What must you believe in order to be a Christian? That’s a fair question. That is, if one really wants an honest answer about what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. But if the person asking the question wants to redefine historical Christianity in a way that fits their mood at the moment, then perhaps the question is a bit misleading.
The recent Huffington Post article “What Must I Believe to Be a Christian?” seems to be lacking an authentic air of spiritual inquiry, in my opinion. But, at least, for starters, the author’s name is Christian. I’m afraid, according to his own admission, that he is a Christian in name only.
Christian Chiakulas denies as many doctrines of orthodox Christianity as he can rattle off in his short article. “Therefore I cannot believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that he walked on water, or that he rose from the dead after three days,” he writes. Well, that pretty much covers the big ones doesn’t it?
But at least he believes in God, as he describes, “Foundational to my belief, of course, is God. I believe there probably is a God; I have felt a Sacred Presence at certain meaningful moments in my life which I feel comfortable calling God.” While belief in God is nice, and perhaps a start, mere generic theism is a long cry from Christianity.
While it is encouraging to see this topic make a headline at Huffington Post, we cannot miss an opportunity to actually answer the question. It takes a lot more than some watery mysticism, or existential experiences, to be a Christian. It takes the Incarnation, a cross, an empty tomb, repentance, and faith. Being a Christian may well include more, but it certainly cannot mean anything less.