Are there any core beliefs that all Christian traditions agree on? Are there any that most (>90% of) Christian traditions agree on?

If a list can be made for either, are there any caveats?

  • 10
    Per the accepted definition of Christianity in this forum, I would have to say, "nothing".
    – Narnian
    Apr 4, 2012 at 21:36
  • There is no way that there is one single answer for this question. Heck, there's isn't one single answer for what a specific denomination believes let alone ALL of Christianity.
    – user1054
    Dec 30, 2012 at 2:40
  • I was about to ask a similar question to the original -- and the selected answer matched what I expected to see for my question. So, I've edited this one to hopefully be the same-ish question, but not not constructive and voted to reopen. Someone please revert my edits if they seem too significant!
    – svidgen
    Jul 25, 2013 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


Like Narnian commented, per the definition given by this site, nothing. However, historically most denominations have agreed upon several things.

The first thing that comes to mind is the existence of both God and Jesus. Also, many agree Jesus is God.

Historically, the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed have been generally accepted lists of agreed upon Christian doctrine. They basically say

  1. I believe in God
  2. God created the world
  3. Jesus is his son
  4. Jesus was born to the virgin Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit
  5. He was put to death by Pilate on a cross
  6. He was buried, but he rose again on the third day
  7. he ascended to heaven
  8. he'll come again one day
  9. The Holy Spirit exists
  10. the church are God's people
  11. God forgives our sins
  12. We'll be ressurected one day and have eternal life

Again, I say historically - these documents have existed for practically two thousand years with general assent by 97% of Christians (the Chalcedonians).

But again, I stress, precious few doctrine are agreed upon by everyone. There's always someone who may call himself a Christian who disagrees with anything you say. For example, some people call themselves (I say that will all due respect, I'm not saying their not) Christians because they like Jesus's teaching, but don't even believe in a God.

Since "Christian" comes from "Christ" (Jesus), I think the only thing you can safely assume is that all "Christians" have some level of respect for Jesus.

  • 2
    By definition, all Chalcedonian Christians believe this. That accounts for over 97% of all Christians, so I think its the best answer you're going to get :) Apr 4, 2012 at 21:51
  • @AffableGeek ah, i knew there was a term for that. You don't mind if I edit that stat in, right? :) Apr 4, 2012 at 21:52
  • 1
    Not at all. If you wanted to include non-Chalcedonians (e.g. Copts, Nestorians, etc...) you could still include the notion that "Jesus is Lord.", the divinity of Jesus Christ, the depravity of man, and the desire of God to redeem his people Apr 4, 2012 at 21:59
  • 3
    The real problem is with modern sects. "Christian Atheists" for example would not meet this. Additionally, Mormons do not accept any creeds, so they'd fall out too. But personally, I draw the line at the historic creeds. Apr 4, 2012 at 22:02
  • 1
    And church, referring to a body of believers, not a building Apr 4, 2012 at 22:18

The only way this question can be answered is to agree on a definition of Christianity itself that people have to agree to in order to be a part of that set. People who don't subscribe aren't Christian and therefore their deviance doesn't count. With all of the different religions claiming to be Christian, obviously that does not exist. There are even folks around here who would claim Christianity shouldn't even be deist. Never mind doctrines about Christ, they would said God doesn't exist.

That being said, there are many creeds and confessions that have helped to define boundaries for Christian churches throughout the ages. You are probably familiar with many of them such as the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, etc. One of the major purposes of these statements is to draw lines between what basics must be agreed upon in order to be considered "Christian". The contents of these creeds is probably what you want to hear for an answer. These are the basic tenets of the faith we claim to have in common (if we agree on a given creed).

  • 3
    as your answer implies, part of the problem with a question like this is that it's circular - in order to understand what all "Christians" subscribe to, you have to define Christianity - but once you have a definition, you have the doctrine that all Christians hold to. Apr 4, 2012 at 22:10
  • 3
    Right on, Thomas. A religion is a set of beliefs. If we define a Christian as someone who believes X, Y, and Z, then it proves nothing to say, Look at that! All Christians believe X, Y, and Z! It's like those arguments I often hear where someone says, Everyone knowledgeable about this subject agrees with me and says X. Then someone on the other side says, What about Dr Jones and Dr Miller? They're experts in the field and they say not-X. And the first person replies, Oh no, they're totally unqualified, as is proven from the fact that they believe crazy ideas like not-X.
    – Jay
    Apr 5, 2012 at 3:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .