“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.”1
So goes (partially anyway) a Christian statement of faith now over 1500 years old.
If required to write down what you, or better yet, what Christians should believe, what would you write?
We could take the easy way and say: “We believe whatever the Bible says.”
But what does it say? And does it all apply to us now? And do we hold all these things with the same level of conviction? Should we?
Scripture leads us to believe there is a body of tenets Christians ought to hold as true, a belief system that underpins our religion and gives direction to our lives.
Paul called it “the truth”(2) or “the gospel.” Paul also called it “the faith,” as did Peter(3) and Jude.4 It brings salvation and is the basis for God’s judgment. It can also be wandered away from, rejected, perverted, suppressed and exchanged – all to the detriment of those who mishandle it in these ways.(4)
But what constitutes this “truth?” What is it we are called on to believe?
This series of essays attempts to boil it down. They are not the end of the matter, but I hope they will be a place to begin. If you want to chase down the basis for what I am writing here, you will find additional information and comments in the footnotes at the bottom of each presentation.
1 Often called the “Nicean Creed.” It was developed to counter what Christian leaders correctly regarded as false teaching regarding the nature of Jesus. As such, the creed was used as a measure to delineate the faithful from the unfaithful. Because of the divisive nature of creeds, and because the heritage of the Church of Christ is that we are a unity movement, we have been loathe to publish creeds – which is why the “what we believe” section of most of our web sites is fairly short, or non-existent. It doesn’t mean we don’t believe anything, or that we are reluctant to believe particular things, but we would rather simply say “we have no creed but the Bible.”
2 Romans 1:18, 25
3 1 Peter 5:9
4 Jude 3
5 See Galatians 1:7; Ephesians 1:13; Philippians 1:16, 27