What Is Essential Biblical Doctrine?
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 3:00am
is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, for training in righteousness;" (2
We hear a
lot of discussion about essentials and non-essentials, but what are the
essentials of 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.
We believe that
. . .
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. The Holy Scriptures, comprised of Old and New Testaments, are
fully and verbally inspired by God and are therefore infallible in
the original writings and completely trustworthy in all areas in
which they speak. Their central salvation message and essential
teachings are clear and
accessible to all who follow the standard and self-evident rules of
literary interpretation. They are therefore the supreme,
unmediated, and final authority of faith and practice for every
Next we affirm the existence of a
triune God as one God in three distinct persons - the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit.
There is only one eternal,
almighty and perfect God.
This God is self-existent, eternal,
unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy, righteous, and loving.
God created the universe from nothing and He rules over His creation
sovereignly including both human and angelic beings.
Jesus Christ is the
eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. By
God's grace, Jesus Christ - Who is fully God and fully man - was
sent to save us from our bondage to sin. God took upon Himself
human flesh through the miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit in
the womb of the Virgin Mary. He who is true God became true man,
uniting two natures in one person forever. Christ lived a perfect,
sinless life, died on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our
sins, rose physically (bodily) from the dead, and ascended into
Heaven where He now serves as our High Priest, our only Mediator. He
will one day return bodily and visibly to the earth as King of kings
and will judge the world and deliver His people.
The Holy Spirit is the
eternal Third Person of the Triune God, the Regenerator
and Sanctifier of the redeemed, the Bestower of spiritual fruit and
gifts, and the abiding Advocate who empowers believers for godly
living and service.
We also hold
man is a physical and
spiritual being, and that
in Adam human beings were
created in the image of God (i.e., they share in a finite
way the communicable attributes of God, including personality,
spirituality, rationality, and morality). Through the fall of Adam
that image of God in humanity has been defiled, although not
eradicated. 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, suffering, and
death. Every human being is radically corrupt and estranged from
God. Human beings are condemned by God because of their descent into
sin, both through their relationship to Adam and through individual
choice. The desperate
need of humanity is forgiveness of sins and consequent restoration
of fellowship with God; yet humans remain totally unable to atone
for and restore themselves.
Jesus' death on the cross
provided a penal substitutionary atonement for the sins of
humanity. In salvation we
are rescued from God's wrath by His
alone, through faith
alone, on account of Christ
alone. Faith in Christ
is the only means by
which mankind can escape eternal damnation and judgment.
Those who have received
the free gift of salvation will be raised from the dead
or raptured (snatched up from their earthly lives) to meet Christ at
His Second Coming, and their bodies will be transformed like unto
His glorious, immortal body. They will
live forever in the
fellowship and Kingdom of God in a new heaven and a new earth.
Eternal, conscious punishment apart from the fellowship and Kingdom
of God (hell) is the ultimate destiny of unredeemed humanity, Satan,
and his entire angelic host.
recognize the Christian
church as God's ordained institution headed by Christ.
The Church, which is the
body and bride of Christ, is
composed of all believers
who through saving faith in Jesus Christ (2nd Person of the One
Triune God) have been regenerated (Born Again) by the Holy Spirit
(Third Person of the Trinity). Corporately and
individually, its members strive to worship, fellowship, serve, and
glorify God through prayer and praise,
diligent study and
application of the Scriptures, evangelism, sanctified living,
good works, and administration of the sacraments (observance of the
rites of baptism and the Lord's Supper). The ultimate mission of the
church is the for spiritual growth and support, and for evangelizing
the world, and discipleship of all nations - not only the
saving of souls (which is
primary) but also the bringing of the gospel to bear on every
aspect of life and thought - until the Lord returns.
Adapted from two articles (CP0700
& "Our Beliefs") on the
Christian Research Institute
site. ... phh
beyond proof is faith. Belief in spite of proof is folly.
or email me if you have questions.