This is an interesting question raised by Waylan Owens. What are your thoughts? Is marriage a primary, secondary, or tertiary doctrine?

waylan and betsy owens

I must confess that I am co-opting the title and building off a fine blog by Nathan Finn entitled, Is Baptism a Secondary Doctrine. ( In his blog, Finn described Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler’s method of theological triage. Finn wrote,

According to Mohler, primary or first-order doctrines are those that are essential to the faith–you cannot reject these beliefs and still be Christian in the biblical sense of the term. . . . Secondary or second-order doctrines are those that generate disagreement among authentic Christians and typically result in an inability to be a part of the same denomination or often even the same congregation. . . . Tertiary or third-order doctrines are those doctrines that engender disagreement, but do not normally prevent two Christians from being part of the same church or group of churches.

While different people might organize the categories differently, Mohler’s triage approach is…

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