In the last blog, we asked how we decide what our core Christian beliefs are. Of course, they come from the Bible but the problem is that there are all manner of interpretations of the Bible and there are all manner of ideas concerning which Biblical teaching is a core belief. However, I believe there are a few principles upon which all Christians should agree.
First, we should consider the earliest Christian creeds as the most authoritative. These creeds were developed closer to the time of Jesus and have had less of a chance for erroneous and/or nonessential ideas to infiltrate. As we mentioned last week, the earlier creeds are much simpler than the later. If the writers of the early creeds did not consider a particular Biblical teaching to be a core belief, why did the writers of the later creeds?
Second, Paul tells us Jesus’ death and resurrection for our sins is the gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-7). This is the main reason why Jesus came to this earth; it was not to teach us about the Trinity or baptism. Jesus’ death and resurrection for our sins must be a central part of our faith.
Third, Christianity is about Jesus. Much of Jesus’ teachings involve our actions and the person we become (Matthew 13:41-50, Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 18:18-30, John 5:27-29, John 12:44-50) so our core beliefs must address our actions as well as our beliefs.
Taking the above three principles, I believe our core beliefs should include: Belief in God, Jesus and his death and resurrection for our sins, the Holy Spirit, the universal Church, our eternal existence, and our judgment by Jesus. These tenants clearly follow the early Christian creeds. The only thing I would add concerns our judgment by Jesus—we will be judged according to our actions and the person we become not just our beliefs.