First Things First
Cars seem to last forever these days, don’t they? I’m old enough to remember when making it to 100,000 miles on a car was considered a patient and frugal choice. These days, I don’t really consider an automobile change unless one of our cars has at least 200,000 miles on it! One of the keys to driving cars this long is regularly scheduled maintenance. If my truck is due for an oil change, I change the oil. Makes sense. However, let’s say I have a big problem in the engine and I insist on ignoring that big engine issue because I want to repaint the truck. (you are probably shaking your head now) That’s crazy! You take care of the big stuff first, then you move on to the secondary wants or needs.
The Apostle Paul spoke to a similar problem in his ministry. In 1 Corinthians 15:3a, he writes, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received…” and he goes on to spell out those things of first importance. Bickering among believers is nothing new. It has been happening for thousands of years. Do the differences matter? They do. But where do those differences belong? The Apostle Paul gives us a guide as to how to rank order our theological conversations with one another. Until we agree on the matters of first importance, the secondary discussions are largely fruitless.
As Anglican Christians, we believe in a very broad theological statement, though not so broad as to allow ungodly activity. The average Christian would likely be very surprised by the diversity of theological thought within the Anglican church. Yet these matters of first importance remain the everlasting foundation and common ground for our life together as Anglican Christians. We do our best not to let secondary matters distract us from the achieving unity in these matters of first importance.
Whatever your understanding of God, I can say confidently that there is room for you in our pews. You are welcome to participate in our liturgy and to worship with us weekly. Let us continue to celebrate the Christian faith so many of us share and may we remain curious but undistracted by the things that make us different.