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From the Bible Teacher’s Desk: 3 Tiers for Teaching Unshakeable Faith

One of the most important, but most difficult things that Christians are tasked with biblically is to give living witness to the love of Christ. And in turn with that same display of the love of Christ, to defend the faith that is held so precious. 

 
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The premise of educating students presents the ideals of foundations in academics, arts, athletics, and critical thinking. But leaving out a spiritual foundation in a world where Christianity is challenged, athletes get injured, academics change, and critical thinking evolves with changing times can be equated as teaching students how to build a house on sand versus a house built on rock. Equipping students to stand firmly in a biblical worldview on a foundation of truth positions them for unshakeable faith. The Bible teachers at Mount Paran Christian School educate students with the integral knowledge of how to defend and demonstrate their faith to others in a three-tiered Theological Triage.

 

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Why Teach This Concept?

The benefit of teaching Christian students Theological Triage is that it provides a framework for prioritizing biblical beliefs in a way that allows for discussion versus argument. It allows a direct path for believers to explain the important points of Christianity to non-believers without getting caught up in controversial details that get away from the real foundation of truth. If controversial details are focused on, it opens up windows of judgment and hypocrisy to creep in which are warned against scripturally. 

 

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In Matthew 23:23, Jesus stresses the importance of prioritization when he states: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”  

 

 

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What is The Triage?

Paul highlights what Christians should communicate in 1 Corinthians 15:3 as “the first importance.” That Jesus “...died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. Here, the bible gives us a basis on certain battles that Christians should choose, and the other battles that really aren’t even battles— or shouldn’t be. Very often, choosing the wrong battle, or “making mountains out of mole hills” creates unnecessary obstacles between Chirstians and non-Christians when we are trying to unpack the faith. 

In the medical field “triage” means that medical personnel are essentially assessing the greatest viability of life. The process of triage shows personnel which patients should be treated first, and shows how to devote resources in the best way possible to save lives. 

If we equate a triage-like outline to witnessing or defending the faith to non-Christians, the three-tiered scaffolding supports a “theological urgency” of doctrinal issues per importance. Many people equate these levels as essentials versus the non- or lesser essentials when it comes to the Christian faith.

 

 

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Tier #1

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Tier One includes those doctrines most central and essential to the Christian faith which are the Trinity, the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by grace and through faith in Christ alone, the authority of scripture, and that God created the earth. These are essentially what Paul is referring to as the “first importance” in 1 Corinthians 15:3. These first-order doctrines represent the most fundamental truths. Denial of Tier One truths equates to denial of Christianity, which is the level that needs to be defended above all else.

 

Tier #2

 

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Tier Two is where denominational beliefs start to branch off from the top level of biblical truth. This set of doctrines is distinguished from the first-order set by the fact that Christians who are in full agreement of the first tier may disagree on the second-order issues which can create significant boundaries between believers. These include baptism or methods of baptism, the Lord’s supper, leadership of women in the church, spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and healing, and free will. 
 

 

Tier #3

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The third Tier illustrates doctrines where Christians may disagree but still remain in close fellowship — the non-essentials. These issues would include the age of the earth, how to dress at church, and the end times. 

However, whichever tier is being discussed, Christians still need to reflect back to that first tier that whatever is being discussed or believed does need to be grounded in scripture. So even though there is biblical evidence for free will, there is also biblical evidence for predestination. So within that second and third tier, Christians can find discussion points and places where perhaps they would agree to disagree based on their (or their church’s) scriptural translation. But Christians don’t have to agree on those factors because they are not essential beliefs that are illustrated in that top tier. 

 
 

Remembering What’s Important

So when Christians are challenged, or they are witnessing to others, or they are questioning which church they should go to, the top tier should be referenced. As long as the church you go to preaches the truth and/or the person that you are witnessing or discussing the topics with agrees on the essential truths, the rest can be filtered through with additional discussion and an open mind.  

 

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These types of biblical lessons presented to young students while they are in the midst of their spiritual, physical, and academic development are paramount to scaffolding success in life. Much like the construction of a home, when this foundation building occurs, a young person can weather the elements of going out in the world safely and securely by learning how to honor God, love others, and walk in Truth. 




Dereko Robertson and Scott Minear are Bible teachers at MPCS. They share the benefits of teaching Theological Triage to students to improve discussions and defense of the Christian faith. Listen in to "From The Mount" for additional insight on this topic.
 

To learn more about raising up followers of Christ at MPCS, click here.

 

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