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Author Topic: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith  (Read 1720 times)

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Mr E

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Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« on: June 29, 2021, 09:27:47 am »
My brother, who is 18 years my senior- asked me and our other siblings to compile a list for a project he's begun working on for a study group at his church.


He wrote:

I have been invited by our church to be part of a group that will explore the essential principles of Christian faith, the elements of Christian life that could be considered "non-essential" (that is where Christians may have different beliefs but still enjoy brotherhood in Jesus' family) and the errors that are found in "false" forms of religion (pseudo-Christianity) such as mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, Muslimism, etc.  Once this is done, we are invited to identify ways that we can witness to people who are caught up in these false doctrines.  The idea is that we would, sometime down the road, offer a small group to interested people in our church, either as an in-person study or an online series.

As a starting point, I would like to see how much agreement there is in my own family about what the absolute essentials of Christian faith are.  Would each of you give the question some prayerful thought and let me know what your absolutes are.


He asked-- What are the essential beliefs of Christian Faith?

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patrick jane

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2021, 11:07:41 am »
My brother, who is 18 years my senior- asked me and our other siblings to compile a list for a project he's begun working on for a study group at his church.


He wrote:

I have been invited by our church to be part of a group that will explore the essential principles of Christian faith, the elements of Christian life that could be considered "non-essential" (that is where Christians may have different beliefs but still enjoy brotherhood in Jesus' family) and the errors that are found in "false" forms of religion (pseudo-Christianity) such as mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, Muslimism, etc.  Once this is done, we are invited to identify ways that we can witness to people who are caught up in these false doctrines.  The idea is that we would, sometime down the road, offer a small group to interested people in our church, either as an in-person study or an online series.

As a starting point, I would like to see how much agreement there is in my own family about what the absolute essentials of Christian faith are.  Would each of you give the question some prayerful thought and let me know what your absolutes are.


He asked-- What are the essential beliefs of Christian Faith?

I might start with the fact that Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life John 14 KJV -





Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
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patrick jane

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2021, 11:10:49 am »
I would tell them that if they are looking for truth it is found in Jesus and if they are looking for the "right" path or way, it is in Jesus Christ. If they want life eternal it is ONLY found in Christ, the truth, the way and the life.
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Mr E

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2021, 11:11:47 am »
That's exactly where my "essentials" list began and ended PJ.

With the actual words of Jesus.  If he said it, I believe it... and as a Christ follower, I consider those things he taught-essential to the faith.

Everything else?  Not so much.  And everything that people teach about those things he taught that differ from what he actually taught?  Not at all.
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Mr E

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2021, 11:21:21 am »
Here is my actual response, which is a lot like yours PJ.

“Faith” in my understanding is believing, or trusting someone or something.  When you speak of essential “Christian faith” this has to be in the context of believing or trusting Christ. The things he did and said and taught concerning himself and us and this world we live in.  That’s it in a nutshell.  What is essential to believe?  The things he said.
 
And among those things he said was this below—from John 16
 
“But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’  “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;  concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.  “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
 
He said that he, himself was going away and not to worry about it because another was coming whom he referred to as ‘the Helper’ and ‘the Spirit of Truth.’  -And this one would convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment, each explained.  Sin- (missing the mark) because folks didn’t believe in him.  -That’s the essential.  That’s what being a Christ-follower entails—believing what he taught, and in the righteous One who sent him (the Father) with the good news of the kingdom.
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MommaBlack

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2021, 11:41:52 am »
Interesting thoughts.....I truly believe the essentials of "Christian faith" are sometimes misunderstood by many.  I believe faith is important, but the faith has to be placed in Christ completely.  Many people seem to turn against Him when tragedy strikes, or they believe they haven't been heard by Him.  The faith that He has a plan for everything people go through, and that things will work out the way He intends, is absolutely essential in us learning the life lessons He's needing us to learn.
President of the Bad Mom's Club
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Mr E

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2021, 12:14:19 pm »
Interesting thoughts.....I truly believe the essentials of "Christian faith" are sometimes misunderstood by many.  I believe faith is important, but the faith has to be placed in Christ completely.  Many people seem to turn against Him when tragedy strikes, or they believe they haven't been heard by Him.  The faith that He has a plan for everything people go through, and that things will work out the way He intends, is absolutely essential in us learning the life lessons He's needing us to learn.

Welcome MB...

That's a tough one.  It's hard to imagine that God has a plan for everything that people go through particularly as you say, when people are going through terrible things.  God 'planned' this?  This suffering?  This tragedy? 

Could it be that He planned such things?  -Or maybe He just allows all these things that though they are 'bad' they work together for our good in some way- bringing us to repentance, or a place where in humility we will acknowledge our weakness, our sins, faults, shortcomings, etc. -and turn to Him.
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Tambora

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2021, 02:22:28 pm »

“Faith” in my understanding is believing, or trusting someone or something. 
I agree, but believing in something is not the whole picture of faith.
Israel "believed" in the god of Israel (they witnessed YHWH's power and supremacy), but they did not remain faithful (even though they still believed that YHWH existed).

For me, I "believe" there are many gods but only one in which I should remain faithful.
Which mean excluding all other gods with my faithfulness.
Just as I remain faithful to only one man as husband, excluding all others that I am united with.
Because my God is a jealous god.

Good topic!
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Mr E

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2021, 03:04:09 pm »

“Faith” in my understanding is believing, or trusting someone or something. 
I agree, but believing in something is not the whole picture of faith.
Israel "believed" in the god of Israel (they witnessed YHWH's power and supremacy), but they did not remain faithful (even though they still believed that YHWH existed).

For me, I "believe" there are many gods but only one in which I should remain faithful.
Which mean excluding all other gods with my faithfulness.
Just as I remain faithful to only one man as husband, excluding all others that I am united with.
Because my God is a jealous god.

Good topic!

Yes— I was specific with him. If we are talking about Christ-ianity, it’s essential to follow the teachings of Christ. If an Israelite, then the God of Israel, Moabites believe in, and follow the ways and the God of Moab and so forth.

Pilots believe in airplanes and aerodynamics or otherwise they wouldn’t be pilots- their faith, and trust is placed in something they know. If they ceased believing they would quit flying altogether, whereas if they simply quit trusting (as with your Israelite example) they might keep flying because it pays the bills, but they’d pack a parachute along with their lunchbox.

With your husband your faithfulness to him is a choice you make daily to remain faithful.


So you are saying there’s a chance...


Tambora

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2021, 04:48:49 pm »

Yes— I was specific with him. If we are talking about Christ-ianity, it’s essential to follow the teachings of Christ. If an Israelite, then the God of Israel, Moabites believe in, and follow the ways and the God of Moab and so forth.

Pilots believe in airplanes and aerodynamics or otherwise they wouldn’t be pilots- their faith, and trust is placed in something they know. If they ceased believing they would quit flying altogether, whereas if they simply quit trusting (as with your Israelite example) they might keep flying because it pays the bills, but they’d pack a parachute along with their lunchbox.

With your husband your faithfulness to him is a choice you make daily to remain faithful.


So you are saying there’s a chance...
Not sure what you are asking about a chance of???
A chance of having two or more gods?
If so, then yes there is that chance.
We see many in scripture that did.
And they were deemed unfaithful because you cannot have another that your reliance is upon.
You can "believe" (as in acknowledging their existence, and even that they have powers) in others but you can only be united to one that you place your entire reliance upon.
You can't remain faithful to the one if you split your reliance on more than one.
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Mr E

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2021, 06:50:26 pm »

Quote

Just as I remain faithful to only one man as husband, excluding all others that I am united with.


....so you're saying there's a chance....   ;D
« Last Edit: June 29, 2021, 06:52:51 pm by patrick jane »

Mr E

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Re: Essential Beliefs of the Christian Faith
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2021, 08:37:51 am »
Here is my brother’s list which he created prior to reading my note and sent to me after I responded. Now, as brothers might- we are looking for common ground and points of agreement from which to build a foundation for a discussion.

Incidentally his list is pretty much exactly what I expected as it is typical, traditional teaching from the evangelical church we both grew up in, though essentially a generation apart. He strayed away for many years for a time into the Catholic traditions, doctrines and dogmas and for a few decades he was faithless, forgetful, agnostic, antagonistic— almost atheistic. But perhaps ten years ago he had blood pressure and liver problems that challenged his health and gave him pause. He quit drinking entirely and after finding a new love they started attending church again and involved in something called an Alpha program. He now leads one of these groups and this has lead to good conversations with him though he wonders how and why I’ve come to view things so differently.

His list of “essentials.”

Fundamentals of Christianity:
1. The diety of Jesus!  He is God, one person of the Trinity, distinct from the Father and the Spirit, but one God with them. 
2. We are all sinners  Adam’s sin in Genesis 3, brought sin into the world but every person who has ever lived (except for Jesus) is broken and has committed sin, thus separating himself from God.
3. The wages of sin is death! The consequence of our sinful nature and our sinful acts is eternal separation from God.  This separation is “hell.”
4. Jesus is the only way for us to be reconciled to God!  Jesus died in our place and accepted the consequences of our sins. His resurrection from the dead and his return to His Father in heaven is evidence that we can find eternal life through Him.  Since He is the only one who has done this, there is no other way to life.
5. We receive this reconciliation (are saved) through grace alone, not by works or our own merit!  No matter how “good” we are or how much we do, we cannot earn our own salvation.  It can never be enough. 
6. The inerrancy of Scripture!  The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us.  In as much as God cannot lie, the Bible then contains only truth.  That is not to say that every translation of the Bible is also inerrant or that the scribes who copied the manuscripts for 1000 years or more never miscopied something or made a spelling mistake, but the Bible is God’s word. 
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