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Basic Beliefs | Deity of Christ | Covenants | Creeds | Seven I am's | Faith, Hope and Love | Trinity | Grace vs Works | Spiritual Disciplines

Christianity is at least three things:

  • A set of beliefs
  • A way of life
  • A community of people
Source: soc.religion.christian newsgroup

Basic Beliefs:

  • The sovereignty of God, creator of Heaven and Earth. [For many Christians the principal of "theistic evolution" is consistent with what we know thru science and the Bible.]
  • Our knowledge of God and God's purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ, his son.
  • Christ died on the cross, bearing the punishments that we deserved because of our sins.
  • He was resurrected and rose to Heaven where he sits at the right hand of God.
  • The Holy Spirit is the bond that unites us with God. This is not "the Force." God is personal, so the Holy Spirit is a personal presence.
Covenants - Promises made by God dependent upon faith or obedience on the part of men.

Deity of Christ:
Christ was the only founder of a religion who claimed to be a deity.
Christians believe he was the son of the one and only God.
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity teaches the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead.
See Trinity below.

A lot of the Deity proof lies in the Resurrection Stories.

The seven "I am's":
Jesus said 'I am' on seven occasions recorded in John.

  1. "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger." John 6:35
  2. "I am the light of the world; he who fallows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12
  3. "I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." John 10:9
  4. "I am the good shepherd; The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:11
  5. "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies." John 11:25
  6. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6
  7. "I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardner." John 15:1
* The divinity of Jesus Christ is further illustrated in John 8:58. Jesus said, "Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am"
Trinity:
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity teaches the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead.
See the trinity page.

Faith, Hope and Love:
The triad of Faith, Hope and Love is found many times in the new testament.

One of the best know is in the Love chapter [1 Cor 13] "Love is patient, love is kind, ...", which ends with "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (charity)." [1 Cor 13:13]

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. [1 Th 1:3]

These attributes are also prominent in the old testament.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. [1 Heb 11:1]
See also faith vs reason

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. [1 Isa 40:30-31]

When asked "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" Jesus answers:
"The most important one is ...Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' [Mark 12:28-31]

These come from:
[Deuteronomy 6:4-5] - "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."
and [Leviticus 19:18] "love your neighbor as yourself."

See also: Love as a human emotion.

Commandments of Christ:

There are several different lists of the commandments of Christ. Some are at:
Num Source Web link
100 Listed in 11 categories by Robert Roberts of the Christadelphians cdelph.org
53 By Scott Stewart of the San Francisco Ecclesia ChristaDelphia.org
8+ 8 main commandments with about 20 sub-commandments at Your Bible Prophecy Website 888c.com

Grace vs Works

See also: Bible topics

Nearly 2/3rds of the parables Jesus gave deal with money.
See money on the bible topics page.

Spiritual Disciplines:

Christians over the years have learned that certain disciplines and practices help them keep the spiritual channels open and help keep the heart turned toward God.
The following three lists came from the 2008 disciplines list at the Presbyterian Church USA Website (pcusa.org/spiritualformation/disciplines.htm)
(The new website (gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/spiritualformation/disciplines/) doesn't have the same list.)
Inward
 - Meditation
 - Prayer
 - Fasting
 - Study
Outward
 - Simplicity
 - Solitude
 - Submission
 - Service
Corporate
 - Confession
 - Worship
 - Guidance
 - Celebration
In Celebration of Discipline: by
Richard Foster
 - Honoring the Body
 - Hospitality
 - Household Economics
 - Saying Yes and Saying No
 - Sabbath Keeping
 - Testimony
 - Discernment
 - Shaping Communities
 - Forgiveness
 - Healing
 - Dying Well
 - Singing Our Lives
From: Practicing our Faith The Valparaiso Project
 - Worshipping God together
 - Sharing the Christian story
 - Interpreting the Bible and church
 - Prayer
 - Encouragement and vocation
 - Faithful service and witness
 - Generous giving and receiving
 - Suffering with and for others
 - Hospitality
 - Listening and talking attentively
 - Consciousness of our context
 - Resistance to destructive forces
 - Work with and for life-giving powers and patterns
From: Growing in the Life of Faith (Craig Dykstra)
Creeds:
Creeds and Confessions are statements of faith. The creeds do not masquerade as Scripture and many specifically point out that it is the Scriptures themselves which are "the only infallible rule of faith and practice." Instead these human documents are carefully considered and usually thoughtfully worded responses to various issues, heresies and historical situations that have troubled the Church and the world over the centuries.

Apostles' Creed:
The Symbolum Apostolorum was developed between the second and ninth centuries. It is the most popular creed used in worship by Western Christians.

"I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN."

See: "Apostles' Creed" at soc.religion.christian - What are Major Christian Beliefs

Nicene

Usually associated with the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381) this symbol is an expansion and revision of the earlier Creed of Nicaea with which it is often confused.

Christ Centered Life

Most Christians try to lead their lives based on Christian values, but Is that enough? You will hear that you must "Be born again", "Turn your life over to Christ", "Lead a Christ-centered life".
In John 3:3 Christ tells Nicodemus a Jewish Pharisee and leader who came to him for advice: "Verily, verily I say unto you: Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Many Christians who drifted away from their religion or never had it can point to a time when they were "born again" and their life was dramatically changed. Either with a sense of fulfillment and purpose when they felt empty before or by breaking away from an addiction which was destroying their lives.
However, most Christians who were running half full, don't feel such a dramatic change, even if they go forward and accept Christ after a religious talk or event. They are a little worried that "turning their life over to Christ" means leaving their current way of life and joining a Monastery or Missionary movement or becoming a "Jesus freak".

I haven't found a general consensus on what it means to "turn your life over or make a commitment to Christ", but it doesn't mean becomming a Missionary. The Spiritual Diciplines (above) will open you to the Holy Spirit and allow you to lead an abundant life filled with the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.).

Four Spirutal Laws

The Campus Crusade for Christ, a conservative christian organization, has defined four spiritual laws.
Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws which govern your relationship with God.
  1. God LOVES you and offers a wonderful PLAN for your life. [John 3:16 , John 10:10 ]
  2. Man is SINFUL and SEPARATED from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life. [Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23]
  3. Jesus Christ is God's ONLY provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life. [John 14:6 , Romans 5:8 ]
  4. We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives. [Revelations 3:20 , John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:1-8]

Books:
"Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self", by Marilynne Robinson
(four loosely coupled essays, any one of which can stand alone, titled "On Human Nature," "The Strange History of Altruism," "The Freudian Self," and "Thinking Again.")
Other popular authors at Christianity.

links:
Bible Topics
Political Issues (Abortion, Homosexuality, Environment, Evolution, ...)
Social, Moral, Ethical Issues (Abortion, Homosexuality, Adultery, Women, ...)
Prayer in particular circumstances
10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Bible | OnFaith
10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity at Campus Crusade.


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last updated 8 Aug 2013