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Give us your absolute bottom-line Christian essentials

R

Runner

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#1
A couple of recent threads got me to thinking: Putting aside all of the various creeds, confessions and statements of faith for the moment, what are the absolute bottom-line Christian essentials? How simple could someone’s theology be and still qualify as Christian?

When I was with Campus Crusade for Christ almost 50 years ago, we won souls (or at least thought we did) with the Four Spiritual Laws:
  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
A mere 77 words, but you will find even these criticized on the Internet as “terribly flawed,” “unbiblical” and “human trickery.”

Perhaps my own 110 words:
  1. You are a created being in a created universe, wholly dependent on the creator God.
  2. God is perfectly holy, just and loving.
  3. You and other humans have breached your relationship with God through disobedience and unrighteousness.
  4. You cannot repair the breach through your own efforts.
  5. God offers forgiveness and reconciliation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
  6. You can receive forgiveness and participate in the reconciliation by acknowledging and repenting of your disobedience and unrighteousness, prayerfully accepting God’s offer of forgiveness, asking the Holy Spirit to transform your life, being baptized, and prayerfully doing your best to follow the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the four gospels.
What if the above was someone’s entire theology? His entire Christian life was those 110 words and doing or at least sincerely attempting to do what they describe. Would he (or she) be a Christian?

The above says nothing about the inerrancy of the Bible, Adam and Eve, predestination, the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, the doctrine of Hell, or other doctrines that Christians love to wrangle over. Depending on one’s view of the Bible and how one interprets the biblical passages, perhaps there is a “probably correct” or even “clearly correct” position on most of those doctrines. Perhaps it is even important to be able to articulate a personal creed. But are any of them absolute bottom-line Christian essentials?
 
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#2
A couple of recent threads got me to thinking: Putting aside all of the various creeds, confessions and statements of faith for the moment, what are the absolute bottom-line Christian essentials? How simple could someone’s theology be and still qualify as Christian?

When I was with Campus Crusade for Christ almost 50 years ago, we won souls (or at least thought we did) with the Four Spiritual Laws:
  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
A mere 77 words, but you will find even these criticized on the Internet as “terribly flawed,” “unbiblical” and “human trickery.”

Perhaps my own 110 words:
  1. You are a created being in a created universe, wholly dependent on the creator God.
  2. God is perfectly holy, just and loving.
  3. You and other humans have breached your relationship with God through disobedience and unrighteousness.
  4. You cannot repair the breach through your own efforts.
  5. God offers forgiveness and reconciliation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
  6. You can receive forgiveness and participate in the reconciliation by acknowledging and repenting of your disobedience and unrighteousness, prayerfully accepting God’s offer of forgiveness, asking the Holy Spirit to transform your life, being baptized, and prayerfully doing your best to follow the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the four gospels.
What if the above was someone’s entire theology? His entire Christian life was those 110 words and doing or at least sincerely attempting to do what they describe. Would he (or she) be a Christian?

The above says nothing about the inerrancy of the Bible, Adam and Eve, predestination, the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, the doctrine of Hell, or other doctrines that Christians love to wrangle over. Depending on one’s view of the Bible and how one interprets the biblical passages, perhaps there is a “probably correct” or even “clearly correct” position on most of those doctrines. Perhaps it is even important to be able to articulate a personal creed. But are any of them absolute bottom-line Christian essentials?
I will answer and inquire as well in accordance with what you would encounter presenting the Gospel to a millennial:

Perhaps my own 110 words: (in brown is our example millennial hipster) (once again the comments below are what you could encounter with a hipster millennial)
  1. You are a created being in a created universe, wholly dependent on the creator God.: Ok I'm tracking, this uncreated Creator made everything and we are all subject to the Creator's sovereign design. Ok, I'm tracking this is interesting.
  2. God is perfectly holy, just and loving. Who says? Didn't God kill a bunch of innocent people in Palestine just to give it to Jews with that Joshua guy? How is genocide just? Plus the Bible you just handed me says God is "Holy Holy Holy" that's three times it says that in your own Bible in Isaiah 6:3. Does this have anything to do with the Trinity that Lutheran guy in our Biology class was yapping about a few days ago?
  3. You and other humans have breached your relationship with God through disobedience and unrighteousness. Ok that sounds kind of judgmentally and all. I'm a good person and never hurt a fly. I'm vegan too. I saw you eat a hamburger yesterday. How have "I" breached a relationship with God through disobedience and unrighteousness? Do you have something in the Bible you can prove this to me with?
  4. You cannot repair the breach through your own efforts. Who says? There's this Wesleyan dude in my Astrophysics class who says salvation is all on me I just need to reach out and grab it. Plus not understanding what repairing the 'breach' again. I'm a good person. You would have to compare me to someone really good to prove I'm not good enough. I'm relatively good dude.
  5. God offers forgiveness and reconciliation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Is Jesus God? Because I heard only God can forgive sins and stuff. Why did God have to do such horrible things to his own son to 'save' horrible sinful people? Plus what's your evidence that Jesus rose from the dead? I mean, look at my t-shirt...It says "Jesus is my life coach." That's the real Jesus dude, get on board.
  6. You can receive forgiveness and participate in the reconciliation by acknowledging and repenting of your disobedience and unrighteousness, prayerfully accepting God’s offer of forgiveness, asking the Holy Spirit to transform your life, being baptized, and prayerfully doing your best to follow the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the four gospels. Ok, you will have to answer my previous questions before I can address all this judgmentally stuff you just threw at me. Plus, I'm confused you mentioned God. Is that like the Father as in the Our Father prayer the Lutheran dude keeps talking about? Then you mentioned Jesus. Now the Holy Spirit. Dude are we talking about the Trinity again?
 
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#3
LOL.

As secularization progresses, somehow people have this crazy idea that people are inherently "good," at least...under most circumstances. Maybe that's just human nature, 21st century edition? I dunno. I also read that modern man is more "therapeutic" in his/their/our approach to life. People have "problems" and "issues" to be "resolved," not sins to be forgiven. Again; I think it goes along with secularization, and what Weber (this is what little I remember from Sociology, btw..) referred to as "disenchantment of the world." Basically, along with the growth in bona fide, genuine science--physics, medicine, etc.--you have a secularization process going on in which people prefer to believe semi-scientific factoids to anything remotely supernatural or miraculous. Let's say...someone with stage IV cancer wakes up healthy, rosy cheeked, and gets on with things, no treatment. Christians will say "miracle!," but a growing % of people will just say..."freak!"

I think the 4 spiritual laws are solid, although I've seen a good bit of online criticisms, even (I think...) an "expose" of the whole organization. That's one --big-- problem with (Protestant) Christianity; people get too much exposure, they get "exposed," plus...we really do seem to shoot our wounded, no lie.

((Rambling)) I think Runner's 110 word summary of The Christian Faith is solid, although Pegasus' post made me realize...more and more, Jesus is "rubbing people the wrong way" in modern culture. I don't know any of any way to effectively win anybody to Christ, honestly. Speak the truth in love...always a good start, I suppose.
 
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#4
LOL.

As secularization progresses, somehow people have this crazy idea that people are inherently "good," at least...under most circumstances. Maybe that's just human nature, 21st century edition? I dunno. I also read that modern man is more "therapeutic" in his/their/our approach to life. People have "problems" and "issues" to be "resolved," not sins to be forgiven. Again; I think it goes along with secularization, and what Weber (this is what little I remember from Sociology, btw..) referred to as "disenchantment of the world." Basically, along with the growth in bona fide, genuine science--physics, medicine, etc.--you have a secularization process going on in which people prefer to believe semi-scientific factoids to anything remotely supernatural or miraculous. Let's say...someone with stage IV cancer wakes up healthy, rosy cheeked, and gets on with things, no treatment. Christians will say "miracle!," but a growing % of people will just say..."freak!"

I think the 4 spiritual laws are solid, although I've seen a good bit of online criticisms, even (I think...) an "expose" of the whole organization. That's one --big-- problem with (Protestant) Christianity; people get too much exposure, they get "exposed," plus...we really do seem to shoot our wounded, no lie.

((Rambling)) I think Runner's 110 word summary of The Christian Faith is solid, although Pegasus' post made me realize...more and more, Jesus is "rubbing people the wrong way" in modern culture. I don't know any of any way to effectively win anybody to Christ, honestly. Speak the truth in love...always a good start, I suppose.
I'm glad you responded. Your testimony alone is proof of how Christ transforms and heals our lives. He is the Only One who can pick up our broken pieces and put them back together again. That I think is the approach to a broken and suffering generation which has lost hope.

The first conversation should be "where do you derive or get your hope?" From there using the Holy Words of Christ and His written word the Bible presents the Only Way for a broken life to be healed.

Jesus is the same yesterday and today right? Of course since He healed people on the spot of disease and heart ache and sin He can do so today.

I think that is the bottom line approach to take with a generation given to relativism.

Scholar, poet, film producer, and apologist Francis Schaeffer used a similar approach towards evangelizing the rich and powerful during the Counterculture years. He admitted that to their intelligent rational minds the Gospel may not be the 'best answer.' However, he told them 'it is the only answer' to what ails them.

And I think you can even discuss 'hell' or eternal damnation with this generation. Most are suffering from something physical, emotional or mental or all of the above. In a way a lot of the young and old in this generation are in a 'hell of their own.' They understand what long-term suffering really is, and when one shows them the truth of such for eternity, they stop looking at death as an escape.
 
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#5
wise words (well-written, too).

as The Lord has moved in my life, I've gotten somewhat better at articulating what I believe to people. Sometimes, though...whoa! The most "tolerant" and "progressive" friends of mine...turned out to be anything --but-- tolerant, once I got (genuinely, miraculously) saved. Weird. Well...maybe not, actually.

I dunno. I recall reading at a number of places...CS Lewis' work being one of them (of course...) that Christianity and the Christian Worldview don't fit nicely in worldly, secular systems. The Truth tends to offend people, anyway, and Christianity is...distinctly, undeniably...other-worldly...so, I think that's part of the conflict.
 
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#6
A couple of recent threads got me to thinking: Putting aside all of the various creeds, confessions and statements of faith for the moment, what are the absolute bottom-line Christian essentials? How simple could someone’s theology be and still qualify as Christian?

When I was with Campus Crusade for Christ almost 50 years ago, we won souls (or at least thought we did) with the Four Spiritual Laws:
  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
A mere 77 words, but you will find even these criticized on the Internet as “terribly flawed,” “unbiblical” and “human trickery.”

Perhaps my own 110 words:
  1. You are a created being in a created universe, wholly dependent on the creator God.
  2. God is perfectly holy, just and loving.
  3. You and other humans have breached your relationship with God through disobedience and unrighteousness.
  4. You cannot repair the breach through your own efforts.
  5. God offers forgiveness and reconciliation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
  6. You can receive forgiveness and participate in the reconciliation by acknowledging and repenting of your disobedience and unrighteousness, prayerfully accepting God’s offer of forgiveness, asking the Holy Spirit to transform your life, being baptized, and prayerfully doing your best to follow the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the four gospels.
What if the above was someone’s entire theology? His entire Christian life was those 110 words and doing or at least sincerely attempting to do what they describe. Would he (or she) be a Christian?

The above says nothing about the inerrancy of the Bible, Adam and Eve, predestination, the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, the doctrine of Hell, or other doctrines that Christians love to wrangle over. Depending on one’s view of the Bible and how one interprets the biblical passages, perhaps there is a “probably correct” or even “clearly correct” position on most of those doctrines. Perhaps it is even important to be able to articulate a personal creed. But are any of them absolute bottom-line Christian essentials?
Our understanding of the gospel must not be based upon the doctrines of the false teachers in the Christian church. This type of worship is considered to be vanity and is deceitful (Mat 15:8-9, John 4:24).

1 Cor 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

True joy, wisdom, and power only come from a Spirit filled relationship when Jesus dwells within us.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Our faith must not be based upon the wisdom of men, but in the mighty works of God (1 Cor 2:5).

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
 
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#7
The truth, is one of the fruits or byproducts of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, and it is an essential piece of armor that protects us from the devil (Eph 5:9, 6:14).

2 Tim 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The reason so few come to the knowledge of the truth, is because they are under the control of false teachers. These more often than naught never graduate and partake in the ministry of serving Christ. This represents one of the greatest crimes ever committed within the walls of Christianity. This is similar to aiming for a degree in a certain field, without ever being able to leave the classroom, because the necessary skills are never obtained.

We are not to depend on the teachings of man for our answers. We all should be able to give an answer, to everyone that asks, for the reason of the hope of Christ that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).

Those who are truly living for Jesus have the mind of Christ
Those who are Sealed with the Holy Spirit of truth have the mind of Christ. It is the Spirit of Christ that produces a true faith, and a sure hope of righteousness that can be received by those who endure unto the end (Gal 5:5, 1 Thes 5:8, 1 Pet 1:3, Mat 24:13, 1 Cor 2:16, 2 Cor 1:22, Eph 4:30, John 16:13).

Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive

It is a great tragedy to never experience the true indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and yet claim to be born again without any evidence that this transformation has taken place.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Rom 8:8-9 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The ability to truly understand Christ and His life changing testimony is impossible without His Spirit. Also, we are not automatically born again by means of a profession of belief without the ability to truly follow, that only comes through Jesus Christ. Reciting statements of faith without the indwelling of Christ's Holy Spirit that enables this transformation process, is simply an empty formula of words without substance. This is a false promise that false teachers tell their congregations, and it leads to death and destruction (John 15:26; 16:13; Eph 1:13).
 
R

Runner

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#8
I will answer and inquire as well in accordance with what you would encounter presenting the Gospel to a millennial:

Perhaps my own 110 words: (in brown is our example millennial hipster) (once again the comments below are what you could encounter with a hipster millennial)
All very true. However, those are more thoughtful responses than we tended to encounter when going door-to-door in college dorms and fraternity houses with the Four Spiritual Laws in 1970, so perhaps that says something positive about the younger generations.

I may have created confusion by quoting the Four Spiritual Laws. The point of my OP is not, "How would you present the Christian message to an unbeliever?"

The point was, "What would you consider the minimal theology to regard someone as a Christian brother or sister?"

What if someone sincerely believes and puts into practice my 110 words but says, "Eh, I read the gospels because they are the only historical record we have of Jesus, but I don't think the Bible is any more inspired than War and Peace. Eh, I don't worry about the Virgin Birth one way or the other, but it seems like a pretty obvious legend. Eh, I just lead my Christian life and don't worry about any of the details beyond the 110 words."

Is this person a Christian? We might agree that he "should" have a higher regard for the Bible or the Virgin Birth, but are these essential to being a Christian? If you don't think believing and living the 110 words makes him a Christian brother, what essentials is he missing?
 
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#9
1) Love your neighbor. (Even your enemy)
2) Love God.
3) Know that God loves you.
4) God sent Jesus so that we can be reconciled with Him.
5) Jesus rose from death, promising that those who believe on Him will also rise to eternal life.
6) Have hope, and have faith. In both Jesus, and in God.
 
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#10
Life is short
Soon will pass
Only what's done for Christ will last.
--------
1.) God
2.) Family
3.) Bible
4.) Serve
-----------------
Always be ready to preach, pray, or die.
 
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#11
A couple of recent threads got me to thinking: Putting aside all of the various creeds, confessions and statements of faith for the moment, what are the absolute bottom-line Christian essentials? How simple could someone’s theology be and still qualify as Christian?

When I was with Campus Crusade for Christ almost 50 years ago, we won souls (or at least thought we did) with the Four Spiritual Laws:
  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
A mere 77 words, but you will find even these criticized on the Internet as “terribly flawed,” “unbiblical” and “human trickery.”

Perhaps my own 110 words:
  1. You are a created being in a created universe, wholly dependent on the creator God.
  2. God is perfectly holy, just and loving.
  3. You and other humans have breached your relationship with God through disobedience and unrighteousness.
  4. You cannot repair the breach through your own efforts.
  5. God offers forgiveness and reconciliation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
  6. You can receive forgiveness and participate in the reconciliation by acknowledging and repenting of your disobedience and unrighteousness, prayerfully accepting God’s offer of forgiveness, asking the Holy Spirit to transform your life, being baptized, and prayerfully doing your best to follow the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the four gospels.
What if the above was someone’s entire theology? His entire Christian life was those 110 words and doing or at least sincerely attempting to do what they describe. Would he (or she) be a Christian?

The above says nothing about the inerrancy of the Bible, Adam and Eve, predestination, the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, the doctrine of Hell, or other doctrines that Christians love to wrangle over. Depending on one’s view of the Bible and how one interprets the biblical passages, perhaps there is a “probably correct” or even “clearly correct” position on most of those doctrines. Perhaps it is even important to be able to articulate a personal creed. But are any of them absolute bottom-line Christian essentials?
I agree with your thinking.

What's missing for me is the resurrection.
If Jesus was not resurrected, it would create a problem for me.
A big problem.

It would mean that he was a man, like Buddha or Krishna.
And, it would mean that the Apostles lied to us.

It might even affect my belief in God Father.
Not sure about this though...

I am sure about what I said regarding the resurrection.
 
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#12
A couple of recent threads got me to thinking: Putting aside all of the various creeds, confessions and statements of faith for the moment, what are the absolute bottom-line Christian essentials? How simple could someone’s theology be and still qualify as Christian?

When I was with Campus Crusade for Christ almost 50 years ago, we won souls (or at least thought we did) with the Four Spiritual Laws:
  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
A mere 77 words, but you will find even these criticized on the Internet as “terribly flawed,” “unbiblical” and “human trickery.”

Perhaps my own 110 words:
  1. You are a created being in a created universe, wholly dependent on the creator God.
  2. God is perfectly holy, just and loving.
  3. You and other humans have breached your relationship with God through disobedience and unrighteousness.
  4. You cannot repair the breach through your own efforts.
  5. God offers forgiveness and reconciliation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
  6. You can receive forgiveness and participate in the reconciliation by acknowledging and repenting of your disobedience and unrighteousness, prayerfully accepting God’s offer of forgiveness, asking the Holy Spirit to transform your life, being baptized, and prayerfully doing your best to follow the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the four gospels.
What if the above was someone’s entire theology? His entire Christian life was those 110 words and doing or at least sincerely attempting to do what they describe. Would he (or she) be a Christian?

The above says nothing about the inerrancy of the Bible, Adam and Eve, predestination, the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, the doctrine of Hell, or other doctrines that Christians love to wrangle over. Depending on one’s view of the Bible and how one interprets the biblical passages, perhaps there is a “probably correct” or even “clearly correct” position on most of those doctrines. Perhaps it is even important to be able to articulate a personal creed. But are any of them absolute bottom-line Christian essentials?
ooops.
You DID mention the resurrection!

So I'm good with what you stated.
 
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#13
All very true. However, those are more thoughtful responses than we tended to encounter when going door-to-door in college dorms and fraternity houses with the Four Spiritual Laws in 1970, so perhaps that says something positive about the younger generations.

I may have created confusion by quoting the Four Spiritual Laws. The point of my OP is not, "How would you present the Christian message to an unbeliever?"

The point was, "What would you consider the minimal theology to regard someone as a Christian brother or sister?"

What if someone sincerely believes and puts into practice my 110 words but says, "Eh, I read the gospels because they are the only historical record we have of Jesus, but I don't think the Bible is any more inspired than War and Peace. Eh, I don't worry about the Virgin Birth one way or the other, but it seems like a pretty obvious legend. Eh, I just lead my Christian life and don't worry about any of the details beyond the 110 words."

Is this person a Christian? We might agree that he "should" have a higher regard for the Bible or the Virgin Birth, but are these essential to being a Christian? If you don't think believing and living the 110 words makes him a Christian brother, what essentials is he missing?
You do cover the essentials for the basic Christian faith. I would say some of the more advanced theological positions you present one should pick up during discipleship training. In fact many churches cover such in catechumen training before baptism.
 
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#14
This is my personal high five:
  1. I believe in the eternal God, the Father, the Creator of all things.
  2. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that the only way to the Father is through Him.
  3. I repent all sins past and wish to sin no more, though being human will probably fall again at which time I will repent some more.
  4. I forgive those who have sinned against me, in the understanding that if I do not forgive others, God cannot forgive me.
  5. I will spread the Good News, evangelism being a requirement, not an option. Those souls lost short of sermon will be held to my account.
 
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#15
It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yee-hai! (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
 
R

Runner

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#16
ooops.
You DID mention the resurrection!

So I'm good with what you stated.
The resurrection is a good example. It is very difficult for me to consider someone a Christian who doesn't believe the resurrection was a real-world historical event - i.e., that the tomb was actually empty and that Jesus actually rose in a transformed resurrection body. It is very difficult for me to take seriously anyone who claims to be a Christian yet believes the resurrection was an entirely visionary or even imaginary event. Yet many people who claim to be serious Christians do believe this. I will never forget one of my professors (a disciple of Rudolf Bultmann) saying it should make absolutely no difference to any of us if we could travel back in time and watch the disciples stealing Jesus' body and burying it underground - the "idea" or "meaning" of the resurrection is what is important, not the historical reality. Despite my strong "bias," I'm not sure I could say that my understanding of the resurrection is an essential. I could possibly water the essential down to, "Jesus existed, and his life and death somehow make it possible for me to be reconciled to God regardless of exactly what happened or how it works."

It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
That might make you a fellow Beatles fan, but it's hard for me to agree that this is the only Christian essential. Is everyone who has love a Christian? Perhaps you can't really experience or share God's love until you are a Christian, and thus what atheists, Hindus, Buddhists and John Lennon call love is not God's love, but even if we say this then "experiencing and sharing God's love" is a result of being a Christian rather than an essential of becoming a Christian.

No one so far has suggested that the essentials include anything more specific than I, KevinK and Not_Now.Soon have suggested. If this were true, why would there be so much bitter fussing, feuding and mud-slinging among people who all purport to be Christians, and why would so many be so quick to label Certain Denominations as un-Christian? My long experience suggests to me that, deep down, most people do regard many other doctrines as "essential."
 
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#17
The resurrection is a good example. It is very difficult for me to consider someone a Christian who doesn't believe the resurrection was a real-world historical event - i.e., that the tomb was actually empty and that Jesus actually rose in a transformed resurrection body. It is very difficult for me to take seriously anyone who claims to be a Christian yet believes the resurrection was an entirely visionary or even imaginary event. Yet many people who claim to be serious Christians do believe this. I will never forget one of my professors (a disciple of Rudolf Bultmann) saying it should make absolutely no difference to any of us if we could travel back in time and watch the disciples stealing Jesus' body and burying it underground - the "idea" or "meaning" of the resurrection is what is important, not the historical reality. Despite my strong "bias," I'm not sure I could say that my understanding of the resurrection is an essential. I could possibly water the essential down to, "Jesus existed, and his life and death somehow make it possible for me to be reconciled to God regardless of exactly what happened or how it works."
I vehemently disagree with your professor type person.

1. No resurrection? Jesus is like Buddha and Krishna.

2. No resurrection? The Apostles are liars. Why should I believe anything else they say?

(I might have already stated that)

So, yes, the resurrection is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to Christianity.
No resurrection......No Christianity.

The "idea" or "meaning" of the resurrection is NOT what is important because it would then be a lie.

I do believe we're agreed on this.
 
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#18
It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yee-hai! (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Chessman,
I know some people who are more loving than Christians,
so THEY'RE Christian and not the Christians who don't show much love at times?
 
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#19
That might make you a fellow Beatles fan, but it's hard for me to agree that this is the only Christian essential.
That's my point. It depends on who you ask; "what is the only Christian essential" as to what answer you get. I wouldn't take John Lennon's answer. 'I can only imagine' what he would have said:)

Is everyone who has love a Christian?
No. Saul loved the Lord prior to knowing Him.

Perhaps you can't really experience or share God's love until you are a Christian, and thus what atheists, Hindus, Buddhists and John Lennon call love is not God's love,
The Greeks had six different words for love. English has one. Thus our translations don't really transition completely, unfortunately. Linguists say that languages develope larger vocabulary for things that are important to them in their cultures because they talk about them more. Very telling that we have one word for 'love' yet the NT writers had six.


No one so far has suggested that the essentials include anything more specific than I
⬇️
prayerfully doing your best to follow the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the four gospels.
Who could agrue with following the teachings of Jesus in all four Gospels as being what's essential to being a Christian?

I can't. But the Bee-hles sure did.