Essentials #10 – The Necessity of Faith

It’s been a long series, but we’re almost to the end – we’re at number ten of the eleven essential beliefs of the Christian faith. This time, around, we look at the necessity of faith – why one cannot be at Christian without faith. Of course, since there are many, many misconceptions and misunderstandings about what faith really is, we’ll have to start with a definition of faith as used in this context. Continue reading

Essential #9 – The Death, Burial, and Ressurection of Christ

(Note: for those of you who’ve been lamenting the lack of pictures and embedded media in the last few posts, there’s a video a the very end just for you!)

I’ve been working through the essential beliefs of the Christian faith – those facts that are necessarily true  for Christianity to be a worldview based on transcendent truth rather than man-made fantasy (such as Darwinian evolution, hyper-rationalism, or any of a multitude of religious traditions or ‘roll your own’ brands of paganism.

This installment deals with the central, core tenet of Christianity – the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ and the implications of those historical events upon the eternal destinies of every single human being who has, does, or ever will live.

As usual, let’s start with a list of just what the essential beliefs are:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The triunity of God
9. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

The first thing we come to with #9 is that weird word ‘atoning’. Just what does that mean, anyway? Continue reading

Essentials #8 – The Triunity of God

You may notice that I’ve slightly reordered our list of essential Christian beliefs. I’ve done so because in this revised order, the first eight in our list now (as one of our more logically-minded readers suggested) makes a progressive path of doctrine that makes number 9 on our list much more understandable once you grasp these first eight. Here’s the reordered list:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The triunity of God
9. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

This makes this installment all about one of the most ridiculed and misunderstood of our core beliefs. The doctrine of the Trinity has been debated for millennia, and yet it is impossible to deny the triune nature of God without denying both essentials #1 and 7.

Continue reading

Essentials #6 and #7 – The Sinlessness, Humanity, and Deity of Christ

This time around, we’ll take a look at two of the essential teachings of the Christian faith, which are:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

The first of these two, the sinlessness of Christ, is necessary for the two doctrines following on the list to be true. If Jesus is not sinless, then he cannot be Deity (more on that later), and His death, burial, and resurrection would have no effect on whether we are saved from God’s wrath or not. Continue reading

Essentials #5: The Virgin Birth

The virgin birth of Jesus is by far the most ridiculed teachings of the Christian church, and because of that many who claim to be followers of the Christ have gone so far as deny it.

However, it is one of the essential Christian doctrines.

First, a quick review of what the essential Christian doctrines are. These are beliefs that negate the Christian faith if they are denied; anyone who denies any of these doctrines are not disciples of the Christ, no matter how much they may try to convince you (or themselves) otherwise. They are:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

Last time, we looked at the necessity of God’s grace. The virgin birth makes the radical demonstration and fulfillment of that grace as shown in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ possible. Continue reading

Essentials #4: The Necessity of God’s Grace

Previously, we examined the truth that everyone is subject to God’s punishment for sin, and this time we will briefly look at the necessity of God’s grace. Before that, however, let’s review our list of essential Christian beliefs:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts.
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

So far, we’ve seen that, in plain terms, God made everything (and everyone), and as Creator He has both the power and authority to make the rules and set the punishment for any offenses. We’ve also seen that every one of us had disobeyed those rules and have rejected God’s terms for life, liberty, and contentment with Him. We are all therefore deserving and certainly subject to punishment unless God Himself rescues us from it.

That act of rescue is the ultimate demonstration of God’s grace toward us. Continue reading

Essentials #3: Human Depravity

In my last post, I summarized the importance of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. Today, we continue our overview of the bare essentials of the Christian faith with what most people consider the most offensive of the lot, but before I launch into the doctrine of total depravity, here’s the full list:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts.
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

The first thing most of us think when we hear the phrase ‘total depravity’ is that of a Hannibal Lector, Ted Bundy, or perhaps the ISIS goons and their unspeakably cruel acts – and then smugly go on our way proud that WE aren’t THAT bad… Continue reading

Essentials #2 : Sovereinty of God

Last time, we started on an examination of what the essential core beliefs of the Christian faith are. I defined what an essential doctrine is, and listed those doctrines that must be true for Christianity to be a viable worldview. Here’s the list:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts.
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

The first, we found, was the basis upon which the others depend. Now, lets take a look at the second: God’s sovereign rule over all creation. Continue reading

Essentials

Recently, I was posed this question:

You often go on about the ‘essentials of the faith’ or ‘core Christian doctrine’ but you never really give an explanation of what these are OR why they are considered essential. Can you at least give me some kind of explanation about this?

So, the next few articles are going to do exactly that. With this article, I’ll define just what an essential doctrine is, give a list of the absolutely foundational Christian beliefs, and go into a bit of detail about why number one on the list is so important. In future posts, I’ll take a closer look at one or two of the core beliefs.

What is a doctrine, and what makes one essential?

A doctrine is simply a statement of belief or truth. Therefore, even if your belief statement is ‘I don’t believe in the value of doctrine”, you have just made a statement of doctrine! Make no mistake: EVERYONE HAS A DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIANITY.

Doctrines (truth statements) that are essential or foundational to the Christian faith are those doctrines that cannot be denied and still be considered a disciple of the Christ. In other words, if you deny these truths, you cannot be Christian. Continue reading