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Christian Convictions: Discerning the Essential, Important, and Personal Elements

Photo of Chad RagsdaleChad Ragsdale | Bio

Chad Ragsdale

Chad Ragsdale joined the faculty at Ozark Christian College in 2005. He teaches primarily in the areas of Christian apologetics, philosophy, and biblical interpretation. In 2020, Chad was named the new Academic Dean of the institution. Chad has been married to his wife Tara since 2001 and has three kids, Logan, Adeline, and Ryane. He has a BA in preaching and an M.Div in contemporary theology both from Lincoln Christian University. He has a D.Min in engaging mind and culture from Talbot School of Theology.
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If the Bible’s teachings were a target, which teachings would be at its bullseye? And what elements of faith are non-essential matters of personal preference? Christians unable to tell the difference between essential, important, and personal elements of Christianity are risking significant errors. On the one hand, Christians who treat personal elements as essential to the faith fall into a sectarianism that misses the point of Christianity. On the other hand, Christians who treat essential elements as unimportant slide into a progressivism that will eventually rewrite the script of Christianity. Christian Convictions guides the reader into a discerning faith that majors in the majors.

Ragsdale makes a very, very important set of distinctions among essential, important, and personal elements of Christianity. Christian Convictions fills a vacuum in the literature.

— J. P. Moreland, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology

With a shepherd’s heart, a scholar’s mind, and a friend’s words, Dr. Chad Ragsdale guides us to effectively engage society in love and truth.

— Caleb Kaltenbach, author of God of Tomorrow and Messy Grace

I’ve always loved the slogan, “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, love.” Sometimes, however, our slogans hang on the church wall but don’t happen down the church hall. Chad Ragsdale answers how we can move this wisdom from poster to practice.

— Matt Proctor, President, Ozark Christian College