The word “fundamental” is defined as “forming a necessary base or core; of central importance“. When applied to Christianity, that means that there are certain teachings that are so core, so basic, and of such central importance, that without them real Christianity is absent.
One might argue that a body without an arm can still be a living human, but not a body without a heart or brain or any number of other ‘parts’, because those are fundamental to a living body.
Another analogy comes from chemistry, in which the formula for salt is NaCl, which is a combination of sodium and chloride. If you take away either element, you no longer have salt. You have either sodium, or you have chloride, but you do not have salt. In the same way, if you take any of the fundamental elements away from Christianity, you have something that may look like Christianity, may claim to be Christianity, has portions of the elements of Christianity, but that cannot actually be whole Bible Christianity.
The risk in believing that there are certain non-negotiable fundamentals comprising real Christianity is that in determining what those are, personal or organizational bias might prevail. That’s why it is critically important to ensure that all teachings that we call fundamentals are clearly set out in the Bible, the Word of God.
It is no coincidence that in most churches that claim Christianity, but that leave out one or more of the fundamental teachings of the Bible, the first fundamental to fall by the wayside is the teaching that the Bible is indeed God’s Word. If that teaching is weakened, then the foundation all of the other fundamentals can be questioned.
The important thing is to examine Scripture carefully and determine what are the non-negotiable doctrines (that’s just a fancy word for ‘teachings’). We’ll do that in this series of posts.