At Restore, we talk about "essential" and "non-essential" beliefs. It's a framework that we use to keep ourselves from arguing or from becoming divisive in our relationships with one another. We want to make sure that if we disagree over something important, we know that it's important, and we deal with it accordingly. If we disagree over something unimportant, however, we want to know that too. We're going to spend a lot less energy on the non-important things!

Important things are our "essential" doctrines. "Essentials" are listed in the Apostle Creed or in our doctrinal statement, but even those lists are not exhaustive. We take our cue in identifying essential doctrines from the Bible; that is, if the Bible is absolutely clear on something, we consider it an essential. We strongly believe that we don't have any authority to declare what's true or not true for every Christian apart from what God has revealed in his Bible.

On the other hand, non-essential doctrines are those things that the Bible might mention, but doesn't necessarily take a definitive stance. If the Bible is unclear as to what a Christian should believe about a particular subject, we consider that non-essential. To put it another way, we can have a difference of perspective on non-essential doctrines and still both consider ourselves Christians.

Finally, there's a lot of stuff that we do in a certain way because we like it or we  think it's the most efficient or the best way to do something, like the color that we paint the walls or the type of music we use in worship or what kind of clothes we wear to church. We call those things preferences, and we don't argue about about preferences. 

This is just one more way that Restore is committed to honoring God first and living in loving community with one another.