PDA

View Full Version : What are the essentials of Christianity?



Naphal
Nov 3rd 2007, 03:14 AM
"What are the essentials?" Here's how I've come to think about it. Draw a circle, put every core doctrine that is absolutely necessary for salvation inside the circle. Put all other doctrinal matters outside this circle. How many things are inside the circle?


What things must all Christians believe in and agree upon? Are there any of these essentials that you do not believe are essential and necessary?

I'll start with one:

Jesus Christ is God ie: part of the Godhead/Trinity and always was and always shall be.

Rand47
Nov 3rd 2007, 03:36 AM
Agreed...

And;

That Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross, in real space and time, is the only sufficient remedy possible for our sin, in order to make it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

Naphal
Nov 3rd 2007, 03:43 AM
Agreed...

And;

That Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross, in real space and time, is the only sufficient remedy possible for our sin, in order to make it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

Ok, let me ask you this:

What do you make of these verses?


James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Does God at times forgive someone of their sins by these righteous acts?

Rand47
Nov 3rd 2007, 01:22 PM
Ok, let me ask you this: . . .

Does God at times forgive someone of their sins by these righteous acts?

Do you think God does? Does he declare someone righteous, and in a right relationship with Him for eternity, apart from the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus?

If you do think so, how would you differ in postulating what I posited as an "essential" doctrine, above?

It would be instructive in that case, I think, to see the two concepts and their differences "side by side."

Let's do that.

Once we've done that, I'd be glad to comment on the verses cited above.

Naphal
Nov 3rd 2007, 06:10 PM
Do you think God does? Does he declare someone righteous, and in a right relationship with Him for eternity, apart from the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus?


I believe that God forgives sins from certain righteous acts as the verses show.


If you do think so, how would you differ in postulating what I posited as an "essential" doctrine, above?


I'd remove the parts saying it's the only way sin can be forgiven. Not to mention that Jesus forgave sins prior to his own death.


That Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross, in real space and time, enabled verbal repentance as a remedy for our sin to be forgiven, in order to make it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

Rand47
Nov 3rd 2007, 06:24 PM
I believe that God forgives sins from certain righteous acts as the verses show.




I'd remove the parts saying it's the only way sin can be forgiven. Not to mention that Jesus forgave sins prior to his own death.


That Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross, in real space and time, enabled verbal repentance as a remedy for our sin to be forgiven, in order to make it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

Excellent clarification. Thank you. For further clarification, what is it about us then, that needs reconciling with God? In my postulation the intent was to show that our "sin" is a manifestation of a fundamental flaw in us that makes it impossible to be reconciled to God on our own merits. Ergo, our "sins" are merely a manifestation of that flaw. Not that they are not serious and important in and of themselves, but that the represent our "having gone our own way" in rebellion to God, both individually and collectively.

And more speicifially, in your formulation, is the verbal repentance the remedy? Or a way of access "to the remedy?"

This is an excellent discussion, thanks.

Rand47
Nov 3rd 2007, 06:26 PM
I believe that God forgives sins from certain righteous acts as the verses show.




I'd remove the parts saying it's the only way sin can be forgiven. Not to mention that Jesus forgave sins prior to his own death.


That Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross, in real space and time, enabled verbal repentance as a remedy for our sin to be forgiven, in order to make it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

Excellent clarification. Thank you. For further clarification, what is it about us then, that needs reconciling with God? In my postulation the intent was to show that our "sin" is a manifestation of a fundamental flaw in us that makes it impossible to be reconciled to God on our own merits. Ergo, our "sins" are merely a manifestation of that flaw. Not that they are not serious and important in and of themselves, but that they represent our "having gone our own way" in rebellion to God, both individually and collectively.

And more specifically, in your formulation, is the verbal repentance itself the remedy? Or a way of access "to the remedy" found in Jesus' propitiatory sacrifice?

I appreciate the kind and clear way we're proceeding.

Frances
Nov 3rd 2007, 06:37 PM
What do you make of these verses?
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. ?
Those who lead someone who is subsequently converted to Christ ensures that soul is Saved and that person's Sins will be Forgiven.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
means - Demonstrate love for each other, because if you don't those who don't believe they are loved by other Christians my be led into Sin.

Does God at times forgive someone of their sins by these righteous acts?
No.
He only Forgives those Sins repented of, trusting in the Blood Jesus shed to enable God's Forgiveness, and trusting in His resurrection to enable Life without Sin.

Naphal
Nov 3rd 2007, 06:48 PM
Excellent clarification. Thank you. For further clarification, what is it about us then, that needs reconciling with God? In my postulation the intent was to show that our "sin" is a manifestation of a fundamental flaw in us that makes it impossible to be reconciled to God on our own merits.

I know that concept is fairly popular but I don't believe in it completely due to the verses I supplied that deal with God's grace to forgive/hide sins from very righteous acts. I suspect a person would receive this form of grace from true acts of righteousness done not with the intent of having sins forgiven but out of true desire to please God and help others. It is probably a rare case but I felt it needed mentioning.





Ergo, our "sins" are merely a manifestation of that flaw. Not that they are not serious and important in and of themselves, but that the represent our "having gone our own way" in rebellion to God, both individually and collectively.



I believe God has provided ways for us to deal with our "crimes". In the OT there was the sin offering for the forgiveness of sin but it was a ritual rather than a verbal repentance that could be done at any time so the ritual was replaced by a one time sacrifice. Now repenting is faster and easier making it simpler to receive that forgiveness.



And more speicifially, in your formulation, is the verbal repentance the remedy? Or a way of access "to the remedy?"

A way of access. We are confessing our sins and asking God to remove them from us. The cleansing then takes place after the repenting. Verbal repentance is asking for the remedy.



This is an excellent discussion, thanks.

Thank you as well.

Teke
Nov 3rd 2007, 06:52 PM
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (Šons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;

who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Naphal
Nov 3rd 2007, 07:00 PM
Those who lead someone who is subsequently converted to Christ ensures that soul is Saved and that person's Sins will be Forgiven.

The problem with that is that the person that helped the other convert to Christ is the subject of the verse so it is their sins which are removed because they led someone to Christ.



means - Demonstrate love for each other, because if you don't those who don't believe they are loved by other Christians my be led into Sin.

I believe it means what it says. Charity itself can hide a multitude of sins.





No.
He only Forgives those Sins repented of, trusting in the Blood Jesus shed to enable God's Forgiveness, and trusting in His resurrection to enable Life without Sin.


Repentance is the normal way sin is forgiven but it isn't the only way according to scripture. God also rewards forgiveness to those that demonstrate excellent Christian qualities such as charity, or when they convert someone to Christ.


It reminds me of when I took karate. There was the official way to go up in belt rank which was a strict and thorough test but another way was to perform at a high level in other aspects of one's life and activities. If the Sensei recognized that you were matured beyond your current belt rank he would promote you instantly.

Rand47
Nov 3rd 2007, 07:01 PM
I know that concept is fairly popular but I don't believe in it completely due to the verses I supplied that deal with God's grace to forgive/hide sins from very righteous acts. I suspect a person would receive this form of grace from true acts of righteousness done not with the intent of having sins forgiven but out of true desire to please God and help others. It is probably a rare case but I felt it needed mentioning.

OK, here's where it gets down to a potential real difference in our understanding of this "essential." I'll try to word this carefully. Could I take what you've said above as meaning that it is possible to be reconciled to God through our own righteous acts, apart from Jesus' propitiatory sacrifice? Even if the actual number of people having attained that possibility is exceedingly rare?

Naphal
Nov 3rd 2007, 07:19 PM
OK, here's where it gets down to a potential real difference in our understanding of this "essential." I'll try to word this carefully. Could I take what you've said above as meaning that it is possible to be reconciled to God through our own righteous acts, apart from Jesus' propitiatory sacrifice? Even if the actual number of people having attained that possibility is exceedingly rare?

I don't agree with the wording or the implication of being "reconciled to God". It only says a multitude of sins can be hidden from these acts. The person will still be a sinner and will still sin again and it could be that this grand act only occurred once which means they will need to repent and be cleansed by His blood in order to have their sins hidden again.

Rand47
Nov 3rd 2007, 07:59 PM
. . . which means they will need to repent and be cleansed by His blood in order to have their sins hidden again.
This is a productive clarification. So, let me put it this way and see if it works for you. I would take your understanding of the "covering a multitude of sins" passages, and their doctrinal implications, and put them outside of the circle of essential doctrine for salvation. And return to the point at which we started.

And then, in light of what you've said above say that "the essential" is the blood of Jesus cleansing us (that's what propitiation is - Romans 3:25) as a real event in space and time, that provides the way of salvation. "Salvation" being what I mean by "reconciled to God."

What you or I or anyone else believes about the James and other passages isn't "essential for salvation" in that case. Agreed?

I think (some semantics aside) that we're of the same position on this second essential. We might word it differently, because of our different life settings, but we both see the only way to salvation is through the shed blood of Jesus as the payment for our sin.

An alternative, and somewhat crude way for me to try to harmonize your posts might be to say, "While the 'covering of sins' passages might take care of some 'sins' they cannot and do not take care of all sin, and therefore cannot and could not secure salvation for me. Only the shed blood of Jesus does that." Yes?

Naphal
Nov 3rd 2007, 09:48 PM
This is a productive clarification. So, let me put it this way and see if it works for you. I would take your understanding of the "covering a multitude of sins" passages, and their doctrinal implications, and put them outside of the circle of essential doctrine for salvation. And return to the point at which we started.


Sure, that's a nice way about it. I think inside the circle should be that Jesus did die for our sins as the sacrificial Lamb and that gives him complete authority to forgive sins via our verbal/non verbal repentance. I also believe god can forgive sins without someone repenting but that's another side issue. "Forgive them they know not what they do" types of situations.


And then, in light of what you've said above say that "the essential" is the blood of Jesus cleansing us (that's what propitiation is - Romans 3:25) as a real event in space and time, that provides the way of salvation. "Salvation" being what I mean by "reconciled to God."

ok.



What you or I or anyone else believes about the James and other passages isn't "essential for salvation" in that case. Agreed?

Sure.


I think (some semantics aside) that we're of the same position on this second essential. We might word it differently, because of our different life settings, but we both see the only way to salvation is through the shed blood of Jesus as the payment for our sin.

Salvation is definitely only through Christ and one must have their sins forgiven before receiving salvation.





An alternative, and somewhat crude way for me to try to harmonize your posts might be to say, "While the 'covering of sins' passages might take care of some 'sins' they cannot and do not take care of all sin, and therefore cannot and could not secure salvation for me. Only the shed blood of Jesus does that." Yes?



Yep, well said.

Rand47
Nov 3rd 2007, 11:28 PM
Yep, well said.

Very good. So we now have two essentials that rightly belong inside the circle. And have clarified some peripheral things that don't belong inside the circle.

If I may use short-hand, we have thus far:

Our recognition of Jesus' Divinity
Our recognition of Jesus' Propitiatory Sacrifice (Am I safe in assuming we both agree on His bodily resurrection, in real space and time, as part of this?)What else should be inside the circle, as "essential" to salvation?

I'll posit another one: "My recognition and admission of true moral guilt before a Holy God, and my inability to bridge the gap this creates between me and God, in my own strength."

StevenC
Nov 3rd 2007, 11:33 PM
What things must all Christians believe in and agree upon? Are there any of these essentials that you do not believe are essential and necessary?

I'll start with one:

Jesus Christ is God ie: part of the Godhead/Trinity and always was and always shall be.

To believe and to follow Jesus Christ. That would include being obedient to his commandments. That's not entirely as simple though as we might initially think because not all of us agree on what his commandments are. For example some say that he commanded us to keep the Sabbath, others say it was simply Love the Lord God, and Love your neighbor as your self.

-Steven

Naphal
Nov 4th 2007, 07:45 AM
Very good. So we now have two essentials that rightly belong inside the circle. And have clarified some peripheral things that don't belong inside the circle.

If I may use short-hand, we have thus far:

Our recognition of Jesus' Divinity
Our recognition of Jesus' Propitiatory Sacrifice (Am I safe in assuming we both agree on His bodily resurrection, in real space and time, as part of this?)
Yes but I do think it should be a separate albeit related item.

Our recognition of Jesus' Divinity
Our recognition of Jesus' Propitiatory Sacrifice
His perfect, sinless life qualifying Him to be the above
His bodily resurrection, in real space and time








What else should be inside the circle, as "essential" to salvation?





I added one

I'll posit another one: "My recognition and admission of true moral guilt before a Holy God, and my inability to bridge the gap this creates between me and God, in my own strength."



I agree with the first half but have never been convinced that we have no ability in ourselves to come to God. I believe we are all certainly sinners and that we must admit and confess this to God in some form but the rest is a complex and difficult subject that isn't as clear IMO.

Naphal
Nov 4th 2007, 07:52 AM
To believe and to follow Jesus Christ. That would include being obedient to his commandments. That's not entirely as simple though as we might initially think because not all of us agree on what his commandments are. For example some say that he commanded us to keep the Sabbath, others say it was simply Love the Lord God, and Love your neighbor as your self.

-Steven

Since we are talking about essentials for salvation then I think we have to limit the commandments needed to be obeyed to receive eternal life to the ones Christ said are needed:


Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Matthew 19:18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Matthew 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Matthew 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

The commandments needed to be followed for eternal life:

1: Thou shalt do no murder
2: Thou shalt not commit adultery
3: Thou shalt not steal
4: Thou shalt not bear false witness,
5: Honour thy father and thy mother
6: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

And to be "perfect" one should "sell that thou hast, and give to the poor"

These are the salvational ones as given by Jesus Christ.

Rand47
Nov 6th 2007, 09:47 PM
[/list]Yes but I do think it should be a separate albeit related item.

Our recognition of Jesus' Divinity
Our recognition of Jesus' Propitiatory Sacrifice
His perfect, sinless life qualifying Him to be the above
His bodily resurrection, in real space and time

Yes, this is clearer this way.


(My original posit) I'll posit another one: "My recognition and admission of true moral guilt before a Holy God, and my inability to bridge the gap this creates between me and God, in my own strength." I agree with the first half but have never been convinced that we have no ability in ourselves to come to God. I believe we are all certainly sinners and that we must admit and confess this to God in some form but the rest is a complex and difficult subject that isn't as clear IMO.

I don't think I have a problem with this. As long as by "ability to come to God" you don't mean "be saved apart from Jesus' shed blood" -- but since we've already resolved that, I assume your comment is more about the definition of "total depravity" and what that means vs the various passages in scripture speaking to us to "draw near to God," etc. In that context, I'm probably a kindred spirit in the sense that I believe in "both" total depravity and our true volition to choose. So, in that context, the second half of my posit is constrained to the issue of "the ability to be saved by my own strength" and nothing more.

Seeker of truth
Nov 6th 2007, 10:04 PM
What things must all Christians believe in and agree upon? Are there any of these essentials that you do not believe are essential and necessary?

I'll start with one:

Jesus Christ is God ie: part of the Godhead/Trinity and always was and always shall be.

My signature line says what it takes to be a Christian :) It is both essential and necessary that one believe this in order to see the Kingdom of Heaven.

matthew94
Nov 6th 2007, 10:15 PM
My list of essentials is pretty simple:

To legitimately call yourself a Christian, you MUST believe...

1. God exists "anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists" Heb. 11:6
2. God cares "and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" Heb. 11:6
3. Jesus is who He claimed to be "if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins" John 8:24
~The Messiah (1 John 5:1)
~The Son of God (John 20:31)
~The Lord (Romans 10:9)
4. Jesus rose from the dead "believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" Romans 10:9
5. We access God through Jesus Christ "No man comes to the Father but through me" John 14:6

I am not prepared to exclude someone from fellowship based on anything beyond these 5. Even if someone is non-trinitarian, I simply think of the fact that the twelve disciples almost certainly had little to no concept of the trinity early on, but they were following Christ nonetheless. I would not exclude someone for having a different idea about HOW Christ saved us so long as they recognize that He is Lord. I would never divide with someone simply b/c they didn't believe the same as me about eschatology.

Rand47
Nov 6th 2007, 10:24 PM
My list of essentials is pretty simple:

To legitimately call yourself a Christian, you MUST believe...

1. God exists "anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists" Heb. 11:6
2. God cares "and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" Heb. 11:6
3. Jesus is who He claimed to be "if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins" John 8:24
~The Messiah (1 John 5:1)
~The Son of God (John 20:31)
~The Lord (Romans 10:9)
4. Jesus rose from the dead "believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" Romans 10:9
5. We access God through Jesus Christ "No man comes to the Father but through me" John 14:6

I am not prepared to exclude someone from fellowship based on anything beyond these 5. Even if someone is non-trinitarian, I simply think of the fact that the twelve disciples almost certainly had little to no concept of the trinity early on, but they were following Christ nonetheless. I would not exclude someone for having a different idea about HOW Christ saved us so long as they recognize that He is Lord. I would never divide with someone simply b/c they didn't believe the same as me about eschatology.
Hi,

Certainly eschatology is a good candidate for being "outside" the circle of that which is essential. I don't even think it comes very close to the line.

I think we might differ if we were to discuss what you mean by "a different idea about HOW Christ saved us," however. As in the difference between the concept of expiation versus propitiation. On the other hand, your statement "Christ saved us" is an important one, and "presumes" a few significant "essentials." Can you think what those might be?

Naphal
Nov 9th 2007, 03:41 AM
So, in that context, the second half of my posit is constrained to the issue of "the ability to be saved by my own strength" and nothing more.

Ok. I believe that we cannot save ourselves but that we can choose God and Jesus who can save us.

Naphal
Nov 9th 2007, 03:43 AM
My list of essentials is pretty simple:

To legitimately call yourself a Christian, you MUST believe...

1. God exists "anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists" Heb. 11:6
2. God cares "and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" Heb. 11:6
3. Jesus is who He claimed to be "if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins" John 8:24
~The Messiah (1 John 5:1)
~The Son of God (John 20:31)
~The Lord (Romans 10:9)
4. Jesus rose from the dead "believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" Romans 10:9
5. We access God through Jesus Christ "No man comes to the Father but through me" John 14:6

I am not prepared to exclude someone from fellowship based on anything beyond these 5. Even if someone is non-trinitarian, I simply think of the fact that the twelve disciples almost certainly had little to no concept of the trinity early on, but they were following Christ nonetheless. I would not exclude someone for having a different idea about HOW Christ saved us so long as they recognize that He is Lord. I would never divide with someone simply b/c they didn't believe the same as me about eschatology.

So you don't believe one has to believe Jesus is God to be a Christian?

matthew94
Nov 9th 2007, 06:31 AM
So you don't believe one has to believe Jesus is God to be a Christian?

No, I don't.

The Bible is very clear that Jesus is, uniquely, the Son of God. The Bible is only fairly clear that Jesus is God the Son. I highly doubt the disciples recognized Jesus as God in the 3+ plus years they followed Him around, but, in my opinion, they were true Christians the entire time. Many other people throughout history have struggled with whether Jesus' divinity and issues of the Trinity while still displaying their love for Christ and obedience to Him.

Of course, I believe Jesus IS God. And I believe anyone seeking truth is likely to discover that from Scripture, but seeking truth is a process. We don't start out with full knowledge. I'm prepared to fellowship with anyone who preaches that Jesus is the Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God, etc.

Naphal
Nov 9th 2007, 06:38 AM
No, I don't.

The Bible is very clear that Jesus is, uniquely, the Son of God. The Bible is only fairly clear that Jesus is God the Son.


Well I disagree there. It is just as clear on both issues.




I highly doubt the disciples recognized Jesus as God in the 3+ plus years they followed Him around, but, in my opinion, they were true Christians the entire time.



They all knew he was God. Thomas the "doubter" even knew it.




Many other people throughout history have struggled with whether Jesus' divinity and issues of the Trinity while still displaying their love for Christ and obedience to Him.

Of course, I believe Jesus IS God. And I believe anyone seeking truth is likely to discover that from Scripture, but seeking truth is a process. We don't start out with full knowledge. I'm prepared to fellowship with anyone who preaches that Jesus is the Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God, etc.



We can fellowship with anyone especially to preach the gospel to them. I am not certain a person can be a true Christian if they deny Jesus' divinity. How well can one know Jesus if they don't know that? The phrase "I never knew you" comes to mind. It's akin to someone believing everything about Jesus except that he rose from the dead. Sure, they believe in a lot of the core things but cannot one denial of something in this inner circle of definite's challenge their true belief or challenge whether they truly know Him?

matthew94
Nov 9th 2007, 06:51 AM
Well I disagree there. It is just as clear on both issues.

Yes, we do disagree! The Bible specifically says Jesus is the Son of God. It does not specifically say He is God the Son. No group claiming to be Christians has ever denied that Jesus is the Son of God. Many groups claiming to be Christians have struggled with whether Jesus is God the Son.


They all knew he was God. Thomas the "doubter" even knew it.

After 3+ years and a personal post-death appearance! This implies that Thomas did not really believe/know that He was God prior to this or else He wouldn't have been 'doubting' Thomas at all. What we can be sure of is the disciples came to believe Jesus was the Messiah. They came to believe He was the Son of God. They came to believe He was the Lord. But the early church struggled for centuries over exactly HOW Jesus relates to God.


We can fellowship with anyone especially to preach the gospel to them. I am not certain a person can be a true Christian if they deny Jesus' divinity. How well can one know Jesus if they don't know that? The phrase "I never knew you" comes to mind. It's akin to someone believing everything about Jesus except that he rose from the dead. Sure, they believe in a lot of the core things but cannot one denial of something in this inner circle of definite's challenge their true belief or challenge whether they truly know Him?

First of all, I was referring to fellowship as in counting them a brother/sister in Christ. Second, I'm not really talking about someone actively DENYING Jesus' divinity. I'm simply saying that some true Christians may not affirm Jesus' divinity out of ignorance, confusion, etc. In other words they may FOLLOW Jesus and consider Him the Messiah, Son of God & Lord while not grasping or being comfortable accepting that He is God the Son. The phrase "I never knew you" really doesn't apply since such people could have a personal relationship with Christ. It's not akin to denying the resurrection b/c that is absolutely clear from various Scriptures with no 'counter' Scriptures to cloud the issue.

Yes, one denial of an essential jeopardizes the whole, but I don't consider that in the inner circle. BUT I want to state again that I absolutely believe Jesus is God the Son. I'm just an advocate for ignorant and confused followers of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Naphal
Nov 9th 2007, 06:58 AM
Yes, we do disagree! The Bible specifically says Jesus is the Son of God. It does not specifically say He is God the Son.


This is part of what it says:


John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


I know many deny this verse and what it says but I do not.



After 3+ years and a personal post-death appearance! This implies that Thomas did not really believe/know that He was God prior to this or else He wouldn't have been 'doubting' Thomas at all.

Irrelevant. Thomas who is considered one of the weaker disciples knew this fact. When he knew it doesn't matter. I believe that if he knew it then all the others did as well.



Yes, one denial of an essential jeopardizes the whole, but I don't consider that in the inner circle. BUT I want to state again that I absolutely believe Jesus is God the Son. I'm just an advocate for ignorant and confused followers of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I am not God so I cannot say how denying, or being confused or being ignorant of Jesus being God may affect them but I believe it rightly belongs in this inner circle and should be taught without apology.

matthew94
Nov 9th 2007, 07:19 AM
First of all, I will state again that I agree that Jesus is God. So quoting verses that we both accept and agree about isn't really necessary. Further, I believe everyone that truly studies that verse and seeks the truth of it will accept what it is clearly saying.

Second, I think the WHEN of Thomas's declaration is VERY relevant and important. Do you think Thomas was a genuine follower of Christ prior to that statement? I do. But He was in a process of grasping who Jesus truly was. Similarly, many people are in a process today. They are following Jesus each day, and they are getting closer and closer to realizing Who He is. But they might not have arrived, yet, at the conclusion that He is God.

Thirdly, I think it should be taught without apology too. But many people haven't heard it preached without apology. And many people are confused by it when they do hear it preached. I'm simply saying that they still might be genuine followers of Jesus Christ.

My list of 5 excludes atheists, full-deists, Anyone taking the non-"Lord" option in CS Lewis's legend/lunatic/liar/Lord question, and anyone denying the physical resurrection (even including 'liberal' 'Christians' who do so).

Naphal
Nov 9th 2007, 07:28 AM
First of all, I will state again that I agree that Jesus is God. So quoting verses that we both accept and agree about isn't really necessary. Further, I believe everyone that truly studies that verse and seeks the truth of it will accept what it is clearly saying.

Well you showed some doubt as to just how clear the bible is about Jesus being God so I wanted to quote at least one verse which makes it crystal clear. I am glad that you agree he is God. I wish you would speak more convincing and positive of it's evidence in scripture.

As you know, even his enemies realized that he was equating himself with God by his many statements and teachings so I don't believe it is in doubt that he taught he was God.



Second, I think the WHEN of Thomas's declaration is VERY relevant and important. Do you think Thomas was a genuine follower of Christ prior to that statement? I do. But He was in a process of grasping who Jesus truly was.

We don't really know that. He merely did not believe the verbal reports that Jesus had risen. This doesn't equal that he didn't believe Jesus was God or that he didn't have such power nor does it show he was having issues grasping who he was.




Similarly, many people are in a process today. They are following Jesus each day, and they are getting closer and closer to realizing Who He is. But they might not have arrived, yet, at the conclusion that He is God.

I believe one key thing is for people like you and I to teach that he is God with authority and not in any weakness so there will be less doubt and slowness in one understanding and accepting it. Then the above situation will be a more rare one.




Thirdly, I think it should be taught without apology too. But many people haven't heard it preached without apology. And many people are confused by it when they do hear it preached. I'm simply saying that they still might be genuine followers of Jesus Christ.

I fault no one for trying the best they can. But, I believe it is just as crucial to believe Jesus is God as it is to believe that he is the Son of God, that is, Son of God the Father.

So I vote that it is inner circle.

jeffweeder
Nov 9th 2007, 09:19 AM
What is essential to Christianity?

Believing that Jesus is the EXACT representation of the father, and if youve seen Jesus you have seen the Father.