Tim Kimberley the Executive Director at Credo House has a great series called Elder Questions over at the Parchment and Pen blog. In a recent post he posed the question (or rather he was posed the question)
list 6 core convictions concerning which you (as elder) will never give in, nor even bend on, as you lead the church and reference at least 3 scriptures [in] support [of] each one.
I think this is a great question to wrestle with. Here are my six.
1. God created all things seen and unseen
In keeping with the intent of this question, I am not necessarily addressing how long it took or even how long ago that occurred (although these are important). Here the central conviction is that God exists outside of His creation, outside of space and time, and is the First Cause of all that exists. This is probably the most central claim of the Scriptures and the one that can be seen in creation itself.
- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1; Isa 42:5; 45:18)
- the living God made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. (Acts 14:15; 17:24; John 1:1-3; Col 1:16-17)
- the heavens declare the glory of God (Rom 1:20; Psalm 19:1-6)
- Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,for you created all things (Heb 1:10; 11:3; Rev 4:11)
2. all people are sinners who will be judged by God
All people are loved by God, but have rebelled against Him (ie sinned). All people will be judged in the last days and everyone will find themselves under condemnation without the atoning blood of the Messiah.
- None is righteous, no, not one (Isa 59:2; 64:6; Rom 3:9-18; 23)
- He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed (Isa 11:3-5; Acts 17:30-31)
- we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ and he will judge the living and the dead (2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5)
- we are by nature under wrath and condemned (John 3:18, 36; Eph 2:1-3)
3. Jesus is the Messiah promised to Israel and the world
The creation is cursed and people are broken as a consequence of rebelling against God (which occurred at the Fall). However, God had a rescue plan that He has revealed over the span of human history. That rescue plan centers on the promised Messiah who came through Israel and the line of David.
- Who do you say that I am? the Messiah (Mark 8:29)
- The Messiah was promised to Israel as a blessing to the entire world (Gen 12:3; Acts 3:25; Gal 3:8)
- The Messiah was promised to come through the Davidic line (2 Sam 7:12-16; Psalm 132:11; Acts 13:22-23)
4. Jesus died and rose again
The central claim of Christianity is that Jesus came, died, was buried, and rose again. The rescue plan required a sinless Messiah to die for a sinful people and Paul goes so far as to say that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead than Christianity is wrong.
- that which is of first importance (1 Cor 15:1-3, 17-18)
- the Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom (Mark 10:45; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13)
- what God promised He has fulfilled by raising Jesus giving us assurance (Acts 13:30-32, 17:31)
5. eternal life (release from condemnation) is by grace through faith in Jesus
Jesus cancelled the debts that stand against us and that we could not pay in order to provide hope and forgiveness to everyone. This freedom from condemnation is available to all who receive Christ.
- whoever believes will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16-18; Acts 13:38-39)
- we are saved by grace, through faith, not works (Eph 2:8-9; Rom 4:2-3)
- we are not saved by our works but in order to do good works (Titus 3:5, 2:14; Eph 2:10)
6. Jesus will return again to establish His kingdom and restore creation
In keeping with the intent of this question, I am not necessarily addressing the timing of Jesus’ return in relation to other events (pre/post tribulation). Here the central conviction is that Jesus is going to return to judge the living and the dead, to establish His kingdom, and to renew creation.
- He will come a second time to save those who are waiting for Him (Heb 9:27-28; 1 Thess 1:10)
- When the Son of Man comes in his glory, he will sit on his glorious throne. (Dan 7:13-14; Matt 25:31)
- the Christ will return to restore all things (Acts 3:20-21; Rom 8:19-22)
These core beliefs are rooted in Scripture and they are also the main tenets of the “Rule of Faith” and the creeds of the early church. The creeds (and the essentials of orthodoxy) was a topic explored on this blog in the past (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4).