Essential Doctrines of Christianity/Homecoming

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Essential Doctrines of Christianity

from http://www.carm.org/doctrine/essentials.htm

The Bible itself reveals those doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith.

They are 1) the Deity of Christ, 2) Salvation by Grace, and 3) Resurrection of Christ, and 4) the gospel. These are the doctrines the Bible says are necessary. Though there are many other important doctrines, these four are the only ones that are declared by Scripture to be essential. A non-regenerate person, or a cultist (i.e., Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness), will deny one or more of these essential doctrines. Please note that there are other derivative doctrines of scripture that become necessary also, the Trinity being one.

1. The Deity of Christ
Jesus is God in flesh (John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14). See also John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8
1 John 4:2-3: “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
The above verse needs to be cross referenced with John 1:1,14 (also written by John) where he states that the Word was God and the Word became flesh.
1 John 4:2-3 is saying that if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh then you are of the spirit of Antichrist.
John 8:24, “I said, therefore, to you, that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”
Jesus said here that if you do not believe “that I am” you will die in your sins. In Greek I am is ‘ego eimi,’ which means ‘I am.’ These are the same words used in John 8:58 where Jesus says “…before Abraham was, I am.” He was claiming the divine title by quoting Exodus 3:14 in the Greek Septuagint. (The Septuagint was the Hebrew Old Testament translated into Greek.)

Jesus is the proper object of faith
It is not simply enough to have faith. Faith is only as valid as what it is put in. You must put your faith in the proper object. Cults have false objects of faith; therefore, their faith is useless–no matter how sincere they are.
If you put your faith in a vacuum cleaner, then you will be in a lot of trouble on the day of judgment. You might have great faith, but so what? It is in something that can’t save you.

The Doctrine of the deity of Christ includes:
The Trinity – There is one God who exists in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are all coeternal, and of the same nature.
Monotheism – There is only one God in all existence (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8). Mormons believe that many gods exist though they serve and worship only one. Therefore, they are polytheists which excludes them from the camp of Christianity.
The Hypostatic Union – That Jesus is both God and man.
The sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ – The sacrifice of Christ is completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the world
As God – Jesus must be God to be able to offer a sacrifice of value greater than that of a mere man.
He had to die for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). Only God could do that.
As man – Jesus must be man to be able to be a sacrifice for man.
As a man He can be the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).

2. Salvation by Grace
“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, NIV).

“You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4).
This verse and its context plainly teach that if you believe that you are saved by faith and works then you are not saved at all. This is a common error in the cults. Because they have a false Jesus, they have a false doctrine of salvation. (Read Rom. 3-5 and Gal. 3-5).
you cannot add to the work of God. Gal. 2:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (NIV)

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Rom. 3:20).
“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).
“Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law”
(Gal. 3:21).

3. The Resurrection of Christ
A. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14). “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).
B. To deny the physical resurrection is to deny Jesus’ work, sacrifice, and our resurrection.
C. These verses clearly state that if you say that Jesus did not rise from the dead (in the same body He died in — John 2:19-21), then your faith is useless.

4.The Gospel
A. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:8-9, NIV).
Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self declarative statement that you must believe the gospel. The gospel message which in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe.
Furthermore, it would not be possible to present the gospel properly without declaring that Jesus is God in flesh per John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8.

B. 1 Cor. 15:1-4 defines what the gospel is: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (NIV).
Within these verses are the essentials: Christ is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9); Salvation is received by faith (John 1:12; Rom. 10:9-10), therefore it is by grace; and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4. Therefore, this gospel message automatically includes the essentials.

**So, Im being simplistic here, but if you (a generic ‘you’ , a person) do not agree with these essential truths, you are a heretic. Or you are something other than a Christian. I.E. mormon, JW, atheist, etc.

In regards to the Catholic church, one would add the sacraments and other man made doctrinal stuff to the essential truths for one to be a catholic, then one who does not believe in all that stuff, is a heretic.

So when someone doesn’t go to an established church bldg. but agrees with the essential truths, that one is still a christian, not a heretic.

Right?

This was posted in the comments section of my heretic post…

double predestination
http://www.the-highway.com/DoublePredestination_Sproul.html
7 ecumenical councils
http://www.pbcc.org/dc/creeds/councils.html

For those of us who don’t know what this stuff is…
so if a jew believes in jesus…heretic?

if a catholic believes against the sacraments for salvation..heretic?
http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Sacraments/default.asp

If a christian doesn’t believe in the essential doctrines…
http://www.carm.org/doctrine/essentials.htm

heretic….or what? pagen, heathen, JW, mormon, atheist, agnostic.

Ok. Im done with the heretic stuff, Im busy cleaning the house and getting stuff done so the boys can come home tonight at Midnight.

Yuck, I don’t want to drive that late, but oh well. I missed them, sort of. 😉

It was really, really nice to just do my own thing for 5 days and go to that lecture series and play on computer all day, but it was a quiet house. And without my boys I’m not a home engineer. Please pray for safe return of the boys and that all the kids would be delivered safely back to their families.

Be back on Monday! Blessings on your weekend.

Kristina

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7 responses »

  1. Great post.

    This looks pretty good to me Kris. A couple of things I would add (or at least clarify):

    In my mind “The Gospel” is the first 3.

    I would say “Bodily Resurrection.” Jesus made it clear he had flesh and bone after the resurrection. Many heretical groups deny the bodily resurrection (Jehovah’s Witnesses being one of them if I am remembering correctly.)

    Some would also argue belief in the virgin birth is necessary because it makes Jesus divine. While I believe in the virgin birth, I’m not sure I would claim that belief was essential.

    Belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit would also be something many would say is essential. Consider Acts 19 for example.

    As you know I am opposed to the institutional church, but I also accept different definitions of Christians, since many people who don’t believe in the salvation and miraculous parts of the Bible still may choose to follow Christ’s teachings about morality. I wouldn’t extend Biblical salvation to them, but I would acknowledge their commitment to morality.

    Are the sacraments necessary for salvation? Not the sacraments as defined by the Catholic church. But is Passover required for salvation? I have never taught that, but John 6 seems to imply that–as well as the OT excommunication for those who chose not to celebrate.

    It’s tough to harmonize that belief with Romans 6:4, however, so I don’t think I have a solid answer there. (All scripture references subject to change if I realize later the reference was wrong. C’mon, you didn’t expect me to look them up, did ya? I’m tryin to work here!)

  2. Great post! The comment above does a great job of answering what you asked I think. I just wanted to add that I don’t think a church building (and you being it that building) has anything to do with being a Christian. The “church” is the body of Christ – the believers. Not the building. Honestly, so many churches today are doing such a poor job of following Scripture and teaching it’s truths to it’s members that I can understand why people are leaving (the buildings that is). That doesn’t make them any less a follower of Christ if they aren’t attending a church. I hope that makes sense and helps answer your question. 🙂

  3. I’ll just add… the virgin birth is significant not only because it evidences Christ’s divinity, but because it fulfilled Messianic prophecy. It pointed to the Son of Man as the Son of God. Of course, that was the reason it was prophesied/had to happen that way anyway. But just sayin’, if, for instance, someone believed we had a faithful record of Hebrew prophecy and no reason to believe this lil’ Jewish boy was born of a virgin, who cares if He grows up to be a wise teacher, and a martyr for the heart of Mosaic law? He’s not the Messiah unless He fulfills all those prophecies. So in that sense, I’d say it’s an important tenant. But the same would go for all the rest of the recorded fulfillments of those Messianic prophecies, so I guess I’ll just stick with the inspiration and preservation of Scripture as my cop-out general litmus test for orthodoxy. 🙂 (Yeah, I know, you’ve gotta break it down a little, too. This is just to get me out of a logical never-ending circle, hehe.)

  4. The virgin birth is prophesied in the sense that Isaiah mentions it, but it is a dual fulfillment prophesy. It was first fulfilled by the non-virgin birth via Isaiah’s wife and only later seen in the birth of Christ. The Hebrew can mean either “virgin” or “young woman.”

  5. Putting the essential doctrines on here was just to get our minds in line tog. to figure out the word heretic.
    i agree with whorechurch, bodily resurrection is a better term.
    i’m quite intrigued with the passover concept. since i think the last supper was the turning point for the passover, we (church)should indeed celebrate passover. and that said passover should look more like the last supper of the bible. or even the passover with the bitter herbs and such. (i dont agree with kevin about the getting drunk part, God is a God of order and we humans did get into trouble with that in, was it Corith?)and still do! 🙂

    The church over the centuries have taken worldly celebrations and incorporated them, (because we were too weak to be apart from the world, as to not draw attention to ourselves and then get martyred) but alas, my excuse, we live in a fallen world and even tho, i dont like it, it has happened.
    the mega churchs idea of easter sickens me, the easter bunny pictured with the open tomb, the football superstar going to his home church, that said church advertising ‘shawn alexander easter sunday’ in its ads.
    the eggs hunts and such. blech. same with christmas. blech.
    I really am glad our church does the basics and doesnt fall into the grip of the world.
    we have palm sunday service, good friday, easter service, read the holy week scriptures.
    at christmas, we have christmas morning service reading prophecy foretold and fulfulled of christs birth (christmas) and death (easter)
    our services are reverent.
    we do not celebrate halloween. we, on occasion have a reformation day party, but its mostly for fellowship, food and fun.

    personally, (if yall care) in our family.
    we don’t celebrate any of the holidays with much wordly stuff. early in my sons life we told him there was no such thing as santa, tooth fairy and easter bunny.
    every year we minimize more worldly stuff, focus on what God has done for us in our lives. its hard, because we still have to deal with the pagan relatives, and i often get hit with rebellion from the boys, but the world has a strong pull.
    thanks for listening, or reading, as the case may be.
    kristina

  6. Kris, I didn’t mean we SHOULD get drunk, only that Paul pointed out to the Corinthians that some did. I also agree we should recognize Jesus as the Lamb–not a typical Jewish Seder–and that the last of the four cups as well as the afikomen point to Christ’s blood and body.

    Later today if I have time I may write a post about Christian Passover, but we are pretty busy today preparing for the Passover.

    A interesting thing about Christian Passover:

    When the Jews were first given the Passover they were to take the lamb into their home and live with it four days before slaughtering it. I believe this is a picture of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

  7. Can you imagine, living with the one who is to be your atonement?
    Treating that one with love, care and feeding it, until the day you slit its throat open to die for your sins?
    blessings, Kristina

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