“This slogan (or versions of it) is familiar to most; it is an old one. The complete statement, “In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love” comes from Augustine (354-430 AD) over 1500 years ago. Such slogans should be avoided, or at best used very carefully, because they can be misleading. This statement has mislead many in the past and is still doing it today. The Scriptures do not speak of some Bible truth as being essentials and others as non-essentials.”
“In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis (or, dubiis) libertas, in utrisque (or, omnibus) caritas. -St. Agustine, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hippo-“
Originally, this statement is no restoration movement plea! So please, let us stop quoting it from the restoration movement. If we want to quote it, quote it from the original author, St. Agustine of Hippo of the Roman Catholic Church. Otherwise, you will be caught of plagiarizing a story! That’s a criminal offense under the libel law.
This statement may have been used by Alexander Campbell for his liberal church, the Disciples of Christ, but it was never his motto.
Unlike his father, Thomas who was more conservative, who pleaded “We speak where the Bible speaks, we remain silent where the Bible is silent,”, Alexander, who is on the liberal side, held this motto.
The United States of America is said to be the breeding ground of religious organizations like the Protestants, Roman Catholics and other religious denominations (Mattox, 1961). The denominational group Disciples of Christ, pleaded that, “In essentials, Unity! In opinions, Liberty! In all matters, Love”. This plea is diametrically opposed to the conservative stance of Bible based conservative congregations that advocate the tenet, “speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent”.
In essentials, Unity!
The essentials pertain to the doctrinal value of what are written in the scriptures. They said, “at all costs Christians, in whatever religious group or denominations they belong, must be united in the fundamental doctrines of belief like the deity of Jesus Christ and salvation.”
In opinions, Liberty!
Liberty is the freedom of expression on whatever issues or innovations that you like to talk about.
This group advocates that it is liberal in matters of opinion as to the interpretation of biblical passages to the point that the opinions they formulated through the years became the foundation of their religion. To this day, the fundamental issues dividing the liberals and conservatives continue to be the subject of raging debates among the religious in the United States.
In all matters, Love!
Even though many religious denominations differ in teachings, still they treat their opponents with love. Like the Methodists, the Orthodox and the Catholics, they may be different in matters of opinion but what dominates in their attitude towards the other groups is Love.
Many will say that, “there is no wrong opinion and everyone is entitled to opinionate”. Thus, it happens that in any kind of discussion when something is said that is based upon opinion, the good flow of arguments suffer. Opinions vary because they depend largely upon the perception and persuasion of the opinion maker over a certain issue rather than the correct appreciation of a stated fact.