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When Secondary Issues Become Primary
by Scott Price

"For I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." I Corinthians 2:2 

    The message condensed within the whole of Scripture that is of primary importance is the gospel. The gospel is the message concerning how God was glorified by the Person and work (who He is and what He has done) of Jesus Christ to save sinners. All other issues in the Scripture are of secondary importance. When a church body gathers for fellowship and worship it must be done with primary focus on gospel issues not secondary or side issues. If someone believes the same gospel we do then there should be no problem with them worshipping together with us. This means even if they do have differences in side issues like church government, millennial views, social differences, musical preferences, liberty issues, etc., we can still focus together in worship in a gospel context and get along fine.

    Some people make secondary issues become primary issues. This means an issue is put in higher esteem than the gospel of Christ. When this takes place the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ is broken because of something that one party has put above the gospel of Christ. Some issues can still be tolerated by the person who still has their focus on the gospel BUT when the other party makes the secondary issue to be a gospel issue, then it cannot and should not be tolerated! What are some examples of this?:

Water baptism: If a person's view of water baptism is such that the act of baptism has some saving effect or merit, then the gospel has been effected. If a person says regeneration comes from water baptism or that water baptism washes away sin(s) or even Adam's original sin, then the gospel is effected. They have made a secondary to be primary. A person holding to such heresy is not to be fellowshipped with since they believe a false gospel of conditional, works religion.

The Lord's Supper: If a person's view of the Lord's Supper is such that the act of it has some saving effect or merit, then the gospel has be effect. They have made a secondary to be primary and perverted the gospel.

Millennial views: If a person's millennial views are such that they do damage to the gospel it should not be tolerated. Some might hold to the millennial view that God saved people by the works of the law in the Old Testament. This portrays a false god and false gospel of salvation by works.

Church views: If a person's views put someone on a higher plane of acceptability in Heaven as a result of what denomination or church they were a member of on earth, they have perverted the grace of God.

Judging views: If the view of judging whether another person is saved or not saved has become priority OVER the very gospel itself they claim to be judging by, then they have made judging their gospel. We are no doubt to distinguish false religion, false gospels, false prophets, and false professors from the true, but there are biblical guide lines for doing so. People many times themselves end up being the offence rather than the message of the cross being the offence to others.

Any other view: When someone says if a person does any or all of the following they will go to hell; smokes cigarettes, drinks alcohol, goes to movie theaters, gets a tattoo, eats pork, drinks caffeine, listens to or plays music that in not "gospel music", or does any or all these on Sunday, etc., then this is doing damage to the gospel. They are preaching a "touch not, taste not, handle not" false gospel that is not to be tolerated. They have made secondary to become primary.

    I hope you understand how issues can become out of focus, twisted, and perverted to do damage to the gospel of God's pure sovereign grace. You see then that it is very simple. Anything that is elevated above the primary importance of the gospel will battle against the glory of God. Christ and Him crucified is our primary focus. Keep your eyes on Christ. If you have never seen Him then look to Him by faith for all salvation. Faith in anything else will result in idolatry. God is jealous and will not tolerate it.

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