Question of the Week: The Essentials of Christian Faith

For this week’s Question of the Week, I wanted to zero in on what is essential to Christianity. If you had to boil Christianity down to its bare essentials, what would those essentials be? Try to be specific. For example, you might say it is essential to believe in Jesus Christ. That’s of course true, but which Jesus Christ? The Prophet Jesus? The Divine Christ? The Human Jesus? So try to be specific.

Also, to help you wrestle with this, try asking the following two questions of your essentials before posting them in the comment section below:

1. If a person does not believe _______________, they are not a Christian.

2. If a person believes __________________, they are not a Christian.

Jeremy Lundmark
Comments 7
  1. The way the question was formatted on FB, I was thinking that we were looking for one word answers to place on each line, and that kinda’ threw me. I’m just not that clever. Then when I realized, by looking at the other responses, that we can be verbose, well…
    Then, each question had a negative connotation, whilst Jesus and His followers spoke mostly about establishing a positive relation with Him, i. e. what is required to be a “Christian”. Stuff like “Follow Me.”, “Come unto me” or “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”.
    On a personal note, I came to believe in Jesus as my Savior/Deliverer over the course of one summer and had no idea that He was also G-D. I was saved but needed to get to know Him better. So i’m in total agreement with the faith journey thing.
    But to get back to the negative questions. Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” or born from above. Something that indicates God being the prime mover, and the christian following after. So yeah, one must be born again, of course that is an outwardly invisible thing, like having a circumcised heart.
    I could keep on rambling here but John 14:6 probably the most important foundation to establish (especially fo r the US and european churches). “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…”. This statement can make us fall and be broken to self and made alive to Him. Or this can fall on us and totally destroy us.

  2. Jeremy, It is an interesting question that gets me in trouble all the time. Is belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God a mark of a Christian? Not exactly the demons know who Jesus is. Can you declare Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but do not follow the basics of Divine Law? According to James no. Being a Christian is a work in progress. According to John Wesley it is a movement towards perfection. According to Philipp Melanchthon we receive faith through hearing the word and then learn a new obedience. Paul asks this sarcastic question “Who are you to judge someones else’s servant?” (Romans 14:4a) Basically a Christian is an individual growing in the way of Jesus Christ. A non-christian has chosen another path.

    1. Well said Scott.

      We do need to avoid becoming fruit inspectors but at the same time we need to be careful to define our terms in a world that is happy to shift meaning, and truth away from the objective to the subjective.

      You said, “…a Christian is an individual growing in the way of Jesus Christ.”

      Do you suppose a Mormon or Jehovah’s witness might be comfortable with that? What about a nominal (in name only) Christian?

      One thing is sure, simply “saying” we believe something is never sufficient. Still, what we “say” we believe can disqualify us, even though it may never qualify us.

      1. Jeremy, I like the haircut. Back to the discussion. As I said I do get in trouble on this topic. Jeff in the next comment makes a good point when he mentions the Father and only through the son can we come to the Father. The Trinity relationship is very important in the gift we have as Christians. Yet in Ecclesiastes 12:7 we all return to dust and our spirit returns to God. In my ministry with working with the people at the end of life it is not important to figure out who they are, but prepare for that returning to God that happens. God knows what is true in their hearts. Even I do not know if I will be saved or not, that is a gift from God. Thanks for the discussion.

  3. Deity of Christ, salvation through Jesus Christ alone, by grace not works, the resurrection of Christ, the Gospel, Trinity. In my view, if a person doesn’t believe in Salvation through Jesus only, they’re not a Christian. Conversely, if a person believes that God can be worshiped through other religions, not a Christian.

    1. Good points Will. Let me probe a little deeper if you don’t mind.

      What if I said (hypothetically) I agreed with your points, but I don’t think Scripture is inerrant or authoritative. I believe in Jesus as a foundation, but God is in all things so I don’t restrict Him to a single book. Woukd that be o.k., or do you think Scripture is an important essential?

      (Note: I dont believe the above, just trying to help the dicussion get to a deeper level.)

      1. Yes, I’m with you, it would be difficult to find anything authoritative outside of the Bible. But if not the Bible, which books would you suggest? Josephus? Gospel of Thomas?

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