Common beliefs shared among many
fundamentalist & other evangelical Christians
Most evangelicals generally believe in the main historical doctrines of
the Christian church:
- Inspiration: The authors of the Bible were inspired
by the Holy Spirit as they wrote.
- Inerrancy: The books of the Bible, in their original autograph
copy, were inerrant (without
- Virgin birth: Miriam, the mother of Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) was a virgin
when she conceived.
- Atonement: Through Jesus' death, the relationship between God and Man (which had
been damaged by Adam and Eve's sin) can been restored.
- Resurrection: After Jesus' death and burial, he arose
- Second coming: that Jesus' return to earth is imminent.
- Incarnation: God appeared on earth in human form, as Jesus.Trinity:
that God is in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Justification: An act of God in which any person who accepts that they have sinned and
who believes in the atonement of Christ is forgiven of their sins and brought into a close
relationship with God.
- Regeneration of the spirit: A new believer undergoes a spiritual rebirth.
- Trinity: God exists as a Trinity, consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
three persons within a single entity.
- Satan is a created being, a living
entity, who was once an angel but
is now an all-evil tormentor of humanity.
- Salvation is a gift of God, attained by repentance and trusting
Jesus as Lord and Savior. Some Evangelicals do not include the need for repentance
as a first step, because it requires an effort -- a good work -- on the part of the
- Heaven exists as a place of
beauty, peace and eternal reward where saved Christians will enjoy the
presence of God forever.
- Hell exists as a place never-ending torture without mercy or any hope of
cessation for the unsaved.
Of these beliefs, three are currently in a state of flux. The eventual
outcome is unclear:
- Hell: In previous generations, pastors would often terrify
congregations with "Fire and brimstone" sermons describing the
unbearable heat, thirst, flogging, and darkness of Hell. Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners
in the hands of an angry God" is perhaps the most famous. Such sermons have now
become quite rare. Supporters of human rights believe that torturing
prisoners, and imprisoning people
for thought crimes (i.e. believing in the wrong God) are profoundly immoral practices on earth. Many Evangelicals now find these
practices incompatible with a loving God. In recent decades, Hell is more
frequently described in Evangelical circles as a place where one is isolated
from God; torture is downplayed.
- Inerrancy: In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a widespread debate raged
among Evangelical theologians over biblical inerrancy. It was never resolved.
"The controversy quickly became an impasse and the impasse quickly became
unspoken. As a result, evangelical theologians have, for the past twenty
years, held widely divergent views of Scripture's authority with no apparent
hope of coming to a common understanding." 1
- Salvation: As described above, Evangelicals believe that those who
have trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior will attain Heaven after death. Those
who have rejected Jesus and the Gospel will go to Hell. In past decades,
increasing attention has been paid to those who have not had the opportunity
to learn of Jesus, the Gospel message or Christianity. Some Evangelicals feel
that relegating to Hell those who have never had the opportunity to accept
Jesus is incompatible with a just, kind, and loving God. Others hold to the historical Christian
belief that everyone who has not trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior will spend
eternity in Hell; this includes both those who have consciously rejected
Jesus, and those who have never heard of him.
- John Perry, "Dissolving the Inerrancy Debate: How Modern Philosophy
Shaped the Evangelical View of Scripture," Quodlibet Journal, Volume
3, #4, 2001-Fall, at:
- Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the hands of an angry God," at:
Copyright © 2003 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2003-APR-8
Latest update: 2008-SEP-05
Author: B.A. Robinson