What defines Biblical Christianity?

The Christian interwebs have been filled lately with various people being called heretics. Rob Bell is just the latest, with people calling him a universalist and someone who does not believe in hell.

When I was in my doctoral program at George Fox Seminary, one of my cohort buddies, Dan Kimball, posed a question to the rest of us. He asked, “What defines orthodoxy in Christianity?” This was a very powerful question. As the answers began to flow in, there was a mix of historic Christian confessions and denominational dogma. I’m not even sure we settled the question.

At this moment in history it may be well worth asking and answering that question. How do you define Biblical Christianity? Is it through historic creeds such as the apostle’s creed, the nicene creed, or some other creed? Is it one of several historic confessions? Is it denominational dogma?

If pressed, what would you say are the minimum requirements for orthodoxy within Christianity?

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

He has also pastored 3 churches and loves to think about, write about and podcast about scripture, theology, and leadership.

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  • Too much time is spent in arguing over who’s in and who’s out.

    The core of Jesus’ teaching comes from the Torah, and binds just two texts together as orthopraxy.

    “Love GOD with all your heart, mind and strength.
    The second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.”

    It’s simple and challenging at the same time. As they say, just do it!

  • Biblical Christianity is the realization that as humans we haved sinned and that we are seperated from God because of sin. It also means we humans accept what Christ did on the cross to take away our sins and make us right with God. David Platt in is book “Radical” said it right. “The message of Biblical Christianity is not God loves me period, it is God loves me so that I will make His salvation, His glory, and His greatness known among all nations”
    Biblical Christianity also means that the Bible (orig text) is the final authority when if comes to matters of faith and what God want’s us to do to make ourselves rightous with him, and show His glory, not creeds or other human commands.

    • Clifford…I’ll buy that. So tell me…what are the beliefs that define biblical Christianity?

      Can you be a Christian and not believe in the trinity?
      Can you be a Christian and not believe in hell?
      Can you be a Christian and not believe in the rapture?

      There are hundreds of other questions that could be posed in this manner…”Can you be a Christian and not believe…” Is that where the ancient creeds come in? What are the minimums of Christian belief that define Christianity?

  • Australia is overtly a far more secular society than US, and churches know it. I have been a minister in the Uniting Church in Australia (marriage of Methodist, Presbyterian & Congregational) church for almost 25 years. I know the struggles over right belief inside-out.

    Christianity seemingly is wired to tie itself in knots over orthodoxy. I really have no quarrel with that at all, but think that it all misses the point like Jesus is reported as saying the Pharisees were obsessed with the minutiae of the Law, and some churches are obsessed with the minutiae of doctrine. It becomes a heavy burden to bear.

    I like B McLaren’s phrase ‘ a generous orthodoxy” and in day to day living suggest that it is taking the practice of Jesus seriously ( even when it is impossible) that actually graces our lives and relationships . Then it becomes a generous orthopraxy …

  • Beliefs of Biblical Christianity
    1) Jesus is the Son Of God
    2) He was born from a virgin
    3) Jesus is the second person of the trinity.(one God in three parts. Not three Gods.
    4) Jesus (God) came from Heaven to redeem man from sin by dying on the cross as a scrafice for our sins
    5) That he rose on the third day and ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God.
    6) That He (Jesus will return one day.
    This a list of the essesncials of Biblical Christianity that comes from the Bible, the word of God.
    Now to answer your question about heaven, the trnity, etc. I nor any other humans opinion, on what you have written is of any significance if David Platt is right and that is is not about us, it is about God and what He has written in the Bible. as his testimony to us His created beings. Hope that gives you at least a taste of Biblical Christianity.

  • Biblical Christianity is truly multicultured, and transforming. It can go anywhere on earth and feel right at home without skipping a beat. Just as it did 2,000 years ago when it went from Israel, to Turkey, to Greece, to Rome, to Africa, etc without change.
    It seems that man thinks that somehow we humans are His equals, and can influence His decesions about things we want, when we relly don’t. This may be shocking to some, but God really does not need us or our opinions to do what he want’s. We are not the center of His universe, but He is the center of ours, like it or not. Believe in Him or not.

  • Clifford…

    Thanks for your response. I think you are correct. However, as I will make clear in a future post, there are many who have set themselves up as the arbiter of biblical christian doctrine and anything outside of that is heresy. Certainly in the case of Rob Bell, some have made that assumption and have defined him as a heretic based on reading a publisher’s description of his newest book, reading 2 chapters of his newest book, and watching a promo video that does nothing but ask questions.

    So it is something we need to contemplate: at what point do we begin to approach someone about heresy and at what point to we acknowledge that there is room within a doctrine for differentiation, AND what doctrines offer that available variance.


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