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Products>Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage (The Gospel Coalition)

Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage (The Gospel Coalition)

, 2020
ISBN: 9781433567421
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In theology, just as in battle, some hills are worth dying on. But how do we know which ones? When should doctrine divide, and when should unity prevail? Pastor Gavin Ortlund makes the case that while all doctrines matter, some are more essential than others. He considers how and what to prioritize in doctrine and ministry, encouraging humility and grace along the way. Using four basic categories of doctrine in order of importance, this book helps new and seasoned church leaders alike wisely labor both to uphold doctrine and to preserve unity.

Resource Experts
  • Considers how and what to prioritize in doctrine and ministry
  • Provides four basic categories of doctrine in order of importance
  • Encourages humility and grace along the way

Part 1: Why Theological Triage

  • The Danger of Doctrinal Sectarianism
  • The Danger of Doctrinal Minimalism
  • My Journey on Non-Essential Doctrines

Part 2: Theological Triage at Work

  • Why Primary Doctrines Are Worth Fighting For
  • Navigating the Complexity of Secondary Doctrines
  • Why We Should Not Divide over Tertiary Doctrines
  • Conclusion: A Call to Theological Humility

Top Highlights

“First, we should distinguish between what must be affirmed and what must not be denied” (Page 80)

“Kevin DeYoung put it, drawing attention to these same passages, ‘We should steer clear of theological wrangling that is speculative (goes beyond Scripture), vain (more about being right than being helpful), endless (no real answer is possible or desired), and needless (mere semantics).’” (Page 40)

“We must distinguish between confused sheep and active wolves.” (Page 81)

“Calvin argued strenuously and at great length against the sin of schism, emphasizing that the church will always be mixed and imperfect until judgment day, and that much separatism comes from pride rather than holiness.” (Page 32)

“As Martin Luther noted, ‘Softness and hardness … are the two main faults from which all the mistakes of pastors come.’” (Page 28)

  • Title: Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage
  • Author: Gavin Ortlund
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Pages: 176
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Theology

Gavin Ortlund (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Ojai in Ojai, California. He was previously a research fellow for the Creation Project at the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of Theological Retrieval for Evangelicals and Anselm’s Pursuit of Joy.




2 ratings

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  1. Matt DeVore

    Matt DeVore


  2. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    I very much like the title of this book, and applaud the author in his endeavour to take on a valuable and much needed topic. I realise that he is trying to get many to think about some things they may never have thought about, and so has written a reasonably compact book. However that brevity does lead to some of the topics feeling that they need “more”. I really liked his coverage of the divisions in approach to Eschatology and Creation - though I would point out that I have similar views to the Author. In his coverage of Complementarism vs Egalitarianism, I disagree with the author’s view but thought he covered the area well. However I was disappointed some what with his coverage of Baptism. Given the author’s history of moving from one camp to another (and I would point out I moved in the opposite direction), I found it a bit disconcerting that he seems to present those of us who baptise infants, as only baptising infants. There seems to be no mention of the baptising of the unchurched adults. Nor is there mention of the tension caused when we who accept those baptised under “believers baptism” without needing to be “rebaptised”, but our baptism is often rejected when people move the other way... There was also a dismissive quote about Luther being wrong about Communion (good way to cheese off all us Lutherans), and a brief and unqualified quote about C S Lewis having a low view of Scripture. Why create division so early in a book trying to look at Theological Triage. I also think that the author could’ve mentioned more about communication. Some of our differences in the areas discussed come from meaning different things with the Theological Terms we use. He did touch a bit on this in Spiritual Gifts. But in my experience, having good open and honest discussions with those of different denominational beliefs often shows that we are much closer on many things than we think. Also, I think the book would benefit with “further reading” on the topics raised. I remember back when I was die-hard Dispensationalist, I was shocked to find that some Christians believed differently - and thankfully I was guided to good books to read on the views of others. Anyway, still a good read :)


Digital list price: $13.99
Save $3.00 (21%)