George Booker
What Are The First Principles?

4. A Simple, but Necessary, Point

Before proceeding, then, a rather simple but necessary point needs to be made. It is Scripturally provable, and unanimously held by Christadelphians (insofar as the writer knows), that true belief must precede true baptism (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:36-42; 8:4-12,26-39; 16:13-15,23-34; 18:4-11; etc.).

Therefore, we may assume that the doctrines essential for salvation are the same doctrines which are essential for Scriptural baptism, no more and no less. Furthermore, we shall assume that the purpose of what we today call a “statement of faith” should not be to define all that might profitably be believed, but rather to define only what should be believed as a prerequisite for baptism and admission to fellowship (again, no more and no less).

Therefore, ideally, these three should be perfectly equivalent:

  1. doctrines essential to salvation,
  2. doctrines to be believed before baptism, and
  3. a (Biblical) “statement of faith”.
To continue: If we can find in the Bible either a “statement of faith” (in the words of Scripture), or if we can determine the doctrines that were required to be believed before being baptized, then we shall have given a Biblical answer (not merely an intuitive or subjective or traditional answer) to the question: “How should we define first principles?”

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