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Our Christian Faith
What Is Essential Biblical Doctrine?
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 3:00am

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"  (2 Timothy 3:16)

Essential Christianity. 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 . . .

  1. 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 livesThe 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 believer."
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 unmerited grace 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Finally, we 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


Belief beyond proof is faith. Belief in spite of proof is folly.

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Amen.

Pete, Sr.

 

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