When writing to Christians in Rome, Paul concluded by sending his greetings to several groups meeting throughout the city (Romans 16). Then, he sends this warning:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18 ESV)
I think that many Christians today live by this warning, as long as they can define what Paul meant by “doctrine that you have been taught.”
In fact, many people come up with different levels of doctrine and use those levels to determine levels of fellowship. I don’t think this is what Paul had in mind here at all.
I guess my question is this: Given the importance of unity throughout Scripture and without naming particular doctrines (teachings), how do we decide which teachings to divide over?