Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost laments the fact that so many Christians see it as their God-given mission in life to rip apart the theological beliefs of other Christians. It's not that beliefs aren't important, but some beliefs are very important and some are not. It's unfortunate that Christians too often can't tell the difference.
Which are the important beliefs, the ones that we really can't be Christians without believing? Well, I wouldn't want to argue about the list, but I'll suggest these seven propositions are pretty much the sine qua non of Evangelical belief. It would be hard to maintain a muscular Christian faith while denying any one of these seven affirmations.
1. God exists
2. Scripture is authoritative
3. Man is fallen
4. Death is not the end of our existence
5. Jesus is in some sense divine
6. Jesus' death on the cross is essential to our eternal life
7. Jesus rose literally and historically from the dead
The reader may disagree with some of the above or, more likely, may wish to include other propositions in addition to these seven. That's fine, but this is what I consider to be the core of Christian belief, what C.S. Lewis called "mere Christianity," and over the days leading us to Christmas I wish to elaborate on each of these claims and explain how and why I believe each is essential to Christian faith.