Wednesday, December 17, 2008


A few days ago Scot McKnight (over at Jesus Creed) asked, "What are the essentials of the Christian faith?"

"To permit non-essentials to shape our concerns, our relations, and our reputations is, to use the words of Jesus, to "strain gnats." ... What we need is discernment to see again and again what is essential about our faith and to see what is non-essential. This requires a firm grip on the essentials and a loose grip on the non-essentials."

The comments section is always the most fun part of Scot's blog. RJS, who comments and posts there a lot (and is some kind of scientist in real life), posted this brief list, adapted from the historic church creeds, which I promptly stole and tweaked a little:

1. I believe in God, the Creator Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth.

2. I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord: in His birth, life, teachings, death and resurrection.

3. I believe in the Holy Spirit as poured out at Pentecost,

4. I believe in the Spirit-filled church as the body of Christ and people of God, and in the communion of saints.

5. I believe that God calls us to total commitment: heart, mind, body, and soul – that this should impact everything we do and every decision we make.

6. I believe that the purpose of the church is to begin to embody the kingdom of God, here, today, in all creation.

7. I believe in judgment and forgiveness.

8. I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

So what do you think? Remember, we're talking about essentials of Christian belief, not an exhaustive list of all its implications, or even a list of what's most important in Christianity (that's an easy question: Love God, love others). Too many things? Not enough? Is the search for essentials problematic in the first place?

No comments: