Finding Christianity’s Essence
Throughout history, Christians have struggled to express their faith tradition’s essence. One common way is to claim that Christianity is the only religion that has been believed “everywhere, always, by everyone.” It was a Gallo-Roman theologian who provided this formulation, which became known as the formula of quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est (that is, everywhere, always, by all).
Another approach to finding christianity’s essence is to look for key ideas that are central to its beliefs. One idea is that God has adopted Christians as his sons and daughters (Romans 8:15-17). This allows them to approach him in prayer as a child approaches a parent.
Other important Christian beliefs include a belief that Jesus is the Risen, Ascended Lord. The New Testament – the books that report the life and teachings of Jesus – and letters written by early church leaders form the foundation of this faith tradition.
Other beliefs focus on miracle healing, including the ability of believers to cast out demons and heal the sick. In addition, the faith tradition emphasizes a plan of salvation or redemption that is based on the experience of being distanced from God and needing to be returned to him. A core element of this is that Jesus has power to return us to the right relationship with God. He does this through his word, his people and his body. This explains why he could walk on water, make blind eyes see, lame people heal and even raise the dead when he was on earth.