The Major Contours of Orthodox Christianity
What is meant by orthodoxy is the system of belief that was borne in the Prophets of Israel, taught by Christ and the Apostles, and affirmed in the ancient creeds of the Church. These doctrines are not the subjective choice of one individual, but rather the objective voice of many contained in the corpus of Christian literature throughout the Church's 2000 year history. While there has been some disagreement through the ages on side issues such as the method of baptism or understanding the timing of Christ's 2nd Coming, there has always been agreement on a core set of doctrines. These essential beliefs comprise the major contours of Orthodox Christianity.
Belief #1 Biblical Authority
All 66 books of the Holy Bible are inspired by the Holy Spirit and are the complete, final, and authoritative revelation from God to man. The Bible is without error in its statements and contains all that is necessary for salvation and service to God. It is the primary and final authority which is to direct the Church and its members and the standard by which all doctrines are to be judged.
Belief #2 God in Three Persons
"There are three persons in the Godhead; The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost; and these Three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory."
Belief #3 Jesus is Lord, Savior, and Christ
The Nicene Creed of 325 ad states that Jesus Christ is "The Son of God, only begotten of the Father, that is to say, of the substance of the Father, God of God and Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things on earth; who for us men and for our salvation, came down and was made flesh, was made man, suffered, and rose again on the third day, went up to the heavens, and is to come again to judge both the quick and the dead."
Belief #4 Man: In the Image of God and Fallen
God made man as the crown of earthly creation and endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls. As such they were made in God's image with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. Though they had dominion over the earth and power to fulfill God's law upon their hearts--they were subject to and capable of sinning against God. In the freedom of their own wills, our parents Adam and Eve fell from their estate of creation having disobeyed the law of God. When this happened all mankind who was to come through ordinary human generation inherited the legacy of Adam's transgression. Thus all mankind has lost communion with God, are under His curse and are subject to the miseries of life and death and the pains of hell forever. At death the souls of believers will enter the presence of Christ while unbelievers will enter into immediate torment.
Belief #5 Salvation: A Necessary Gift
This gift is obtained through faith in the Lord Jesus who became the sacrifice for sin on the cross for all mankind. Only faith in Christ as savior and redeemer will bring forgiveness of sins and will make each believer a new creature. Man is unable to provide his own salvation through good works and repentance. This is solely a gift by the grace of God which must be received in humility and trust.