The importance of essential Christian doctrine simply can't be overstated. These are the doctrines that form the line of demarcation between the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the cults. As believers, we can debate nonessentials without dividing over them, but there has to be unity when it comes to essential Christian doctrine. Hence the maxim that I repeat over and over again on the broadcast: in essentials, unity, in nonessentials, liberty and in all things, charity.
Not only so, but essential Christian doctrine is the North Star that sets the course for Christianity. Just as the North Star is an unchanging reference point that sailors use to safely guide their ships, essential Christian doctrine has safely guided the church through doctrinal storms that have sought to sink it. Shooting stars can light the sky for a moment, but following them inevitably leads to shipwreck.
Essential Christian doctrine is also the foundation on which the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rests. From His Deity to the certainty that He's going to appear a second time to judge the living and the dead, essential Christian doctrine is foundational to the Gospel. All other religions compromise, confuse or contradict essential Christian doctrine.
Muslims, for example, dogmatically denounce the doctrine of Christ's unique Deity as the unforgiveable sin of Shirk. They readily affirm the sinlessness of Christ but adamantly deny His sacrifice upon the cross and His subsequent resurrection on the only hope of salvation.
We are so passionate about essential Christian doctrine at the Christian Research Institute that we have spent a good deal of time in the present issue of the Christian Research Journal dealing with essential Christian doctrine because doctrine is under attack - not only particular doctrines like the resurrection or the incarnation or the Trinity, but the very idea of doctrine itself is considered today to be antiquated, irrelevant and downright divisive.