Faith: The One, Holy, Christian Church


     In several posts, I have mentioned the concept of the ‘One, Holy, Christian Church’. 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.

     If one attends a confessional Christian church, one regularly confesses a belief in this One, Holy, Christian Church though the Apostles’ 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.

     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 Christian’s ear in the form of the Bible.

     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 Jesus’ perfect life, innocent death, and glorious resurrection is all that is needed to be saved from sin and to receive eternal life.

     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.

     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.

     It has been said that one should not ask whether those Christians that came before would have qualified to belong to one’s modern denomination, but whether one’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.

     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.


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5 Responses to Faith: The One, Holy, Christian Church

  1. chrispy85 says:

    Per our “offline conversation” last night — the Tradition consists of what all Christians of all time have always believed.

    I’m not sure that’s exactly the same content as what we call “saving faith” (in the “bare minimum” sense), and I’m not sure that everyone who has “saving faith” is in the Tradition, strictly speaking.

    Can a person be “in Christ”/”saved”/”going to heaven” and not be in the Tradition?

    Is being “in the Tradition” the same as being a member of the One, Holy, Christian and Apostolic Church? Is the One Church the same as the “invisible” church?

    I think this is a matter of the nuances of the term “Tradition”. Can we take this word in a “broad” and “narrow” sense? I think we can, and when we realize that, then some of the confusion goes away.

    Spinning around on the merry-go-round,

  2. dlhitzeman says:

    I’m not sure that the ‘Tradition’ and the ‘One, Holy, Christian Church’ are necessarily the same enitity, although I am fairly sure that the ‘One, Holy, Christian Church and the ‘Invisible’ church are the same.

    I think that the Tradition encompasses more than just the One, Holy Christian Church, therefore making the Church part of the Tradition in some sense, however I suspect it is possible to be part of the Church without being part of the Tradition.

    I guess the big question becomes whether the Tradition is all-encompassing, or whether there is a dividing line between the Church and Tradition. I lean toward the latter, simply because there are significant parts of the tradition, that while important for preserving the theology and doctrine of the Church, are not necessary for salvation.


  3. chrispy85 says:

    So, if I understand you correctly, we agree.

    The One, Holy Christian Church is a great big (invisible) entity. Certain members of this hold to more of “the Tradition” than others — in fact, it might be fairly said that some members of the One Church are not in the Tradition at all (but that doesn’t matter quite so much since they’re still “in the Church” and “going to heaven.”)

    In the giant Venn diagram of all this, the One Church is a big circle. The Tradition is a smaller circle, entirely enclosed by the bigger circle. Various denominations overlap the Tradition circle to varying degrees. Some denominational circles lie completely outside the Tradition circle but still exist withing the One Church, and some parts of some denominations fall outside the One Church pale (gross heretics and hypocrites).

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