Â Â Â Â In several posts, I have mentioned the concept of the â€˜One, Holy, Christian Churchâ€™. In those references, I often refer to this church in the context of what one believes, but just as often I do not explain what that belief might be. In this post, I will attempt at least, to define this One, Holy, Christian Church, this church to which all Christians must necessarily belong.
Â Â Â Â If one attends a confessional Christian church, one regularly confesses a belief in this One, Holy, Christian Church though the Apostlesâ€™ and Nicene Creed. This confession of belief is in a church, a body of Christians, that stretches unbroken from Jesus Christ, through the past two millenniums of Christianity, to all Christians living today. This church represents the belief of all Christians in all times in the irreducible whole of the Gospel, that core of faith without which no one can be saved.
Â Â Â Â What this means is that every Christian today must necessarily believe what every Christian who has ever lived believed. The faith of the Christian is an empirical thing, established by the Gospel and pure and true from when it was first preached to when it reached each Christianâ€™s ear in the form of the Bible.
Â Â Â Â It is the belief in the fallen, sinful nature of man, the impossibility of fulfilling the Law, the need for a savior, the fact that Jesus was that savior, and that faith in Jesusâ€™ perfect life, innocent death, and glorious resurrection is all that is needed to be saved from sin and to receive eternal life.
Â Â Â Â Indeed, it is this faith that every Christian, from the first disciples that followed Jesus as He began His ministry in the region of Galilee to the newest Christian today, must believe in order to be saved. This is the unaltered, unadulterated faith of the Body of Christ, united in the Gospel, without which no one can be saved, and the Means of Grace.
Â Â Â Â Unfortunately, especially in these modern times, there is too much emphasis on what church one belongs to. Too many Christians trace their faith back to when their particular denomination began, ignoring that there were Christians far before even that church began. In doing so, too many Christians confuse the faith of the One, Holy Christian Church with the new doctrines of churches that are sometimes little more than the current fad.
Â Â Â Â It has been said that one should not ask whether those Christians that came before would have qualified to belong to oneâ€™s modern denomination, but whether oneâ€™s modern denomination belongs to the church of those previous Christians. The essence of that saying is the essence of the Christian belief, and that is each of us has a personal faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that belief is the same as all Christians. Everyone is saved by the same Gospel, the same faith, and with the goal of the same Heaven.
Â Â Â Â This is not to say that only certain denominations are going to Heaven, but there is no doubt, that regardless of denomination, all Christians believe the same thing. In this sameness of faith, all Christians should seek the unity of the Body of Christ and membership in the One, Holy, Christian Church of all times from Christ until now.