Not those 5 points (though they, as phrases, don’t make you a Christian either) these 5 points:
1. The inerrancy of the autographs (or original writings) of scripture.
2. The virgin birth and deity of Christ.
3. The substitutionary view of the atonement.
4. The bodily resurrection of Christ.
5. The imminent return of Christ.
Why the fuss, you ask? These are all important points and I think excellent bible truth (though that last one will have some ‘splainin to do). The point is something that Bryan over at HotAir posted today. Click this pretty blue sentence to read it all.
It seems that the New York Times has run a piece on the New Evangelical Leadership in this country. I did not vote for them but they are Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. I think there is going to be the theological equivalent of rock-paper-scissors to determine who is going to replace Jerry Falwell as the voice of Evangelicalism. The Times will let us know the winner I am sure, them or Larry King.
But, dear reader, that is not why I draw your attention to Bryan’s post. Rather, I want you to see where he ends up:
He sets up the comment I care about (is the suspense killing you?) by quoting from an interview with NPR’s Juan Williams:
JUAN WILLIAMS, NPR: Picking up on this business about the disagreements between the fundamentalists and the Pentecostals, I mean, this struck me as news because when journalists write about it, we go to people like Robertson and Falwell to represent the evangelicals. And that’s the way it comes across, so it strikes me that we’re ill informed or you’re wrong. (Chuckles.) And secondly, that you’re not using this God-given influence you spoke of, because your influence is not showing up in the American media in terms of supplanting people who you would tell us are bogus.
MR. WARREN: Well, I tell you, that’s the reason I accepted this meeting, because I’m just tired of having other people represent me and represent the hundreds of thousands of churches where the pastors I’ve trained would nowhere, no way, relate to some of the supposed spokesmen of a previous generation.
Now the word “fundamentalist” actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones. (my (ed. Bryan’s) emphasis)
Bryan then tells us what the five fundamentals are and says this: drum rooooolllllll:
A savvy reporter at that Pew forum would have asked Warren, “Which of those five fundamentals represent a ‘very legalistic, narrow’ view of Christianity?” No one thought to ask him that, and the NYT reporters don’t report on his thinking in their piece either. It’s a conflict driven by Warren that entirely escapes the Times’ anthropological eye.
The answer, by the way, is none of the fundamentals represent a “narrow, legalistic” view of Christianity. They’re all essential beliefs. Believing in the fundamentals doesn’t make you a fundamentalist. It just makes you a Christian. The fundamentals were put together to unify Christians of all stripes on the basics that unite us. They’re not just fundamentalist in design or intent. So Warren either has his fundamentalism taxonomy wrong, or he has his theology wrong. A savvy reporter, given the opportunity, would ask him: “Which is it?” (emphasis al’s)
OK… now you know. Bryan, may I just say that you have stepped way out of bounds here. What is it that makes you a Christian? Believing these five statements, that makes you a Christian? Hmmm…
What does the Bible say it is that “makes one” a Christian…
How about this: Col 2:11-12
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism , in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Baptism has a shot, scripturally speaking, of making one a Christian. But if that is too “objective” for you then how about this:
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved . 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation .
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Nothing in there about original autographs or imminent return yet salvation has come to those who view the object of their faith rightly. So, the question might better be asked. “WHO makes one a Christian.” It is being buried WITH Him in Baptism. It is the PERSON you confess, not forming the right words, He is the Author and Finisher of your faith.
The five fundamentals are helpful and good, as far as they go. They just do not go as far as Bryan would like.
Talk amongst yourselves…