Have a look at this video of John Piper telling what he believes one must believe to be saved. To read a transcript click here.
He includes the following:
- Believe and confess his Lordship and his resurrection
- Recognition that we sin
- That God exists and that he created a world where sin is a possibility
- That God has expectations for mankind – to trust, love and live for him
- That we fail in those three things
- God is holy and we are not
- God is judge
- Deity of Jesus
- Jesus lived a perfect life
- Substitutionary atonement, basically – he died in my place
- Jesus’ resurrection
- We receive salvation from Jesus Christ’s work on our behalf
A few things I would like to point out. The first is where is baptism? When the Ethiopian asked what he needed to do to be saved Philip didn’t give this list of core beliefs he must first understand. Undoubtedly he understood many of these things. All of these things? We don’t know. But he knew enough to realize he needed God and that what he needed to do in response was to be baptized. That is biblical but it didn’t make the list. Before you say this is a list of beliefs so no wonder something we do isn’t on there. He did mention the need for faith and for confession. To be fair to Piper, I don’t know what his view is on baptism but I suspect if he had much of a view of it being a part of what God expects of us he would have included it here.
Second, notice at the end he says God causes people to believe by the work of the Holy Spirit. I would say God certainly plays a role in our faith by revealing himself to us through the Word and in some way the Spirit plays a role in our faith. But to say God causes our faith is missing out on our responsibility to believe and have faith…two things he pointed out in his answer to the original question.
Last, his list is very logical and if you really examine the core truths of the Gospel you understand why he logically pulled these points together. At the same time he is leaving out some very plain biblical teaching that doesn’t take any logic to expand upon or to be elaborated upon. Baptism really is important not just because I attend a Church of Christ and have heard that my whole life but because God clearly teaches us that in scripture. So my list would include,
“Part of God’s expected response would include repentance (not included above), belief/faith, confession, and to submit to his will by being baptized for the forgiveness of my sins.”
Wouldn’t it just make sense those things would come ahead of understanding the nature of substitutionary atonement?