Martin Thielen’s new well-written and pastorally-sensitive book, What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?: A Guide to What Matters Most., discusses what is most central — and necessary — for being a Christian. (For how to use this book in the church, see this site.)
Last week we finished up the things Christians don’t need to believe, and today we begin looking at what Christians do believe.
What would your top three be? Now let me do this from a different angle: You may know that Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, and in some ways many denominations, don’t have these discussions. Who should be making such decisions about what is necessary to believe, or what Christians do believe?
1. Jesus’ Identity: Who is Jesus? “the Christ, the Son of the living God” is the heart of Christianity. Thielen gives his “testimony” of faith in Christ, the most important decision he ever made in his life, in this chp.
2. Jesus’ Priority: what matters most. Relationships with God and with others matter most. Nice to see a focus on the Jesus Creed here. Thielen says it took twenty years for this to sink in.
3. Jesus’ Grace: Am I accepted? Even with our flaws, Jesus loves and accepts us as beloved children of God. He tells Tony Campolo’s story of the birthday party for prostitutes.
4. Jesus’ Work: Where is God? Although God is not limited to working through people, God primarily works through human instruments.
5. Jesus’ Example: What brings fulfillment? True fulfillment comes through serving others.