WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH?
The great St. Augustine famously wrote, “In essentials—unity; in nonessentials—liberty; and in all things—charity.”
It’s important that Christians stay united on the essentials. But before we agree on the essentials—we must first know what they are. This may seem elementary to some, but I assure you, I’ve run into a fair amount of “long standing” Christians who had not a clue. I remember asking a group of Christians if they could rattle off ten essentials of the Christian Faith. After receiving nothing but blank stares, I proceeded to ask if they could give me five. Several came up to me afterward asking for a list of the essential doctrines of Christianity. It’s refreshing to see Christians wanting to grow, but some of these truths should have already been well planted in most Christian believers.
Listed below are six “essential” doctrines (set beliefs) of Christianity that are of utmost importance. These doctrines are foundational to Christianity, and thus, cannot be compromised or denied.
TOP SIX DOCTRINES
- THE UNITY OF THE GODHEAD – There is one God (Deut. 6:4) who eternally exists in three co-equal persons: Father (Eph. 4:6), Son (Jn. 10:30-33), and the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17).
- SIN – Adam and Eve were created perfect, yet through the temptation of Satan, freely disobeyed God, and as a result, transmitted sin and death (physical, spiritual and eternal) upon the entire human race. Thus, we are all born with a propensity to sin and the necessity to die (Gen. 3; 6:5; 3:9-23; 5:12).
- JESUS CHRIST – Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity, the Eternal Word manifested in the flesh (Jn. 1:1-14), true God (Dan. 7:13-14) and true man (Lk. 2), having two distinct natures co–joined in one Person (Phil. 2:5-11). Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary (Gal. 4:4), lived a sinless life (2 Cor. 5:21), died on the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sins (1 Pet. 2:21-25), arose bodily again on the third day (Ac. 2:32), ascended to heaven to be at the right hand of God as Intercessor and Advocate (Heb. 7:24-25), and will soon return bodily to judge the living and the dead, and will reign victorious forever and ever (Rev. 22:12, 13).
- SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH – Salvation is a free gift of God that comes only by the necessity of God’s grace (Rom. 9:16) through faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9) in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, apart from all good works (Tit. 3:5-6). Thereby, being regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Tit. 3:7), justified once and for all (Rom. 3:23-26), and redeemed as a child of God (Rom. 8:14), the believer has the assurance of eternal security in Christ (Rom. 8:26-39).
- AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE – The holy Scriptures (sixty-six books) are verbally inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16), infallible (Jn. 10:35), and inerrant in the original text (2 Pet. 1:20-21), and that they alone are the supreme and final authority which is sufficient for faith and practice (Ps. 19:7-11).
- SECOND COMING OF CHRIST – Just as Christ physically came into the world and departed (Ac. 1:9-10), so shall He return in bodily form (Matt. 24:30) to rule and reign for all eternity (Rev. 22). There will be the resurrection of the saved (Col. 3:3-4) and the conscious and eternal damnation of the lost in hell (Rev. 20:11-15).