Jeder Pastor greift immer wieder auf bestimmte Modelle zurück. Tim Challies hat hier zwei wichtige beschrieben:
- Wie unterscheidet er zwischen erst-, zweit- und drittrangigen Themen der christlichen Lehre?
- Was sind die Leitfragen, um Gottes Willen zu erkennen?
Interessant ist seine Einteilung, was er zu den drei Leveln rechnet, insbesondere die Eschatologie (Lehre der Zukunft) unter Level 3!
First-level doctrines are those that are those that are most central and essential to the Christian faith. They are doctrines such as the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture. These are the doctrines that demanded councils and creeds. These are the doctrines that if you deny, you will soon deny the Christian faith altogether.
Second-level doctrines are significant issues, but ones for which there is still disagreement among gospel-believing Christians. We can still affirm the faith of those who believe the opposite of what we believe, but we may not be able to enjoy denominational or local-church fellowship with them. These are issues such as the meaning and mode of baptism, and whether or not women are permitted to serve as pastors.
Third-level doctrines are those for which Christians may disagree, even while maintaining the closest kind of fellowship. You and I may believe different things here, but it will not diminish our fellowship and we can easily participate in the same local church. Eschatology is an example of this kind of doctrine, where as long as we affirm the bodily and victorious return of Jesus Christ, we may disagree on exactly what sequence of events will lead to it.