In some sense I don't think it does matter what I believe. It does matter who I trust. If you as my friend have some wrong information about me that doesn't mean I will disown you. Neither will Jesus disown those who trust Him if they are wrong concerning facts about Him. God values our relationship with Him more than us knowing a checklist of facts about Him. The Holy Spirit will lead God's children to all truth. Of course it is better to know the truth (facts) about the Truth (Jesus) but we should never let what we believe cause us to be less loving towards others.
There are only a handful of falsehoods that disqualify someone from being able to know Christ. The
bible says in various ways that whoever trusts in Jesus will have
eternal life and Jesus defines eternal life as knowing The Father and
The Son. Jesus
came first to the Jews so they had some idea of who He was. Still Jesus
nor the apostles handed out a written test to see if someone could earn
grace by their knowledge of God.
Christ is the qualification. Jesus said that the will of the Father is
to trust in the Son. Jesus even once answered the question "What should
we do that we might do the works of God?" by saying, "This is the work
of God that you trust in Jesus Christ whom God sent." The very work of
God is trusting in Jesus! I would hate to have to take a works based or
knowledge based test to earn grace from God.
We can only know the real Christ through the spirit not through doctrines and facts. Paul said, "For I resolved to know
nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." Falsehood
is terrible but none of us know God fully and all of us are wrong about
Him in some way at least in the sense that we don't know Him fully yet.
Focus: Essential Doctrines or Essential Person?
I guess the question for those who push essential doctrines is, "Is it more wrong to be mistaken about Jesus or to be ignorant about Jesus?" Truth is very important to live and grow by but I think
God examines the heart far more than the head when it comes to
salvation. Did the thief on the cross know that Jesus was born of a
facts/truth about Jesus does not replace knowing Jesus spiritually as
the basis of whether someone is a Christian or not.
We can know the right things without knowing God. The right things are
very important but not as important as the right One, Jesus. You could
know a lot about me but if you've never encountered me in your life then
you don't really know me at all.
How do we define what is
essential? If someone trusts Christ in their life but gets even one of
these "essentials" wrong or is ignorant of one of them does that mean they
are not a Christian? This mindset is similar to being saved by works but instead
of a checklist of deeds to do it is a checklist of facts to believe.
Those who push for essential doctrines as the basis of unity are
really looking for a non-relational agreement between entities (church
institutions, denominations, organizations). Our focus should be on the
essential person of Jesus. We can "believe" all of the essential
doctrines and not know the essential person of Jesus Christ. You can
have all the essential ingredients of a pie but if no one makes the pie
out of those ingredients having "the essentials" doesn't mean squat.
Belief in doctrines doesn't produce salvation, trust in Christ does.
There is a grave danger in a "gospel of doctrines" that says "if you
consider this list of things to be true then you know God." To expose
that absurdity here is a comparative saying, "If you believe these 3
facts about George Washington then he is your best friend."
Agreeing vs. Loving
We look so hard at "who is Christian
and who is not" & "who is wrong and who is right." We are so
preoccupied with 'Christianity at large,' the 'church in America,' and
tons of people we have never and will never meet. The only thing we
should be looking for is "Who does Christ want to love through me today?
How do I follow the Spirit of God in me today so that I may love
whoever God puts in my path today?"
not talking about compromising the truth but I don't think every
occasion a falsehood comes up is my opportunity to correct someone.
Jesus withheld truth from people. It was in His wisdom. We are in
Christ just as Christ is in the Father so we can determine when to do
this too. We should "accept one another as Christ has accepted us." That
means, like Jesus, we meet people where they are. It means we humbly
understand that no one has it all figured out despite our systematic
God wins people by His love.
One way of loving is telling people the truth about God but you don't
have to "have it right" or even accept my words about God for me to love
you, whether you are a Christian or not. If the truth (facts) causes
us to love someone less then we are not following The Truth (Christ).
I'm more concerned about someone agreeing with me about facts than I am
about enjoying the Father with them then I have a problem. We don't
need to get our facts\truth straight we need to get our faith\trust
straight. God will get us to the facts in His wise timing if we go to
Him in faith.
It is the same thing when Paul said, "For I
resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and
him crucified." At first glance that doesn't sound like much but Jesus
is the illimitable God and He is all we need to know. In the
Truth there are all the many little truths that God desires we know.