What Are the Essential Doctrines that Make a Christian a Christian?

goNewOne 001     In recent days, many have discussed what issues part fellowship between Christians and those deemed heretics, or those who have beliefs that contradict the core principles of Christianity. Some have been caught up in the John MacArthur vs. Michael Brown debate over charismatic gifts. But, do charismatic gifts, or the lack thereof, deem who is properly called a Christian and who is not? Others have trod down the Calvinist/Arminian debacle in which some Calvinists will claim that Arminians are outside the bounds of Christianity, while some Arminians claim the same for Calvinists. But, what exactly are the core beliefs that make one a Christian? What is essential Christianity?

In this writer’s opinion, ten doctrines hold ground for being essential to the Christian faith. These eight doctrines are:

1. The Belief in God’s Existence.

2. The Belief/Acceptance of Human Sin as Separation from God.

3. The Belief in the Incarnation (Person) of Jesus Christ.

4. The Belief in the Atonement for Sins.

5. The Belief in Justification through Faith.

6. The Belief in Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead.

7. The Belief in the Triune Personhood of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

8. The Belief in the Church.

9. The Belief in the Kingdom of God.

10. The Belief in the Return of Christ

There are many other important beliefs and doctrines that one should hold (e.g. inerrancy of the Bible, the Bible as God’s Word, views on hell, etc.), but individuals could hold a relationship with Christ without knowing about the these doctrines. For instance, there have been antagonists to the faith who have had dreams and visions of Christ and entered into a saving relationship with Christ before knowing much about the Bible.

In the weeks ahead, this site will host articles pertaining to these eight essential doctrines. The articles will explain what is necessary within each doctrine; why the doctrine is considered essential; and will seek to offer some proofs as to why one should believe in the essential doctrine. If you are reading this post and you are a Christian defender (apologist), feel free to comment if there is an additional doctrine that you deem necessary that has not been listed. But remember, essential doctrines are doctrines that are absolutely necessary for one to be a Christian. Secondary and tertiary doctrines are important, but not critical. It is the critical, or essential, doctrines which are being examined within the next few weeks. So join us on our series titled “The Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith.”

Keeping the Essentials essential,

Pastor Brian

P.S. This is a work in progress. If you have suggestions, please add them to the comment list below. 

2 thoughts on “What Are the Essential Doctrines that Make a Christian a Christian?”

  1. Just going through the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed should give you some materials for essentials of the faith:

    Some of the primary themes:
    Monotheism (one God)
    Eternally existing
    Of one substance/being
    In three persons:
    The Father, Almighty, Creator of all seen and unseen
    Jesus Christ our one Lord,
    the only or special Son of God,
    eternally begotten or of a special relationship of the Father,
    who is truly God,
    not created
    of the same being as the Father,
    through whom all things were made
    came from Heaven
    became fully and truly human (incarnate)
    of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
    Was crucified under Pontius Pilate for our sake
    was buried
    rose again/was resurrected in accordance with the Scriptures
    ascended into Heaven
    is seated at the right hand of the Father
    will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead
    and his kingdom will have no end
    The Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life
    proceeding from the Father [and of the Son ** might avoid the filioque]
    who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified
    spoke through prophets
    one holy catholic (i.e., universal) and apostolic church
    one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
    resurrection of the dead
    life of the world to come

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