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What do Christians need to believe in order to call themselves Christians?

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  • What do Christians need to believe in order to call themselves Christians?

    What do Christians need to believe in order to call themselves Christians?

    Do Christians need to believe Jesus is the only way to the Father?

    Do Christians need to believe in the Trinity?


  • #2
    What do Christians need to believe in order to call themselves Christians? Nothing. A person can call themselves Christian all day long. But just call themselves a Christian doesn't make it so. It makes them Christian in name only.

    The more important discussion is what a Christian needs to believe to be a Christian. I would say yes to both items in your list.

    A long time ago, I worked out a statement of faith for myself. Here's what I came out with as the essentials of the Christian faith.
    1. I believe in God, eternal and existing outside of time, perfect, holy, and in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
    2. I believe Christ Jesus is the Son and:
      1. Christ Jesus is God Incarnate as a man.
      2. Christ Jesus was born of a Virgin
      3. Christ Jesus lived a Sinless Life and is the example of how I should live my life
      4. Christ Jesus Worked Miracles
      5. Christ Jesus’ Death Provides the Only means of Atonement for the Sins of Humanity. In other words, Christ Jesus is the only way to God.
      6. Christ Jesus Physically Rose from the Dead and Was Seen Alive by Many
      7. Christ Jesus Ascended Bodily to the Father
      8. Christ Jesus is Coming Again
    3. Salvation is a gift of God and not earned by any action of man.
    4. The Bible is the only reliable revelation of God to man. In the original manuscripts, it is inerrant, inspired, and perfect. Despite all the copies that have been made since it was written, no error that changes a major doctrine has occurred. It contains all the principles I need to live life faithful to God’s will. Other books may contain elements of truth but they are not reliable because of the falsehoods they contain.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

    Comment


    • #3
      I think even as a Catholic I can sign onto this without much issue, though the last one is iffy as the Canon of the Bible wasn't decided upon until Trent.

      I'm not sure it's enough though as it's missing a sense of Church and community of faith. I think it works in the sense that if anyone denies any one of the these tenants then they would be unorthodox.

      Comment


      • #4
        Maybe the question should be reworded to, "What does a Christian need to believe in order to become a Christian?" If that is the case, I would simply say (1) believe that you are a sinner and deserve the wrath of God, (2) believe that somebody named Jesus (or Yeshua) who lived a sinless life two thousand years ago died on the cross and took the punishment that we deserve for our sin, (3) repent of you sin, forsake it, making God the Lord over your life, and trust in His forgiveness and eternal life offered through Jesus.

        Anything else is just frosting on the cake. But I would seriously question the faith of somebody who claims to have taken the above steps and yet refuses to believe the Scriptures with respect to the virgin birth, deity of Jesus, His resurrection and eventual return.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
          What do Christians need to believe in order to call themselves Christians? Nothing. A person can call themselves Christian all day long. But just call themselves a Christian doesn't make it so. It makes them Christian in name only.

          The more important discussion is what a Christian needs to believe to be a Christian. I would say yes to both items in your list.

          A long time ago, I worked out a statement of faith for myself. Here's what I came out with as the essentials of the Christian faith.
          1. I believe in God, eternal and existing outside of time, perfect, holy, and in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
          2. I believe Christ Jesus is the Son and:
            1. Christ Jesus is God Incarnate as a man.
            2. Christ Jesus was born of a Virgin
            3. Christ Jesus lived a Sinless Life and is the example of how I should live my life
            4. Christ Jesus Worked Miracles
            5. Christ Jesus’ Death Provides the Only means of Atonement for the Sins of Humanity. In other words, Christ Jesus is the only way to God.
            6. Christ Jesus Physically Rose from the Dead and Was Seen Alive by Many
            7. Christ Jesus Ascended Bodily to the Father
            8. Christ Jesus is Coming Again
          3. Salvation is a gift of God and not earned by any action of man.
          4. The Bible is the only reliable revelation of God to man. In the original manuscripts, it is inerrant, inspired, and perfect. Despite all the copies that have been made since it was written, no error that changes a major doctrine has occurred. It contains all the principles I need to live life faithful to God’s will. Other books may contain elements of truth but they are not reliable because of the falsehoods they contain.
          sounds good to me. I think most of that is covered in the Nicene Creed:
          We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen.

          We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.

          Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

          For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

          We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son, some versions). With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

          We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
          We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
          We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

          Amen.

          Comment


          • #6

            I'm a minimalist concerning specific doctrines that someone must know and believe. But when someone comes to have faith(trust) in Christ, that person has encountered a change in nature. He or she has heard the Shepherd and come to him. This message comes through the sharing of the gospel.

            The person may not know much doctrine but is inclined to accept the true doctrines -- those of the type listed by Thoughtful Monk. Still, people can be stubborn and have wrong doctrine without losing their justified status.

            However, the church group (or denomination) needs to sufficiently adhere to the truths of the gospel to be effective and worthwhile. Usually when people come to Christ despite the doctrines preached, they will fall away from the group with the bad doctrine.

            I do advocate having group teaching and confessing of creeds and confessions -- at least the most basic ones. It is important to promote the right teachings in order to preserve the gospel.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
              I think even as a Catholic I can sign onto this without much issue, though the last one is iffy as the Canon of the Bible wasn't decided upon until Trent.

              I'm not sure it's enough though as it's missing a sense of Church and community of faith. I think it works in the sense that if anyone denies any one of the these tenants then they would be unorthodox.
              I do think the participation in community of faith is good and important. However, this is not required, at least in the Protestant view. Though, it is nice to see some of the friendships that had been established and have endured among those who grew up as Roman Catholics.

              Comment


              • #8
                Would you say that anyone who claims that they are a Christian and still thinks Jesus is not the only way to the Father is not really a Christian?

                Thanks for your answers, Guys.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Christian3 View Post
                  Would you say that anyone who claims that they are a Christian and still thinks Jesus is not the only way to the Father is not really a Christian?

                  Thanks for your answers, Guys.
                  If that person is a teacher, I would tend to question if that guy is a Christian. Otherwise, the situation is less clear.

                  Someone who is a thoughtful and informed Christian should know better than to think that there is another way to be justified with God. It sort of comes down to their treatment of the place where Jesus says "No one comes to the Father but through me."

                  There are times that I will likely talk about confessional Christians if I want to write about the interpretation of scriptures. My use of "confessional Christians" would be used to identify the original reading of scriptures among those who accept the Deity of Christ and the trustworthiness of scripture.
                  Last edited by mikewhitney; 10-09-2020, 03:22 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Scripture Verse: Matthew 7

                    21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

                    © Copyright Original Source

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Christian3 View Post
                      Would you say that anyone who claims that they are a Christian and still thinks Jesus is not the only way to the Father is not really a Christian?

                      Thanks for your answers, Guys.
                      Anathema!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                        sounds good to me. I think most of that is covered in the Nicene Creed:
                        We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen.

                        We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.

                        Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

                        For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

                        We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son, some versions). With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

                        We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
                        We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
                        We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

                        Amen.
                        I agree. I have no problems if a church says we believe according to the Apostles or Nicene creed.

                        This was part of an exercise I was doing for myself to sort out the essentials versus non-essentials of the faith. Even though I called it a statement of Faith, what I put out was my list of what I view as the essentials of faith.
                        "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                        "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post

                          If that person is a teacher, I would tend to question if that guy is a Christian. Otherwise, the situation is less clear.

                          Someone who is a thoughtful and informed Christian should know better than to think that there is another way to be justified with God. It sort of comes down to their treatment of the place where Jesus says "No one comes to the Father but through me."

                          There are times that I will likely talk about confessional Christians if I want to write about the interpretation of scriptures. My use of "confessional Christians" would be used to identify the original reading of scriptures among those who accept the Deity of Christ and the trustworthiness of scripture.
                          Four Pastors of my church (and other members) have said they do not believe Jesus is the only way to God.

                          The advice I have been given by other Christians is to fine another church, but I worry that maybe I can say something that will change their minds and if I don't I will let them down.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think the question should be "How do Christians have to behave in order to call themselves Christians?"
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Darfius View Post
                              Scripture Verse: Matthew 7

                              21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

                              © Copyright Original Source

                              Kinda where I was going with my response.
                              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                              Comment

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