Introduction: I read the other day that there are an estimated 43,000 Christian denominations in the world today. So, do we really need another one? Even so, who can possibly crawl through all those belief structures to find out if any relate to oneself? Where to begin? So, instead, I will describe the kind of church movement to which I would like to belong, based on my beliefs. I suspect it is aspirational, but maybe one day I will try…
This new denomination, called Simplist Christianity, seeks to simplify Christianity as much as possible.
The core, fundamental teaching of the faith is this: Jesus, the Messiah, Lord and Son of God, rose from the dead to save sinners.
To adhere to this faith, one must be born again. Adherents may be called “Christians,” “Born Again Christians,” or “Simplists.”
To be born again (and therefore to become a Christian), do this: Confess your sins to God, repent from your sins (turn away), and say this: “I believe that Jesus, the Messiah and Lord, rose from the dead.” Now you are a Christian and you are born again and saved.
By taking this step of faith, know this: God forgives you; God gives you new life; God replaces your heart of stone with a heart of flesh; God gives you his Spirit so you can remain faithfully his; God gives you eternal life so that after your body dies, your soul will be united with his.
As a new Christian, you first priorities every day are to love God and love people.
The core existence of the Christian life is thus: Repent; be born again; receive the Spirit and/or be baptized in the Spirit (and if desired, also in water); love God; love others; remember the sacrifice of Jesus whenever you eat (communion); pray; give; train and encourage others to do these same things.
Simplist Christianity affirms the Apostles Creed. To all other issues, we turn to the Bible. In conflict with other Christian beliefs (especially those that do not relate to salvation), we rely on the Bible, while humbly confessing, “Only God knows.” We strive for unity with all other born again believers.
New Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin, Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day, he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit and the holy universal church, which is the communion of born again believers.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
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Within this new denomination are elements that may remind some of American Evangelicals, Christadelphians, Charismatics, Arians (of Arius), ultra-orthodox Bible fundamentalists and Anabaptists. Below are aspects of this movement, in alphabetical order.
Baptism is allowed at or after the age of decision. Repentance and being born again must precede baptism. All converts must be Spirit baptized, which may or may not include water baptism. Water baptism is optional and is not a requirement for salvation. Many converts are involuntarily Spirit baptized at the moment they are born again. However, if a convert feels they have not been at least Spirit baptized at conversion, and if they desire for a separate spiritual experience, they can pray alone, or have a special time of group prayer with the laying on of hands. For both water and Spirit baptisms, converts can opt to be baptized in Jesus name only, or in the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” The convert and baptizer shall discuss both options and the convert shall decide. Infant baptism is not practiced, but babies and anyone below the age of decision can be dedicated by parents. Believers shall respect each other, even when differences exist.
Those who have been born again in Jesus are part of the worldwide family of faith. Therefore, humanity is divided into two groups: the Redeemed and the Rebellion. All humans start in the Rebellion, and later some join the Redeemed by following Christ. Based on the words of Jesus, we assume that the vast majority of humanity remains in the Rebellion and sadly will do so for all eternity. On the judgement day, when all must bow and confess Christ, the Redeemed will do so gladly; the Rebellion will do so against their will. The designations of Redeemed and Rebellion can be challenging and complex at times, since this arrangement does not cleanly follow denomination lines. Therefore, true believers do not use human-created denominations as a singular basis for recognizing the faithful. Sometimes, such determinations must be done on an individual basis.
The Bible is the best book for understanding the nature of God and of the Christ. It is the closest we have to the Word of God. The words of Jesus as recorded in the Bible are the believer’s primary standard for truth and wisdom (Solum Verbis Christi). The remainder of the Bible is to be used as the secondary source for truth and wisdom (Sola Scriptura). The New Testament represents the new covenant and therefore it takes priority over the Old Testament in areas of perceived conflict. Believers are encouraged to study, examine, analyze and scrutinize the Bible, in the same spirit as the Bereans.
The global Church is made up of the family of believers (see Believers above). The local congregations within that Church have various gifts, callings and purposes…just like believers. The variations in local fellowships are to ensure that all believers have a spiritual home and community. Simplist communities shall meet at least once a week for fellowship, worship and exhortation. The local church is not a building or an organization, it is just the collection of believers. Therefore, technically church exists when believers gather. Gatherings can be in homes or rented buildings if needed. Local fellowships shall strive to remain unregistered with governmental authorities, if at all possible.
There is no special clergy class. Leaders are identified and known because they are the servants of all. Some fellowships will opt to financially support certain members, and some will not. It is up to the local founding congregation to decide. Leaders should not be referred to with titles. Specifically, nobody should be called “Father” or “Pastor;” but if a title must be used, “Brother” or “Sister” shall suffice. Local congregations may opt to have an elected board that will oversee decisions when necessary. In other cases, where a board is not needed, more mature believers in fellowships shall preside and assume additional responsibilities as necessary. Weekly teaching and exhortation in churches will rotate among the believers who desire to share, and who are approved by those presiding.
Commands of Christ
Repent; be born again; receive the Spirit and/or be baptized in the Spirit (and if desired, also in water); love God; love others; remember the sacrifice of Jesus whenever you eat (communion); pray; give; disciple others.
The Apostles Creed.
Communion can be celebrated by any believer, at any time, with any food. It is not about the food; rather it is about the remembering—while eating meals—what Jesus has done for believers. Simplist Christianity rejects consubstantiation and transubstantiation.
All human physical bodies die eventually. Even so, the soul of a human persists after the bodily death. The souls of the Redeemed are immediately united with Christ, whereas the souls of the Rebellion presumably wait for the final Judgement. The words of Jesus may provide clarity and inspiration.
The Bible prescribes no singular diet. However, believers are encouraged to treat the body as a temple in which the Spirit lives, and therefore should try to eat and drink as healthily as possible.
Through God’s Spirit, Jesus can and does heal people today. Believers can also heal people the same way. For various reasons, healings do not always occur, just as not everyone learns from a specific teacher.
All believers are equal in Christ.
Financial contributions are ideally not to be collected in church services. However, donation boxes are available at assemblies for people who want to contribute to the ongoing maintenance.
Heaven and Hell
Simplist Christianity affirms that the Bible teaches a literal heaven and hell. On these subjects, the words of Jesus give insight into what we can expect regarding life after death.
The Holy Spirit (or just “Spirit”), is God’s manifestation in physical dimensions. Some believers believe that the Holy Spirit is a part of the Trinity, and others reject this. Similarly, some refer to the Holy Spirit as “he” and others as “it.” In both cases, it is up to the conviction of the believer to determine. Jesus can give the Spirit directly, and so can believers. The Holy Spirit is frequently transferred by the laying on of hands. The Spirit gives gifts to believers, which are described in the Bible.
Human Government and Politics
Jesus is King over His Kingdom, and believers are citizens of this Christ Kingdom. Therefore, Christian believers have no other kings or countries to which they pledge higher, or equal allegiance. Believers are cautioned about earthly politics, as they can easily, accidentally and inadvertently place faith and trust in humans instead of in King Jesus. Christians are allowed to join the military but are forbidden from participating in direct combat. Should they be ordered to fight, they will petition as conscientious objectors.
Jesus is the promised Messiah (the anointed one), and the Son of God. He is sinless and was born of a virgin. He died as a sacrifice for all, by being crucified unjustly. He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and he sits at the right hand of God. He will return to earth and judge the nations and all peoples at the end of the age. Some believers contend that Jesus is divine and others say not. But that distinction is not important as long as all believers accept Jesus as Lord and Messiah. Meaning, believers can accept or reject the divinity of Christ and still be faithful. It is not a condition of salvation to accept or reject the divinity of Christ.
Jesus has been given authority to judge, by his Father God. He will return to earth to judge the people of all nations.
Christian Marriage is between a biological man and a biological woman. The main purpose of Christian Marriage is to mate and be fruitful and produce offspring. For those believers who do not marry, there is celibacy. Celibacy is recognized as the highest Christian path, since it was the one chosen by Jesus, John the Baptist and many other noteworthy followers of Christ. However, not many are able to sustain the celibate lifestyle and they should marry.
The Bible can be interpreted to affirm or deny predestination. Therefore, believers are free to choose their particular preference.
Jews celebrated Saturday as the Sabbath. Christians have historically used Sunday. They day is not important, as long as for every believer, there is one day of rest in a week. In terms of gathering for worship, any day is acceptable, and local fellowships can decide.
You must be born again. That means confessing sin, declaring adherence to Jesus as Lord for the rest of your life, and determining that with the help of God to live a new life. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. You shall know a tree by its fruit; and you shall know a believer by their spiritual fruit. Some people believe it is possible to lose one’s salvation, and others not. It is up to the believer to form their own convictions.
Satan (aka Devil) is the present king and ruler of the earth; He indirectly controls all power, wealth (money) and non-Christian organizations. His purposes are to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus came to destroy the work of the Satan. Therefore, since the time of Christ’s appearing, Jesus and the Redeemed have been undermining and pushing back the darkness over the earth. Even so, the fallenness of a wicked and dying world is the work of Satan and his spiritual followers, also known as demons. Satan is a fallen angel.
Jesus will return to earth, in bodily form, just as he said he would. Most likely, that will take place in Jerusalem.
Human sexuality is based on biological mating protocol. Human sexuality for believers is expressed in either fruitfulness or faithfulness…that is, either in (1) Christian Marriage between a biological man and a biological woman (ie. fruitfulness) or (2) in celibacy (ie. faithfulness). Sexual immorality (which is to be repented of), is any sexual activity outside the bounds of a marriage between a biological woman and biological man.
The Bible is the source of deciding what is and what is not sin. When both the New and Old Testament speak about sin, the New Testament takes priority since it reflects the new covenant. Sin is to be repented of at salvation. Even so, believers who continue to sin should regularly practice the confession of sins to God and to other believers.
There is a spirit realm where spiritual beings operate. These beings are commonly referred to in the Bible as angels (messengers of God) and demons (in allegiance to Satan). Believers worship in spirit and in truth and therefore also partially operate in the spirit realm. Therefore, the words of Jesus provide believers with instructions on how to interface with the spirit realm.
The Trinity is accepted by some believers and rejected by others. It is up to the believer to select their preference. Similarly, the divinity of Christ is determined by the believers’ conviction and preference. It is not a condition of salvation to accept or reject either the Trinity or Christ’s divinity. Believers shall respect each other, even when differences exist.
©2019, Alignment Life