23 Responses to “Credo Clip: What are the Essentials?”

  1. I am a big fan of Tim Kimberley! His book “The Reason for God” is an apologetical masterpiece!

    Thank you for this clip! It is easy to understand yet solid. Just like his other books.


  2. I hope that the comment from Sola Christus above is a joke. Otherwise I am totally speechless!

  3. Sola, I believe you have Tim Keller in mind

  4. Richard Worden Wilson April 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Why should we go beyond the Apostles writings to what the church later started saying “so clearly” about “what the church for all time, has always believed”: Trinity? Hypostatic union? Please, if the Apostles didn’t require such language why should we? Deut. 6:4 says nothing about a trinity. The Apostles never spoke in terms of 100% this and 100% that; sorry. Why can’t we stick to the Apostles essentials rather than insist on our own? Yes, we believe God exists and his Son died for our sins, was raised on the third day for our justification, and yes the Bible is God’s word, and Jesus will return, not just for us but for the judgment of all. So, this clip seems to me to reflect both the essentials of Christian belief plus some extra stuff we ougth to acknowledged as being extra-biblical.

  5. Richard,

    Unfortunately your criteria will exclude the canon of Scripture too.

    Besides, using a term and expressing a concept are not the same things. did the apostles use Triados or Trinitas? No. Did they express the teaching? yes.

  6. Unfortunatley for Tim, what historically has been believed will exclude things like sola fide, Reformed Christology, a penal theory of the atonement, and a number of other Protestant distinctives. And it will include things Protestants generally reject like Christ’s presence in the eucharist, baptismal regeneration, apostolic succession and so on.

  7. Richard Worden Wilson April 19, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Perry @ 5,
    In what manner does what I said exclude “the canon of scripture”?

    If the Apostles had said specifically what the later church councils did then the later definitions would have been superfluous. The conclusions of the councils come out of logical argumentation beyond what scripture itself presents to us; however being based on scripture one may understand those arguments to have been, the specifics of the conclusions are not necessarily the same as the teachings of the Apostles. The historical assumptions of tradition ought not to be presupposed as equivalent to the Apostles’ teaching.

  8. Richard, the apostles don’t pick out a canon for you in the NT documents, and so we have to go beyond the apostles writings to come up with a canon. If we don’t as yhou suggest then we won’t have a canon.

    Your argument is mistaken for you are supposing that there was no way to plausibly misread the NT documents and history says otherwise. It was the intrusion of philosophy in Arianism for example that lead to such misreadings. Hence the work of the councils in many cases was disentangling philosophical conceptions from the church’s theology.

    Further your argument on the subject is a product of logical argumentation that goes beyond the apostles writings and so we should discared what you argue as well.

  9. Perry,

    While the writers on this blog likely would consider sola fide of some limited form to be an essential I know for certain that at least CMP wouldn’t consider either penal subsitution or Reformed Theology to be essential.

  10. The Word, alone, is essential.

  11. I dont know if I am alone on this, but after watching the clip I was left wondering: “The essentials of the Christian faith for what?”. Basically, I agree these are important topics, but are these being explained as essential for a church, a Bible Study, Christianity in general, salvation, etc… I know that the topic is an important one and one that causes much debate depending upon denominational ties, but my response after watching the video was one of being puzzled. I did not clearly understand why those particular topics and terms (must both be understood – topics and terms?) and to what degree? I think the degree is an important area as well considering that no one can fully understand the hypostatic union OR the trinity. But my main question going back to the beginning is the essentials for what? I think that would help clear up a wealth of questions (for me at the very least).

  12. Michael T.

    Then the point still sticks with regard to sola fide at the least. It certainly was not widely believed (since not at all) prior to the Reformation-ts not in Augustine, Chrysostom, Cyril, Athanasius or any of the major fathers, not to mention not being in any of the Latin Scholastics

  13. Perry,

    Perhaps a clarification. I can’t speak for CMP’s articulation of what a limited form of sola fide is, I can only articulate my own understanding. I would say that people are actually saved through faith alone, but that belief in faith alone is not necessary for salvation. What I mean by this is that someone who believes that they must have faith, but also must do these particular works is in fact a saved individual. However, that salvation is ultimately solely based upon their faith.

  14. Michael T,

    I don’t think that will work. Here is why. The video made a claim about what was always beleived and taught> Sola fide fails by a long shot.

    Sola fide is a specific thesis, namely that faith is the formal cause of jsutification, that faith of itself does not please God, itis meritoriously worthless before God, but it functions as a conduit or a highway by which the transfer of moral credit and demerit is made or travels, and is then applied to agents extrinsically. This does not happen by love or hope, but faith alone. So sola fide is not the idea that I have faith and God does the rest. Rather it is the idea that faith links me with the merits of Christ and not any other virtue and the virtue of faith iself is worthless in and of itself. That idea is not expressed in any church Father or council that I know of prior to the Reformation. Augustine certainly didn’t believe it for example. Sola fide is therefore a later theological development.

  15. Perry,

    You know I don’t think Tim identified Sola Fide as a essential anywhere in the video thus making this a little bit of a wild goose chase. That being said the fact that it was a later development does not in my opinion necessarily make it wrong, however I would agree that belief in it specifically is not essential to being saved or even being within the realm of historical orthodoxy (which is what I was trying to say above).

  16. Michael T.,

    I don’t that works either. here’s why. Is historical orthodoxy equivalent with the essentials? If not, then this doesn’t engage the point. As to the necessity of exact conceptual content having salvific value, that is a non all issue for all sides so it is not relevant.

    If it is a later development then it can’t be, per Protestant arguments against Catholic later developments, of the apostolic deposit. That kind of undercuts…oh…the entire legitimacy for the Reformation.

  17. Perry,

    I don’t think Reformer’s arguments were against progressive revelation, but rather concerned the conviction that RC teachines directly contradicted revelation.

  18. Michael,

    Sure the Reformed have consistently argued against revelation outside of the canon of Scripture. Just look at Warfield’s work Counterfeit Miracles, and other works.

    Secondly doctrinal development isn’t the idea of progressive reevelation. So I think you’re confusing two very different things. In any case, if the criteria above for essentials is what Christians have always believed and taught, then plenty of Protestant distinctives fail to qualify.

  19. Perry,

    ” In any case, if the criteria above for essentials is what Christians have always believed and taught, then plenty of Protestant distinctives fail to qualify.”

    Could you elaborate on this? Because I know many Protestants who, while believing in the Protestant distinctives, wouldn’t consider them essential to the faith.

  20. Michael T,

    Well when I evaluate a position I do so base don its representative sources or theologians. So I try to stick to a Confession and how those documents have been in the main interpreted by major theologians, synods and such. So when I speak of the Reformed, I am speaking in terms of what those bodies have historically professed in their confessional documents and what their major theologians have put forward, and not on what this or that set of individuals say. Historically and confessionally, the Reformed have taken Sola Fide to be essential-why and what would justify shcism over a non-essential? That I take to be an uncontroversial point. so I would say your friends are simply dissenting and/or inconsistent with their tradition.

  21. Perry,

    I think we may be equivocating on what is meant by essential. When I use the word I mean simply that which must be believed for salvific purposes. I obviously believe that Sola Fide is a major issue and worth separating over. However, I don’t believe that this makes those who believe is Faith+Works unsaved (now I recognize that some may disagree with this – especially in the Reformed tradition – I am not personally of that tradition though).

  22. Micahel T,

    Well then you’d be endorsing a thesis that specific mental content is required for salvation or that union with God requires a certain level of cognitive development and content. That’s going to create problems in Christology since it will imply that humanity can’t be united to God at conception, but at a later point and only thru the mind, presto, Apollinarianism.

    I don’t think it is a fair representation to say that any major position teaches “faith+works” unless you want to lump Augustine and the entire pre-Reformation tradition under that designation, as Augustine uncontroversially held that we participate and contribute to our justification under grace.

    If Sola Fide is a “major issue” then is it your contention there is something lower down on the normative scale from essentials that still justifies separation? So the essentials don’t justify it but somethig of lesser importance does?

  23. Michael T,

    My first point is meant to endorse the thesis that one can be a receiver of grace without having specific mental content and abilities.

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