What Is Mere Christianity?

Posted By on October 1, 2019


I think that it’s helpful to think of
the Christian worldview as a web of beliefs, rather like a spider’s web. In a
spider’s web there are certain strands of the web that are very central to the
web, and then as you radiate outward you have strands that are further and
further from the center. And the web strands that are at the very center of
the web are the most critical to the structure of the web. If you remove those,
the structure of the web will be greatly affected and may even collapse. But, if
you remove one of the strands from the outer parts of the web, the
reverberations throughout the structure will not be so severely felt. Similarly,
in Christian systematic theology, there are certain doctrines that are
absolutely central and non-negotiable for the Christian faith. For example, the
existence of God would surely be at the very center of the web. The deity of
Christ, his atoning death for our sins, his resurrection from the dead, all of
these would be beliefs that are right at the center of our web of beliefs. And if
you were to deny any of those I think the web would collapse.
By contrast, doctrines concerning the sacraments, the Lord’s Supper, and baptism,
doctrines concerning eschatology, the last things, such as the return of Christ,
the millennium, the great judgment, these kinds of
doctrines are more peripheral on the web of beliefs, and therefore not cardinal or
core doctrines of Christianity. This is important because in my ministry, I have
sought to defend what C.S. Lewis calls mere Christianity. And that is the
Christianity that affirms those core, central doctrines that are common to all
of the great Christian confessions, whether these be Coptic, Catholic,
Orthodox, or Protestant, and to leave to the side those more peripheral doctrines
on which Christians can differ in good conscience and yet remain faithful, Bible-believing Christians.

Posted by Lewis Heart

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