Which doctrines are so crucial that if someone denies any one of them, he cannot be considered to be a true Christian? I’ve given some thought to that, and here is my list.
1. The inerrancy and authority of the Bible.
2. The virgin birth of Christ.
3. His complete divinity.
4. His substitutionary atonement.
5. His bodily resurrection.
6. His physical return for His people.
7. Man’s fallen, sinful condition and his inability to save himself.
8. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
There are other doctrines which others may argue should be added to this list, but these are what I believe are the absolute, fundamental, non-negotiable doctrines which all true Christians must believe. Other doctrines which are not specifically listed may “fit into” one of these doctrines; i.e., the doctrine of the humanity of Christ can be seen to be a part of our understanding of His virgin birth.
While believers may disagree on the details of certain doctrines, belief in the doctrines listed above is non-negotiable. If anyone claims to be a Christian, yet does not hold to these truths, there is solid reason to question the validity of his/her claim.
I do not mean that there might, at times, be differences of opinion regarding certain details about the doctrines listed above (such as whether Christ’s atonement was limited in scope or unlimited in scope, or the timing of His return for the church), but anyone who denies any of these basic beliefs cannot legitimately claim to be a true believer and follower of Christ.