Christianity – Dogma, Definitions, and Beliefs
Are you curious about Christianity?
Maybe you want to know why Christianity is the most widely practiced religion in the world, or maybe you want to better understand what it is your Christian friends and family members believe.
Or, if you are a Christian, maybe you have questions about the essentials of the faith but were embarrassed to ask.
No matter your reasons for reading today’s blog, we hope it answers some of the lingering questions you have about Christianity and ultimately leads you to further discussion.
If you believe in any religion, you have dogma.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines dogma as “a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church.”
Dictionary.com defines doctrine as “a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government.”
Essentially, dogma refers to the fundamental beliefs of a religion. If you go to a church, you are taught its doctrine.
Therefore, let’s take some time to look at five of the most fundamental beliefs of Christianity. If someone tells you he or she is a Christian, then it means they believe the following things are true.
The Bible is God’s Holy Word
Religions have a sacred text.
For Christians, the sacred text is the Holy Bible.
Christians believe the Holy Bible is God’s Word to us.
While Christians do not believe God wrote the Bible, they do believe He inspired it, and the Holy Spirit (a part of the Holy Trinity) guided humans to write it.
As such, Christians believe it is true and use it as their authoritative guide for their beliefs and daily living.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for
teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
-- 2 Timothy 3:16
There is One God, and He is the Creator of the Universe
The History Channel sums up this belief well: “Christians are monotheistic, [which means] they believe there’s only one God, and he created the heavens and the earth. This divine Godhead consists of three parts: the father (God himself), the son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit.”
God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are co-equal and one God.
This core belief separates Christianity from other religions.
Jesus is the Son of God
Moreover, Christians believe Jesus is both the Son of God and co-equal with God.
Christians believe Jesus was fully human, as well as being fully God.
Christians believe Jesus was born and lived as human here on Earth, died on a cross, but then rose from the dead (known as the resurrection) and ascended to Heaven.
Side note – even those who do not believe in Jesus Christ’s resurrection do believe he existed.
The History Channel explains, “Most historians believe that Jesus was a real person who was born between 2 B.C. and 7 B.C. Much of what scholars know about Jesus comes from the New Testament of the Christian Bible.”
What separates scholars who do not claim to be Christians from Christians is the miracle and the purpose of the resurrection.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” -- 1 Peter 3:18
Salvation is Freely Given If You Accept It
Christians believe Jesus died and rose again for a purpose.
Christians believe this was a purposeful action birthed out of God’s great love for us.
Jesus did not have to die on the cross, but He chose to die to save and redeem us from our sins.
Then, he rose again demonstrating his power over death and giving us hope in the resurrection.
When we speak of Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins, we are talking about salvation.
The belief that we can be saved from our sins is essential to Christianity.
In contrast to other religions, Christians believe salvation is freely given and granted to anyone who confesses and renounces their sin and believes in the atoning work of Jesus death and resurrection.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
– Titus 3:4-7
Humans Will Live Eternally with God or without God
Another essential belief of Christianity is that humans will live for eternity.
Sadly, while Christians do believe humans will live for eternity, they do not believe everyone will live in eternity with God.
This means those who do not accept Jesus’ gift of salvation will spend an eternity separated from Him, while those who have been saved will spend eternity with Him.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
– John 3:16
Differences in Christianity
There are three basic streams of Christianity: Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic.”
Similarly, there are many different denominations within Protestant Christianity that you may be familiar with, like Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian.
Typically, what distinguishes one denomination from another are interpretations of the Bible, traditions, and worship.
However, they all believe the essential dogma of Christianity.
Our beliefs are posted on our website at What We Believe at South Bay Bible Church.
We’d love to answer questions you may have about Christianity in general or our church’s doctrine.