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What must a Christian believe?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Godspell, Sep 14, 2014.

  1. I've been doing extensive research into ecumenism which I am fond of. In this matter I've been drawn into contemplating what exactly constitutes the Christian faith, or what are the articles of it.

    In my estimation there are at least five articles:

    1--God is One
    2--God is the triunion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
    3--The Son of God became man (Jesus Christ), lived perfectly, and conferred the faith of the New Covenant
    4--Jesus Christ was crucified as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of all humanity for all time
    5--God is love and we must love God and love others

    Without these it seems that it would cease to be the Christian faith. But, although there are these I find other items are difficult to ascertain, for instance, the physical resurrection and the virgin birth are both not considered strictly necessary to the faith by Anglicans and Episcopalians, yet seem to be integral, albeit perhaps not required, elements of faith--or are they required? I can't find anything in scripture demanding their acceptance, but I find the denial of them a bit unseemly, especially by mainline denominations.
    Ghid likes this.
  2. Should one believe the Bible is the word of God? I believe so, how else are you going to look at it authoritatively?
    Phoneman777 and Major say Amen and like this.
  3. How important are these topics?

    If Jesus was born of a man then we're all dead in our sins. If He was not born of a virgin, He inherited sin just like the rest of us and we're all living a lie. I think it's important. Matt 1:23 and Luke 1:27 use παρθένος and if you paste that into Google translate you get "virgin", quoting Isa 7:14 where the word "virgin" also means "maiden" but does not mean she was pure. The NT translates the OT. However if you go to the Septuagint (Greek version of the OT written by the Jewish scholars) you'll see the same Greek word παρθένος meaning "virgin". Also, if Jesus had not also conquered death in the resurrection, again you're left dead in your sins and Jesus would still be in Hell today, paradise still captive, and heaven closed, forever. Some vital principles do not require to be spelled out in words but are discerned.

    If I only speak against lying, murder, or robbing, is it alright to cheat on an exam because it's not explicitly mentioned in the word of God? Just a thought.
    Heart_for_Christ and Major say Amen and like this.
  4. I considered that also, but I wonder is not believing scriptural inspiration going to bar someone from salvation? I think it is just a fact not a dogma.

    The virgin birth is not theologically essential. By your logic we'd also have to believe the immaculate conception and sinlessness of the theotokos.
  5. Is believing in the Trinity really required? The only reason I ask is because it seems some people get really confused about the Trinity. I'd say that you have to believe that Jesus was God in human form, He was sinless, and He was crucified for our sins. I don't know what else would really be required. I would like to think that salvation requires very little intelligence.

    I don't consider any belief about the Bible to be required for salvation. I'd say that the Bible is a blessing, but the story could have been passed orally and Christianity would, hopefully, be similar.
  6. I would agree. John 3:16 does not say believe and ...

    Belief in the Bible will come later.
  7. The resurrection is the most important tenet for a Christian imo.

    1Co 15:12-19 KJV Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (13) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: (14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. (16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: (17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. (19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

    Rom 10:9 KJV That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    C1oudwatch3r likes this.
  8. As I said, many Anglicans don't believe in the physical resurrection.

    I agree with this. I've thought it could be divided into essential doctrine and integral doctrine, the former being necessary to the faith. The latter not technically necessary but which isn't really up for debate.
  9. They believe Jesus was resurrected though. What type of resurrection of the dead do they believe in ?
  10. Spiritual resurrection. Its not the official position of the Church but it is tolerated.
  11. I don't believe strictly one must have a sure understanding of Christology and the Nicene definition of the Trinity. However, the basic understanding that God exists as three hypostases (personas) is important, IMO. If only because certain contrary ideas such as modalism, binitarianism and unitarianism could inhibit communion with God. Ultimately His exact nature is a mystery, but He has revealed himself as Father, Son and Spirit which each individually constitute the one God, and together constitute one God as well.

    Essence, energy, substance, procession and generation are just extended definitions based on theological research. I wouldn't say they were necessarily dogmatic, but true nonetheless.

    Hypostatic union of the Son is another tricky element, how much Christology must someone know, I think just knowing that Jesus is the God-man is sufficient.
  12. As essentials I would include

    The acknowledgement of Christ as the LORD and faith in Christ as preconditions for salvation:

    "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Rom 10:9
    "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved"
    Acts 16:30,31

    And the salvation is by faith apart from works:

    "Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." Rom 4:4-8

    "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Eph 2:8,9

    See also:
    The gospel series: http://bcbsr.com/topics/gospel_series.html
    Gospel Essentials: http://bcbsr.com/topics/essential_gospel.html
  13. If I were to strip down what a Christian is to the bare minimum, say a convert at his very beginning moment of his conversion, I think you got it. What happens moving forward is very important. If someone's faith doesn't mature, then there's most likely a big problem.
    Heart_for_Christ and Where is the Messiah say Amen and like this.
  14. This one is the most ecumenical idea in Christianity.

    Sin bad. Jesus fix sin.
    Major likes this.
  15. Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin.
    Major likes this.
  16. 1.)
    Romans 10:17
    "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the WORD OF GOD"!

    Isaiah 7:14
    "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel".

    Christians must face the fact that a denial of the virgin birth is a denial of Jesus as the Christ. The Savior who died for our sins was none other than the baby who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. The virgin birth does not stand alone as a biblical doctrine, it is an irreducible part of the biblical revelation about the person and work of Jesus Christ. With it, the Gospel stands or falls.
  17. Absolutly agreed!

    May I also say that IMO, it is conceivable that someone might come to Christ and trust Christ as Savior without yet learning the Bible teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin. A new believer is not yet aware of the full structure of Christian truth. The real question is this: Can a Christian, once aware of the Bible’s teaching, reject the virgin birth? The answer must be no.
  18. The Nicene Creed. That's why we have it.
    LysanderShapiro likes this.
  19. Agreed, so my thinking is that these essential doctrines are essential because they provide a facet for one to do good deeds and service to God.

    Of course, IMO there is also the problem of not repenting sin and not emanating virtue. As I see it now, these are things God works with you on as long as one is humble to the Holy Spirit. I believe that is sort of the mysterious part of faith, the part we can't fully put into words.

    I personally believe in The virgin birth, however I understand it as a sign of the Messiah and fulfillment of prophesy. I don't know if it would bar someone from communion to not believe it if they still knew He was the messiah.

    What I would ask, though, is how much Christology must someone know? If they need not know it but just cannot contest it when they do know it, what about Unitarians, etc.
  20. I had always thought that a belief in the Trinity was paramount to being a Christian but I am quite surprised to learn that isn't the case. I'm not sure if you can break this belief down by denomination or if it's an individual thing.

    I do know that the Catholics and Lutherans at least have the Athanasian Creed which explains the Trinity in a little more detail, but it's a very long creed to recite so they only do it once a year or so...the other Sundays it's either the Nicene or Apostle's Creeds.

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