Adapted from The Christian Messenger (December 25,1826): page 27
It is now granted by all parties, that every wrong opinion of truth, not absolutely essential, should not be made a term of fellowship; but it is contended, that there are some doctrines essential to salvation, and that errors in opinion respecting them, ought to exclude those who hold them from the union and fellowship of Christians. We grant that any opinion, which may have such an influence on the heart of any man, as to lead him to immortality and disobedience to the gospel--to the neglect of his duty to God, and to his neighbor, or to the subversion of plain, fundamental truth, ought certainly to be reprobated, and he that holds such an opinion should be rejected from Christian fellowship; because his works prove him to be a heretic, knowing that he that is such, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.--Titus 3:11.--A few particulars we will adduce for illustration. It is a fundamental truth, that:
There is a Father and a Son; but any opinion that leads to the denial of them, John declares to be anti-Christian; He is Antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.--1 John 2:22.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; but any opinion of this truth that leads to the denial of it, is fatal: Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?--Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. 1 John 2:22, 23.
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh; but any opinion which contradicts this, is declared to be of Antichrist: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that spirit of Antichrist. 1 John 1:3.
Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again from the dead; whatever opinion, therefore, goes to contradict these facts, goes to prove the Apostles false witnesses; for they all testified that he did rise from the dead--and if they are false witnesses, our faith in their testimony, which is the whole New Testament, is vain, and all are yet in our sins. 1 Cor. 15.
We must believe in Jesus Christ and obey him, in order to obtain salvation and eternal life; if any opinion leads to disannul this truth, it must be in direct opposition to God's appointed method of salvation, and therefore brings ruin upon the person who receives it, and is so influenced by it as to act in accordance with it.
In these particulars, we presume all Christians agree; and we are happy to find that the terms of Christian union and fellowship are considerably diminished in number. Such has been the mania for uniformity of doctrines, that almost every diversity of opinion, even on points of minor importance, has been reckoned a sufficient reason to exclude an humble believer from fellowship and union with his fellow-christians. But of late, in this day of free inquiry, the frowns of truth, and the blush of piety at such intolerance, have banished a great many of them from the churches. A few yet remain, but await the same fate, and are fast approaching their end.