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The Essentials of Christian Beliefs

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  • The Essentials of Christian Beliefs

    Are these essentials correct?

    https://renew.org/video/what-are-the...-christianity/

    The problem with his essential list is that they are literal conclusions, when they are actually synechdochal, summaries that need expansion.
    Last edited by footwasher; 07-02-2022, 06:16 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by footwasher View Post
    Are these essentials correct?
    Insofar as they go and taking into account that they are arguing against specific misinterpretations, they're mostly OK.

    1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
    Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
    .
    "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

    "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

    Comment


    • #3
      Let's take the items that the author of the book thinks are essential, one by one, and see why, because they have not been expanded on, can be interpreted in different ways, and still qualify as correct belief in that essential, but may not be the belief that proves you are a Christian and deserving to be justified by God.

      After all, teachings, instructions, torahs, should get you to the desired result, right? Just as reading the instructions that came with your power drill should get you holes made at the places you want them, then reading the instructions that an Bible expert provides should get you justified by God.

      The first belief is the belief that God exists.

      Will believing this result in justification by God?

      I don't think so.

      Followers of other theistic worldviews believe this, but it doesn't result in justification by God.

      The proof is this:

      John 14
      6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tabibito View Post

        Insofar as they go and taking into account that they are arguing against specific misinterpretations, they're mostly OK.
        Can you be more specific?

        What are the misinterpretations? How do we know if the author's interpretations are themselves correct?
        Last edited by footwasher; 07-02-2022, 06:49 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by footwasher View Post

          Can you be more specific?

          What are the misinterpretations? How do we know if the author's interpretations are themselves correct?
          They are little more than a series of opening sentences to paragraphs. There is potential for problems in each of them, but whether right or wrong, or useful or useless would depend on the content of the paragraphs - as you have said, they are "summaries that need expansion."

          The first belief is the belief that God exists.

          Will believing this result in justification by God?

          I don't think so.
          In the video, the speaker says the same.

          The statement that a belief in the existence in God is an essential for salvation is hard to argue against. It would be equally difficult to argue that the statement is in any way useful or informative. However

          The speaker doesn't stop with that though, he goes on to say that Hebrews 11:6 adds the requirement for earnestly seeking him, and that as James 2:19 says, even the devils believe, so merely believing that God exists is not enough in itself: it must be accompanied by a life of faith.
          1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
          Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
          .
          "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

          "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tabibito View Post

            They are little more than a series of opening sentences to paragraphs. There is potential for problems in each of them, but whether right or wrong, or useful or useless would depend on the content of the paragraphs - as you have said, they are "summaries that need expansion."



            In the video, the speaker says the same.

            The statement that a belief in the existence in God is an essential for salvation is hard to argue against. It would be equally difficult to argue that the statement is in any way useful or informative. However

            The speaker doesn't stop with that though, he goes on to say that Hebrews 11:6 adds the requirement for earnestly seeking him, and that as James 2:19 says, even the devils believe, so merely believing that God exists is not enough in itself: it must be accompanied by a life of faith.
            Thanks for the comprehensive reply. However, even that requires more expansion. Followers of other religions believe all that is stated there, but the further requirement is that it should result in finding, and following, Christ.

            Really, the essentials are really just one, but it needs to contain details that satisfy several conditions.

            However, I believe that even after meeting all the conditions required by the standards of the mainstream churches, the view is not really correct, lacking not just detail, but direction.

            Which brings us to the question of what are the deciding factors in discerning right from wrong.

            I believe that if the view is right, it is needs to be seen in the Scriptural record, and seen in strength, be reiterated, reinforced. Something the orthodox faith statements lack.
            Last edited by footwasher; 07-02-2022, 10:40 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              It could be I'm asking too much: after all, theology comes under what secular scholars call a faith category. It isn't falsifiable, because no one can verify that the desired result is ever achieved. In other words, there is no way that we can prove, either from real life, or even Scripture, that correct following of the instructions results in believers going to heaven.

              Therein lies the problem. The desired result isn't going to heaven.

              Prof N T Wright sees the aim of Scripture is to re-empower believers to 'subdue the earth', set the world to rights.

              The evidence is seen in the fact that since the birth of Christianity, the world is indeed being set right. Hospitals, schools, charitable institutions, social welfare initiatives like abolition were all Christian movements.

              Quote
              It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn't believe in heaven — at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne), Wright quotes a children's book by California first lady Maria Shriver called What's Heaven, which describes it as "a beautiful place where you can sit on soft clouds and talk... If you're good throughout your life, then you get to go [there]... When your life is finished here on earth, God sends angels down to take you heaven to be with him." That, says Wright is a good example of "what not to say." The Biblical truth, he continues, "is very, very different."

              http://content.time.com/time/world/a...710844,00.html

              Quote
              They believed that with the resurrection of Jesus this new creation had already been launched. Jesus embodied in himself the perfect fusion of “heaven” and “earth.” In Jesus, therefore, the ancient Jewish hope had come true at last. The point was not for us to “go to heaven,” but for the life of heaven to arrive on earth. Jesus taught his followers to pray: “Thy kingdom come on earth as in heaven.” From as early as the third century, some Christian teachers tried to blend this with types of the Platonic belief, generating the idea of “leaving earth and going to heaven,” which became mainstream by the Middle Ages. But Jesus’ first followers never went that route.

              https://www.google.com/amp/s/time.co...en/%3famp=true
              Last edited by footwasher; 07-02-2022, 09:19 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think NT Wright is wrong or at a minimum incomplete in his writing.

                I will not remain on this earth forever. Unless the Lord returns, I will die and go to Him. Nothing is permanent here on earth. The Bible and science both agree that eventually the earth comes to an ending.

                I will agree that mankind is called to steward the earth. All the institutions you mention are good and thank God that Christians do them. But eventually because of the Fall, everyone dies. I can prolong something, I can sustain something, I can mend something, but I can't make anything eternal. These things I should do. But I cannot expect to have Heaven on earth. I think you can get momentary experiences of Heaven, but I think the Fall prevents a permanent residence of Heaven on earth as we know it.
                "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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by footwasher View Post
                  Are these essentials correct?

                  https://renew.org/video/what-are-the...-christianity/

                  The problem with his essential list is that they are literal conclusions, when they are actually synechdochal, summaries that need expansion.
                  Took a listen to it. Here are the essentials as I heard them and my comments.
                  • Believe God exists and we show this belief by seeking Him.
                    • I agree because without this belief, none of the others make sense. Also, I think if you can look into hearts, you would be surprised how many Christians don't really believe that God exists.
                  • Believe Jesus is Lord.
                    • Disappointed no mention that Jesus is God and part of the Trinity. No mention that Jesus was incarnate as fully God and fully man. As presented in the video, this one definitely needs more substance to it.
                  • Believe Jesus has been risen from the dead.
                    • Unfortunately, you do have to say this today. Too many Christians would say Jesus has been resurrected in their hearts, but his body is still in a tomb somewhere. That's why I will say something like "I believe Jesus has been physically and literally raised from the dead."
                  • Believe we are saved by grace through faith.
                    • Fine.
                  • We are born again by the Holy Spirit
                    • True.
                  • We persevere through our faith.
                    • Agreed.
                  As lists go, not bad but lacking in substance. I looked at my statement of beliefs I wrote several years ago. In the comparison, this list definitely comes out weak on the natural and role of Jeus and should have some mention about the place of the Bible.

                  I agree with you. This list is too much an incomplete summary and needs expanding on.
                  "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


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
                    I agree with you. This list is too much an incomplete summary and needs expanding on.
                    Good post. So we see there are many been problems with the views stated by that content creator, but it's not a situation of someone liking mac and cheese, whilst another person preferring hamburger. In that scenario, the problem is hunger and the solutions, although different, are acceptable.

                    In our situation, the scantiness of the description of the requirements could lead to someone not being saved. In other words, following his instructions wrongly because of different understandings of those instructions as a result of their vagueness could lead to the desired result, salvation, not being achieved.

                    Let's set out the steps as stated, and then set them out again correctly, linking some steps, including others, so as to provide a better guidance, a more correct procedure to follow.

                    Original Version

                    Essentials to go to heaven
                    Belief in God's existence
                    Earnestly seeking Him out
                    Believing in God's revelation of the requirement to follow Him faithfully through grace
                    Receiving the Holy Spirit
                    Becoming born again
                    Showing fruit through perseverance
                    Resulting in going to heaven

                    Wright's Version

                    Essential steps to follow required to be restored to Adam's pre-fall state

                    Belief in God's existence
                    Earnestly seeking Him out
                    Believing in God's revelation of the requirement to follow Jesus faithfully
                    Obeying that instruction to follow Jesus
                    Receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming born again
                    Showing fruit through perseverance
                    Resulting in going to the world to com

                    Thoughtful Monk's Version
                    Essential steps to follow required to be restored to go to heaven

                    Belief in God's existence
                    Earnestly seeking Him out
                    Believing in God's revelation of the requirement to follow Jesus faithfully
                    Obeying that instruction to follow Jesus
                    Receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming born again
                    Showing fruit through perseverance
                    Resulting in going to heaven
                    ...

                    Let's agree that proof is through what Scripture states/shows:

                    Scripture says that OT saints heard the same Gospel: the Kingdom of God, His help, finger, is near, amongst men, can be acquired, with God's help

                    Belief leads to the receiving of the Holy Spirit, seen as God creating calamity and then rescuing. Abraham was put in danger from King Abhimelech and Pharoah, and was rescued. Israel was put in danger from Pharoah, hunger and thirst and was rescued.

                    Abraham profited from drinking from the Rock, learned that God could rescue. He realised that this was how he would be a blessing to the world. God would create problems, like making men blind from birth, and used believers to heal, in order to show that God was with them, doing the miracle. So when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac, he obeyed, expectong God to give Isaac back to him from the dead. The Holy Spirit used wilderness experiences to edify Abraham, Israel and Jesus, but used tongues, to edify the believers in Ephesus in Acts 19.

                    However, not everyone who drank from the Rock profited. Out of the whole group in Israel, only Caleb changed, meta noia-ed, (wrongly translated as repented), from a murmuring follower to an encouraging leader, was born again. When God tested him to see if he had changed, by commanding him to face the Canaanites, he obeyed, fully expecting to win. In the process, Rahab saw the light, was drawn to God, just like Nicodemus saw the light of God being with Jesus, and was drawn.

                    Still, the text says not one of the heroes of faith of Hebrews 11 received what was promised, Adam's pre-fall state of being able to subdue sinners, till we all received it together, they in Abraham's bosom, and we in the earthly life.

                    It seems like the Biblical version is:

                    Essential steps to follow required to be restored to Adam's pre-fall state

                    A. Belief in God's existence
                    B. Earnestly seeking Him out
                    C. Believing in God's revelation of the requirement to follow Jesus faithfully by manifesting God's presence with us, by depending on Him
                    D. Obeying that instruction to follow Jesus in depending on God
                    E. Receiving the Holy Spirit and being shown how God's presence being with us, the finger of God, results in never failing to overcome problems
                    F. Becoming born again, changing from insecure people to people confident in the help of God, like Abraham and Caleb, shown by passing the test, when checked for having that confidence
                    G. Being allowed to achieve the desired result, restoration of the ability to subdue creation, because that requires picking up crosses, being raised up from the earth, and drawing people to submit to God, which we can so pick up, since we have proved our faith in God has been created.
                    H. Showing fruit through perseverance in picking up crosses
                    I. Resulting in going to the world to come, where we continue to tame creation, which gives pleasure to God.

                    The proof that this is correct is shown by the strong Scriptural support for the abstract ideas of what receiving the Holy Spirit, being born again, entering Rest, are.
                    ...

                    This is the Way

                    A God creates works in advance, problems, makes people blind, darkens Scripture, so that we may walk in them, solve the problems.

                    Isaiah 45:7The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

                    John 9:3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God would be displayed in him.

                    Ephesians 2:10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
                    ...


                    B. When we do these works, pick up the crosses:

                    1 Cor 15:3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
                    ...

                    C. The world is drawn to God:

                    1 Cor 15:6After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

                    John 3:1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

                    Joshua 2:8Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10“For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11“When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

                    1 Cor 14
                    23Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? 24But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you
                    Last edited by footwasher; 07-05-2022, 04:15 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Expanding on the list, for my part:

                      Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

                      Took a listen to it. Here are the essentials as I heard them and my comments.
                      • Believe God exists and we show this belief by seeking Him.
                      • I agree because without this belief, none of the others make sense. Also, I think if you can look into hearts, you would be surprised how many Christians don't really believe that God exists.
                      [/list]
                      It would hang on whether "seek" is correctly interpreted and acted upon. There was a time that I would have found the claim that "many Christians don't really believe that God exists" astounding.
                      • Believe Jesus is Lord.
                      • Disappointed no mention that Jesus is God and part of the Trinity. No mention that Jesus was incarnate as fully God and fully man. As presented in the video, this one definitely needs more substance to it.
                      Believe that "Jesus is MY lord" and act accordingly. "Jesus was a man, God incarnate" is a necessary belief. "Fully God" goes beyond anything that can be Scripturally supported.
                      • Believe Jesus has been risen from the dead.
                        • Unfortunately, you do have to say this today. Too many Christians would say Jesus has been resurrected in their hearts, but his body is still in a tomb somewhere. That's why I will say something like "I believe Jesus has been physically and literally raised from the dead."
                      Agreed. It is unfortunate that the Scriptural statement "he died, he lived" isn't taken seriously by all too many.
                      • Believe we are saved by grace through faith.
                        • Fine.
                      The bare claim is acceptable, but it is subject to some rather horrendous extrapolation.
                      • We are born again by the Holy Spirit
                        • True.
                      yes.
                      • We persevere through our faith.
                        • Agreed.
                      Important as it is, essential it is, I don't think is an essential BASIC.

                      As lists go, not bad but lacking in substance. I looked at my statement of beliefs I wrote several years ago. In the comparison, this list definitely comes out weak on the natural and role of Jesus and should have some mention about the place of the Bible.

                      I agree with you. This list is too much an incomplete summary and needs expanding on.
                      Agreed. At best it needs some elucidation to prevent cooking the books.
                      Last edited by tabibito; 07-05-2022, 04:19 AM.
                      1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                      Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                      .
                      "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

                      "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I always nominate The Apostle's Creed for the most accurate, concise statements of faith for Christian essential beliefs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          To all.

                          The text says the same Gospel, that the help of God, His finger, once available to Adam, was now come amongst men, was heard by believers in the OT time period.

                          It also says that those who followed the instructions that would result in being given the help of God, God being with a person, as noticed by Nicodemus in Jesus, was never fulfilled in them, because only together with us would they be so fulfilled, completed.

                          Heb 11
                          39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

                          Could each of you trace the following of the essentials in those believers, the heroes of faith of Hebrews 11, as described by you, in their experiences?
                          Last edited by footwasher; 07-05-2022, 11:43 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by footwasher View Post
                            To all.

                            The text says the same Gospel, that the help of God, His finger, once available to Adam, was now come amongst men, was heard by believers in the OT time period.

                            It also says that those who followed the instructions that would result in being given the help of God, God being with a person, as noticed by Nicodemus in Jesus, was never fulfilled in them, because only together with us would they be so fulfilled, completed.

                            Heb 11
                            39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

                            Could each of you trace the following of the essentials in those believers, the heroes of faith of Hebrews 11, as described by you, in their experiences?
                            OK - Hebrews 11 speaks of the faith of various persons who acted faithfully. Does that raise any questions for you?

                            If Hebrews is considered definitive, the essential factor is faithfulness toward God.
                            1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                            Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                            .
                            "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

                            "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                              OK - Hebrews 11 speaks of the faith of various persons who acted faithfully. Does that raise any questions for you?

                              If Hebrews is considered definitive, the essential factor is faithfulness toward God.
                              Sure. Initially, I was surprised that OT believers had the same Gospel preached to them as we did. The questions that arose were, "How could this happen?", "Wasn't the Holy Spirit given only after Pentecost?", "Isn't the Gospel the announcement of the Resurrection, indicating that believers could receive immortality, not perish, if they had faith in Jesus?". By those statements, it seemed that OT believers had miraculous revelations of Christ, like Abraham, who saw Christ's day.

                              However, the simpler explanation is that Abraham was enlightened to the fact that his life was futile, that it could become meaningful if he had God's help, the finger of God, that he could get that help if he obeyed God. Being convinced by these revelations, he hated the darkness of futility, decided not to settle for it, not to accept it, by becoming a resident, but decided to be a sojourner, a person who would not integrate, unlike others who loved the darkness, the gratification to be found by looking for a comfortable earthly life.

                              God promised him a better situation. A parallel can be found in the analogy of a job seeker. Unhappy with an existing job, I can decide not to seek advancement in it, join others in the rat race of looking for earthly comforts, but instead to do the minimum required, be a sojourner, refuse to put down roots. God is happy to be my Master, in view of my refusal to accept the shallow prospect of living comfortably, get through life looking for living with as little pain as possible, walking on the broad path. He promises me a new job, a better situation, a Land, a Kingdom, in which I will do noble tasks in return for gains that do not rust or perish, instead of the present situation of doing selfish acts for gains that do perish.

                              We really must look for continuity. Adam loses that meaningful existence for all mankind. God sets out to restore that situation. How? By kicking off a plan that will lead to the sending of a Saviour who will do the needful, bring the situation, Land, Kingdom, near, amongst men. Abraham does enter the Land, gets the job, after accepting training, being obedient through believing God, receives the Holy Spirit, edification through being put in danger and being rescued from Pharoah, and learning that God can be depended on, from that training. So when he is tested at the end of the training, by being asked to sacrifice Isaac, he passes.

                              He enters the Land, but it is only a type, a foreshadowing of a future country. He never really received what was promised, because that will happen only together with us, a future event for him. Just as we are living meaningful lives today, gathering and not scattering, in our earthly existence, Abraham is doing the same, in the afterlife.

                              Heb 11
                              8By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed [h]by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he left, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
                              Last edited by footwasher; 07-05-2022, 07:32 PM.

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