A Reluctant Follower’s Confession of Faith (Part Two)
At its heart, authentic Christianity and salvation are quite basic: We are saved by Grace (Acts 15:11; Ephesians 2:5, 8-9), through Faith (Romans 1:17; 3:21-31), in baptism (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12, I Peter 3:21), for good works (Philippians 2:13; James 2:14-26).
It’s that simple. Nothing more, nothing less.
Read the book of Acts to see how the early church centralized around these core doctrines. Paul reveals to the Ephesian church the unifying element of Christianity is agreement upon some simple ONES: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Greek: immersion); one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:3-6).” Christians can agree to disagree about many things (and do), but upon these seven foundational beliefs Christianity unifies.
So it should be easy to find authentic Christians and churches today. Are they immersed believers who LIVE their Faith exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control [Galatians 5:22-23])?
Do they (as a body of believers) believe in “one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?” Do they teach a salvation “by grace, through faith, in baptism, for good works?”
If not, they’re transposing Truth or skirting Scripture or massaging the Message for earthly gain, power or convenience. The church is full of people, including well-meaning pastors and teachers, who (out of ignorance, theological tradition, misunderstanding or, on rare occasion, disobedience) promote doctrinal half-truths and biblical myths. Many doctrines (from purgatory to rapture) are more fanciful imagination than Divine revelation. But tradition does not trump Truth and, face it, the modern church is riddle with rituals, traditions and dogmas foreign to the Christianity taught by Jesus and revealed by His apostles.
It’s time to call the Church back to its core.