The first step of FAITH involves conviction—embracing the unique ideas and concepts that define us as Christians.

What makes someone a Christian? Where you were born? (“This is a Christian nation.”) How your parents raised you? Whether you have a church affiliation? It’s a complicated question. But, surely, at some basic level, being a Christian means you see the world from a Christian perspective … you share the assumptions and beliefs of Christian faith … you accept that, when the Bible talks about God and Christ and the spiritual realm and the meaning of life, it is telling the truth.

On our website (, there is a list of ten core beliefs we hold in common at the North Central Church. What we believe about God … about mankind … about Jesus Christ … about Christian living, etc. You might want to read this list. Study it closely. Read the passages that support these beliefs. These convictions do not distinguish us from most other Christians (there’s nothing weird or quirky in the list). But they do distinguish us from those who don’t share our Christian faith. Failure to embrace these convictions means that—in some essential way—one cannot claim to be “Christian.”

Do you believe:

  1. That God created the world for his good purposes and pursues those purposes still?
  2. That when sin entered the world, our lives unraveled—that we need to be redeemed?
  3. That Jesus Christ is God’s answer to the problem of sin and death?
  4. That through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus made things right between the world and God?
  5. That by trusting God—his love and mercy and wisdom—we are given new life?

These are the truths, assumptions, and tenets that set us apart as “Christians.” Feeding on God’s FOOD (Scripture, Spirit, etc.) will raise each of these issues and confront us with a choice: do we believe these things or not? FAITH begins when we hear these truths, receive them as truth, and plant them deep in our hearts. Conviction is FAITH’s first step.

Because the North Central Church wants to foster faith, we will do everything possible to preach, teach, and encourage belief in the core truths that make us Christian. We will pray regularly and fervently for God to ground us in the convictions that can grow us strong and straight. We will use the resources of the church (the people and programs of our congregation) to lead as many as possible to consider and accept these convictions.

[Click to see previous post in this series]

[Click to see next post in this series]

© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.