Lately I’ve been seeing some pretty unpleasant discussions at blogs where Christians have been positioning themselves in opposition to other Christians because those other Christians didn’t hold some doctrine that was essential to the faith, or else they did hold it, but they didn’t regard it as essential to the Christian faith. The example I have in mind is the rough treatment that William Lane Craig has received for not holding that an Augustinian take on original sin was essential to Christianity (even though he seemed, in that discussion, to think that something like it was still true). Think about that term: “Essential to the Christian faith.” Essential. Necessary. You can’t have Christian faith without it. Required.