Essential Beliefs of Christianity

What does a person need to believe in order to rightly be called a Christian?

Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ; We do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ. - Blaise Pascal 

Essential Christianity

When we talk about the essentials of Christianity we're referring to the basic elements that make up and characterize our faith, and which, of course, separate it from other beliefs.  Let's survey these doctrines.
What does a person need to believe in order to rightly be called a Christian?

First, we believe in the authority of Scripture, which is another way of saying that the Bible is God's inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word. It's the ultimate source for knowledge about God, as well as the definitive guide for our daily lives.

Next we affirm the existence of a triune God or one God in three distinct persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This God is self-existent, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy, righteous, and loving.  God created the universe from nothing and He rules sovereign over His creation, including both human and angelic beings.

We also hold that man is a physical and spiritual being who is created in God's image. But because of his sin or transgression, man has lost his fellowship with God.  The extent of sin is so great that its effects continue to this very day in the form of cruelty, sickness, suffering, and death.

By God's grace, Jesus Christ - Who is fully God and fully man - was sent to save us from our bondage to sin. We believe that Christ was born of a virgin, died for our sins, physically rose from the dead, and will one day return to judge the world and deliver His people. Faith in Christ alone (not faith + works) is the only means by which an individual can escape eternal damnation and judgment.

Finally, we recognize the church as God's ordained institution headed by Christ. The church is composed of all believers, and is organized for teaching, worship, fellowship, for the administration of communion and baptism, for spiritual growth and support, and for evangelizing the world. True believers seek to be part of local church assemblies where the Word of God is taught accurately. (See also: What Is Christianity?)

Originally published November 10, 2009.