“Faith” is both a verb and a noun. Imagine Christian faith (noun) as an onion. Forget that it can bring tears to our eyes at times or that its sharp odor can drive others away. Focus on its layers. Let these represent our beliefs and practices.
How many of these could we shed before we reach a solid core—I know onions don’t have cores but go with me on this—a kernel of “onion-ness” that makes this an onion and not an artichoke or cabbage.
What is the irreducible content of faith? The minimum one has to know, believe and affirm to be a Christian? Many churches identify their cores in their creeds. To affirm the entire creed is to be orthodox; to disagree on any point is to be heretical.
During times of opposition, a coalition of churches and individuals may circle their wagons to protect non-negotiable truths. A century ago a group calling themselves “fundamentalists” identified five such fundamentals:
- Inerrancy of the Bible
- Virgin birth of Christ
- Substitutionary atonement of Christ
- Bodily resurrection of Christ
- Imminent return of Christ
Jesus Christ is central, as it should be in a faith that bears his name. But are these the most salient points about him? And does inerrancy deserve to be at the head of the list?
If you had to select five fundamentals for which you would go to the stake, what would they be?