Exploring the Fundamental Tenets of Christianity

Feb 14


Bruce McLaughlin

Bruce McLaughlin

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Christianity, a faith with over 2.3 billion adherents worldwide, is rooted in a set of core beliefs that define its doctrine and practice. These beliefs, while interpreted differently across various denominations, form the bedrock of Christian theology. This article delves into the essential principles of Christianity, particularly from a perspective that aligns with traditional Southern Baptist and Wesleyan/Arminian interpretations.


The Authority of the Bible

Christians uphold the Bible as the divinely inspired and authoritative Word of God,Exploring the Fundamental Tenets of Christianity Articles free from error in its teachings. This belief is foundational to Christian doctrine and is discussed in depth in the "Christian Handbook of Reason and Insight for Scientists and Technologists" (Christian Apologetic).

The Triune Nature of God

One of the most distinctive Christian beliefs is the Trinity: one God in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity is co-eternal, co-equal, and fully God, yet they are distinct from one another. This complex doctrine is supported by numerous scriptural references, such as Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 43:10, and Matthew 28:19.

The Person of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is central to Christian faith. He is recognized as both fully divine and fully human, a single person with two natures that are inseparable and unmingled. His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23), sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), bodily resurrection (Luke 24:36-47), and role as the mediator between God and humanity are affirmed in Christian teaching.

The Human Condition and Sin

Christian doctrine teaches that all humans, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are born with a sin nature due to the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:6-19). This inherent sinfulness separates humanity from God and necessitates redemption.

Salvation Through Jesus Christ

Salvation, the deliverance from the consequences of sin, is offered to all through the grace of God and the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This gift of salvation is available to anyone who responds in faith, acknowledging their sinfulness and trusting in Christ's redemptive work (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The Universality of God's Grace

God's grace, which enables salvation, is extended to all people. It is evident through the moral law written on human hearts, the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, and the revelation of God's nature in creation (Romans 1:20, Titus 2:11). However, individuals can choose to resist or accept this grace.

The Role of Faith and Free Will

In traditional Southern Baptist and Wesleyan/Arminian theology, faith is seen as a response to God's grace, not a work of merit. It involves a free will decision to turn from sin and follow Christ. This contrasts with Calvinist views, which posit that regeneration by the Holy Spirit precedes and enables faith.

The Assurance of Salvation

Many Christians, including those in the Southern Baptist tradition, hold to the doctrine of eternal security, believing that once a person is truly saved, they cannot lose their salvation. This belief is based on passages such as John 10:28-29 and Romans 8:38-39.

Theological Debates Within Christianity

Within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), there has been an ongoing debate between Traditional Baptists and Calvinists regarding the nature of salvation and the extent of God's grace. Traditional Baptists emphasize the free will response to the Gospel and universal atonement, while Calvinists focus on predestination and limited atonement.

In conclusion, the core beliefs of Christianity encompass the divine inspiration of the Bible, the triune nature of God, the person and work of Jesus Christ, the reality of sin, the necessity of salvation, the universality of God's grace, the role of faith and free will, and the assurance of salvation. These tenets, while subject to various interpretations, remain the cornerstone of Christian faith and practice.