Friday, November 10, 2006


What are the fundamentals of Christianity?

Do tell.


I would start with these:

Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Leviticus 19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself."
That's how Jesus summed it up.

Love God.
Love your neighbor.

(Which includes your enemies and even your ex-wife and tyrannical boss...)

I think everything else - EVERYthing else (virgin birth, trinity, 6 day creation, etc, etc) can be interesting to talk about and some of those other things may even be quite important, but they're not fundamental.
I would add John 3:17:

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

Faith -- trust, reliance -- in that is part of it, although how He accomplishes it is up for debate.
Now the Jews and the Muslems also revere and adhere to those two commandments.
So I would add the single thing that seperates Christianity from them.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Notice that I chose a translation that did not use the term "begotten" or "from above" or "chosen" all of which have been added and subtracted from this verse since the 4th century.

This version of John 3:16 is the most basic (seems to be the earliest as well, although the whole verse may be a latter addition to John)) and allows all sorts of Christians to claim Christ.
"I would add John 3:17"

I believe that, as well. My problem is that people have attached all manner of rules and subrules to what it means to "accept Jesus" or to "ask Jesus in to your life," and if you haven't done it the right way with the right accompanying signs, etc, then you're doomed.

I'm thinking of the story of the two brothers in the Bible who were asked by their father to do a task. One said, "sure!" and didn't. The other said, "no," but did.

I'm thinking salvation, "accepting Jesus," "making Jesus Lord," etc, is like that. You can know it by their actions. You will know they are Christians by their love.

Which leads me back to the original two fundamentals: Love God, Love People.
True. But loving God and loving your neighbor *without* faith in *something* to do directly with Jesus -- whether it's "substitionary atonement" or whatever -- is something else.

On the other hand, I'm no longer convinced that someone has to even have heard the name of Jesus to be saved. "Prevenient grace," some call it.
Note: what I just said is different from people who, havign once heard the Gospel, actively reject it.
I like this. For more, go to

Affirmation 1:

Walking fully in the path of Jesus, without denying the legitimacy of other paths God may provide humanity;

Matthew 11:28-29; John 8:12; John 10:16; Mark 9:40

As Christians, we find spiritual awakening, challenge, growth, and fulfillment in Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection.

While we have accepted the Path of Jesus as our Path, we do not deny the legitimacy of other paths God may provide humanity. Where possible, we seek lively dialog with those of other faiths for mutual benefit and fellowship.

We affirm that the Path of Jesus is found wherever love of God, neighbor, and self are practiced together. Whether or not the path bears the name of Jesus, such paths bear the identity of Christ.

We confess that we have stepped away from Christ’s Path whenever we have failed to practice love of God, neighbor, and self, or have claimed Christianity is the only way, even as we claim it to be our way.
I think the only fundamentals are this:
Christ died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Everything else in Christianity is based on those three things. His death was a sacrifice for our sins.

His resurrection is his conquering death and the “wages of sin”

His coming again gives hope that we too will live in God.

The commandments love God, love your neighbor are keys to living a Christian life. The moral compass so to speak.

Everything else provides a secondary guidance. All of the above is open to interpretation, and it is the interpretation that gets people into arguments.
Zactly, Jim.
this one's a no-brainer:

"a new commandment i give unto you, that love one another as i have loved you."

Ab. So. Lute. Ly.
Contrast this statement:

"While we have accepted the Path of Jesus as our Path, we do not deny the legitimacy of other paths God may provide humanity."-- ER

with this one:

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." --Jesus

I think I'll rely on what Jesus said, and not ER.
Ah, but you quit reading too soon.

Compare this statement ...

"We affirm that the Path of Jesus is found wherever love of God, neighbor, and self are practiced together. Whether or not the path bears the name of Jesus, such paths bear the identity of Christ."

With this one ...

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." --Jesus

They do not contradict.

Jesus is the only way, not Christianity.

By all means, EL, follow Jesus, not me. But I think I'll keep on thinking.
I explained Christmas gifts to the kids this way. Its Jesus' birthday commemoration, and we are really giving Him gifts. Because once, a disciple asked Jesus what he wanted, and he said Love God, and Love one another. So we are giving one another gifts of love, which is what He wanted.
Jesus is the only way, not Christianity."

And this is where we part company. How on earth, or in heaven, do you separate Jesus from Christianity? "Christianity" by its very definition is the "Way of Christ." If it is not Christian, it does not follow Christ. By the standard you set, Jehovah's Witnesses follow Jesus. Mormans follow Jesus. Perhaps Hindus, Muslims and Shintoist all follow Jesus, as well.

As to the fundamentals of "Christianity" which is the posited theme of this post, Romans 10:9 reads "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Funny, no mention that merely loving ones neighbor as ones self is following Jesus. Loving one's neighbor, while the right and holy thing to do is not sufficient to get anyone into heaven. That would be salvation by works... Not grace.

So, in answer to your original question, Romans 10:9 is a fundamental of Christianity.

How is it you begin with a question and premise that Christianity is the Way of Christ, and then shoot it out of the sky by saying "Jesus is the only way, not Christianity" ?
"Jesus is the only way, not Christianity."

oh, snap!

Well, Christianity, in the sense I meant it in that comment, is the bureaucracy that has grown up around those who follow, or say they follow, Jesus.

All the different denominations and sects and offshoots and theories and ideas and disagreements and arguments and actual battles, differing doctrines, theologies and everything else. None of which, ultimately, will matter.
In other words, I believe there are people who follow the Way, who may or may not have ever heard the name Jesus; and who would not call themselves "Christians"; that is, I believe there are those who believe that the Creator must have made provision for His creation to fellowship with Him; and who trust that He has; and who therefore are trusting in Jesus, who *is* that provision, whether or not they've heard the Gospel. "Other sheep."
And, all the people sitting in pews all over the country in the morning aren't serious. You know that. Some are there out of habit. Some because they see it as their "bet" and hedge against hell. They are part of Christianity, as I mean it; but you and both agree that not everyone who sits in a pew is saved.

As for works: There is no astrisk in James epistle that explains that it's not serious -- and James is one of the parts of the Bible that by-faith-alone folks tend to pick and choose around, or deemphasize anyway. Luther didn't care for James because the epistle so plainly insists that works are part of the deal. Of course, I think you and I probably agree that works come as a result of grace. But not all Christians believe that. Not even all followers of Jesus. :-)
from the waterboys' joyous "church not made with hands". the song's not really relevant to the discussion (as it's a love song, though it clearly invests that love with a divine sanction), but this verse came back to me:

the church not made by hands
not contained by man
that precious place
unmade by man


(and the first two lines of the song are perfect for another hot topic!)
The Others:

John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."
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