Along the way, some good people or authors have introduced me to important distinctions. Here are some I can remember offhand.
- Necessary, but not sufficient. For example, faith is necessary for salvation, but not by itself sufficient to save.
- Form and function. Progressives have misused this terribly, but it still has important things to say. Some forms are tied to their functions by Scripture so that they may not be changed: immersion, for example, is a form with an inherent function, that of expressing the purpose of touching the purifying power of Jesus’ blood.
- Experience and emotion. Emotion is reaction, for good or bad, with no necessary relation to the experience, imagined or real. In the gospel, experience is the essence of religion, the practice of walking with God and under his guidance; emotion is the nice little caboose pulled by the engine of faith. Some brothers I know think any talk of experience in religion is equal to wrong-headed emotional fervor.