The non-negotiable essential doctrines of classical Christianity are:
- Final authority of scripture - The Bible is the final standard of measure (i.e. canon) for Christians (i.e. sola scriptura). Inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), written down by humans. It is the final authority and without it nothing can be affirmed or asserted with confidence. Including the remaining doctrines in this list! No extrabiblical tradition, prophesying, papal decrees, or additional books hold authority over biblical scripture (Psalm 19:7).
- The bodily resurrection of Jesus - Jesus was crucified to death and return from death alive again. On this single historically verifiable event hangs all of Christianity. If he did not return from death, then Christianity is worthless (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, John 2:19-21).
- Jesus is God - John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14. Also, John 1:1, John 14, John 10:30-33, Col 2:9, Philippians 2:5-8 and, 1 John 4:2-3
- Monotheism - God has no equal. There is only one un-caused, first cause, supreme being, and creator. Isaiah 44:6
- Original Sin - All humans do evil and are culpable. In other words, sin renders everyone guilty before a perfectly good God. (Romans 3:23)
- Salvation by grace alone through trust in Jesus alone (sola fide) - Christ alone served the guilty sentence for human sin. Christians trust in Jesus alone to save them from an eternal separation from God due to human sinfulness (Romans 11:6, John 6, Eph. 2:8-9)
These essentials are not an argument for the rationality of the classical Christianity worldview. That is a separate matter. The purpose of listing these essential beliefs is to assert and clarify the non-negotiable fundamental beliefs of classical Christianity. If anyone holds these essentials as untrue and negotiable then they are clearly beyond the pale of classical Christianity (i.e. not Christian) .
Additionally, the essential classical Christian doctrines are in contradiction to the beliefs of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Atheism, Deism, Islamism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism. If Christianity is objectively true then all other competing, comprehensive claims, to reality, broadly speaking, are false . Logically everyone could be wrong. But what can’t follow is based on contradictorily objective truth claims from each they are all true. They all make truth claims that logically contradict the other . If one is true, the rest are broadly speaking, logically false.
- The scripture itself declares these doctrines as essentials or logic requires it. If anyone or any group denies these essentials they should be considered non-Christian in the classical sense of the word. Additionally, any group that adds to the classical writings of the Church, and claims them inspired from God, no longer holds alone to classical Christianity.
- All worldviews contain parts from the one true reality, it could be no other way. e.g. Science works, thus scientism contains parts of the true reality objectified by Christianity (mainly that science produces truth). Thus science does contain true parts, but as a comprehensive explanation to reality it falls very short as a robust meta narrative to all of reality (Why are we here. What am I. Where did I come from. Where am I going. What is my current condition. Am I free. etc...).
- For a more detailed explanation on how all other religions contradict classical Christianity see the Doctrine Grid by Matt Slick. The reason for pointing out the contradictions is not to determine which view is true. The point is that only one can be true due to the fact that each logically contradicts the other.
- Slick, Matt. Essential Doctrines of Christianity. https://carm.org. 11/23/08. https://carm.org/essential-doctrines-of-christianity
- Koukl, Greg. Essential Christian Doctrines. http://www.str.org/. 02/20/2013. http://www.str.org/articles/essential-christian-doctrines#.WDoOSaIrJE4
- Christian Research Institute. What is essential Christian doctrine?. http://www.equip.org/. August 24th, 2010. http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/what-is-essential-christian-doctrine/
- Grace to You. What Doctrines Are Essential?. Part 1, Part 2, Part3, http://www.gty.org/. http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA199/what-doctrines-are-essential--part-1, http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA200/What-Doctrines-Are-Essential--Part-2, http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA201/What-Doctrines-Are-Essential--Part-3