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What are the essentials of Christianity?

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  • What are the essentials of Christianity?

    "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.
    1Peter 3:15
    (BBE) But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride;

  • #2
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Rand47 View Post
      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?
      1Peter 3:15
      (BBE) But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride;

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Naphal View Post
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rand47 View Post
          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.
          1Peter 3:15
          (BBE) But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride;

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Naphal View Post
            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.
            Last edited by Rand47; Nov 3rd 2007, 06:42 PM. Reason: For some reason, the further edits (for clarification) I did to this post appear as a duplicate post below... sorry.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Naphal View Post
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Naphal View Post
                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.
                Originally posted by Naphal View Post
                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.
                Originally posted by Naphal View Post
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rand47 View Post
                  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.
                  1Peter 3:15
                  (BBE) But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride;

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    essentials foundation

                    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 (æons), 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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Frances View Post
                      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.


                      1Peter 3:15
                      (BBE) But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride;

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Naphal View Post
                        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?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rand47 View Post
                          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.
                          1Peter 3:15
                          (BBE) But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride;

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Naphal View Post
                            . . . 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?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rand47 View Post
                              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.
                              1Peter 3:15
                              (BBE) But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride;

                              Comment

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