This is my opinion, though others may not feel this way. That is why we have free will. Greg.
Essential for salvation: These are the most essential doctrines of all essentials. This includes what every Christian should always be willing to die for. In essence, if someone does not believe the doctrines that are “essential for salvation,” they are not saved.
What I include:
- The Holy Trinity Matthew 28:19
- Belief in Christ’s deity and humanity (1 John 4:2-3; Rom. 10:9)
- Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. (Acts 4:12)
- Belief that you are a sinner in need of God’s mercy (1 John 1:10)
- Belief that Christ died on the cross and rose bodily from the grave (1 Cor 15:3-4)
- Belief that faith in Christ is necessary (John 3:16)
Finally, the essentials of Christianity would not be complete without the ingredient that binds everything together—faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). As Christians we live by this verse with the understanding that we believe in a God we cannot see. But we see His work in our lives and all around us in His creation. We do all of this through faith because we know that faith pleases God. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Important but not essential: These are those beliefs that do not describe any particular tradition necessarily. They are important, but not that important.
- Beliefs about particulars in the creation debate
- Belief whether the books of Jonah and Job are historical accounts
- Beliefs about the inerrancy of Scripture
- Beliefs about the authorship of 2 Peter
- Belief about rapture of church (i.e. pre-trib , mid-trib, post-trib)
- The order of books in the canon
- Which translation of the Bible to use from the pulpit
- Which Gospel was written first
- How often one should celebrate the Lord’s supper
- Whether or not Christ taught in Greek or Aramaic
Liberty: These are beliefs that people have concerning Christian doctrine that are not important for any expression and do not affect Christian devotion or spirituality.
- The date of Christ’s birth (Christmas)
- What kind of music to play at church
- Whether to use real wine or grape juice at communion
- Whether to hold Saturday night services
Pure speculation: That is just what these are, speculation. We just don’t know one way or another, nor does it matter.
- Did Adam have a belly-button
- Belief in the eternal destiny of pets (except I know my cat is going to heaven)
- What was God doing “before” creation
- Will there be meat to eat in heaven
- and the list goes on.