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The Bible itself reveals what is important and essential to the Christian faith. These essentials are the deity of Christ, salvation by God's grace and not by works, salvation through Jesus Christ ...
I wish to take a slightly different approach, doctrine is important. Orthodox Christianity has essential doctrines, mostly stated in Michaels answer. But what is essential? Regeneration (John 3:3-8): We all must be born of the Spirit. That we might be empowered with the love and joy of God, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and the we might be empowered also to love our neighbor as ourself. One must repent of dead works and believe the gospel, crying out to God for His salvation in Jesus Christ. Repent and cry out, that we might receive salvation, His Spirit bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. We have two options, 'We can give up and live until we die in our sins and go to hell' or ' we can cry out until God saves us.' These are the only two options. Read Ezekiel 37. This is 100% necessary. This describes every single Christian. This is essential. After this, you will know God, and more importantly, He will know you. And He will be your God, and you will be His child. To God be the glory in Jesus Christ our Lord, yesterday, today, and forevermore. May His grace sustain you, Amen.
What better standard of faith, or essentials of the faith, than the Nicene Creed. Full text below: I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
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