In recent days, many have discussed what issues part fellowship between Christians and those deemed heretics, or those who have beliefs that contradict the core principles of Christianity. Some have been caught up in the John MacArthur vs. Michael Brown debate over charismatic gifts. But, do charismatic gifts, or the lack thereof, deem who is properly called a Christian and who is not? Others have trod down the Calvinist/Arminian debacle in which some Calvinists will claim that Arminians are outside the bounds of Christianity, while some Arminians claim the same for Calvinists. But, what exactly are the core beliefs that make one a Christian? What is essential Christianity?
In this writer’s opinion, ten doctrines hold ground for being essential to the Christian faith. These eight doctrines are:
1. The Belief in God’s Existence.
2. The Belief/Acceptance of Human Sin as Separation from God.
3. The Belief in the Incarnation (Person) of Jesus Christ.
4. The Belief in the Atonement for Sins.
5. The Belief in Justification through Faith.
6. The Belief in Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead.
7. The Belief in the Triune Personhood of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
8. The Belief in the Church.
9. The Belief in the Kingdom of God.
10. The Belief in the Return of Christ
There are many other important beliefs and doctrines that one should hold (e.g. inerrancy of the Bible, the Bible as God’s Word, views on hell, etc.), but individuals could hold a relationship with Christ without knowing about the these doctrines. For instance, there have been antagonists to the faith who have had dreams and visions of Christ and entered into a saving relationship with Christ before knowing much about the Bible.
In the weeks ahead, this site will host articles pertaining to these eight essential doctrines. The articles will explain what is necessary within each doctrine; why the doctrine is considered essential; and will seek to offer some proofs as to why one should believe in the essential doctrine. If you are reading this post and you are a Christian defender (apologist), feel free to comment if there is an additional doctrine that you deem necessary that has not been listed. But remember, essential doctrines are doctrines that are absolutely necessary for one to be a Christian. Secondary and tertiary doctrines are important, but not critical. It is the critical, or essential, doctrines which are being examined within the next few weeks. So join us on our series titled “The Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith.”
Keeping the Essentials essential,
P.S. This is a work in progress. If you have suggestions, please add them to the comment list below.