetikos in the Greek). Paul warns against "profane old wives' fables", "pride", "obsess[ion] with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions", "idle talk", "divisions", "quarrels", "words taught by [mere] human wisdom", and "exceed[ing] what is written", which lead to "envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, and constant disagreement [or constant friction] (1 Tim 6)."
Based on all that and much more, I would argue that we greatly
over-emphasize what we call "doctrine" or "theology", and it greatly
harms the body and unity of Christ. I don't know how Paul in 1 Cor 3
could be more clearly against denominations (aka, divisions) among Christian brothers and sisters, which I think he and Peter and the others would call hairesis
I don't know when all of that became so ingrained in Christian culture, but it has nearly destroyed the effectiveness of the Church, I think.
I don't think the answer is that we should learn to be more open-minded or willing to be corrected about our opinions. That just puts even more focus on our opinions. I think the necessary correction is that we change our behavior
about our "doctrinal" opinions. The last thing we need is more vaunted theologians with their roving followers intent on converting other Christians to their views, however open-minded any of us our.
Instead, in our meetings and books and seminaries, we need shepherds/teachers who teach us to live like Jesus, especially by their example, in changing times. That's the reorientation that we need, I think. I'd take another Teresa of Calcutta over 1,000 theologians who agree with me about soteriology and eschatology. We can unite behind obeying Jesus (along with the essential views mentioned above).
Perhaps if Christians become so few and so marginalized in our culture, then we'll realize how silly it is to remain functionally separated by our theological divisions and opinions.
You can have your other theological opinions. They are interesting, I know. Quote the Bible, keep your extra-biblical comments to yourself, and frankly, nobody should care.
That's my spiel. Sorry for the length! I did read all of your posts.