What are the core beliefs that are shared by most Christian denominations?

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The best way to answer this question is to examine one of the earliest creed that all branches of Christianity value. There is such a creed, which is called the Apostle's Creed. 

"I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only...

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Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.  On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,  he is seated at the right hand of the Father,  and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit,  the holy catholic church,  the communion of saints,  the forgiveness of sins,  the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting." 
Based on this creed, we can make a few points:
  • There is one God, who has revealed himself in Christ.
  • This God is Triune. Notice the Trinitarian outline of the Apostle’s Creed.
  • Jesus, the only son of God, has come into our world to save us from sin through his life, death, resurrection, and pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit has been poured out on God’s people and is at work in the hearts of these people.
  • Finally, there is eternal life for the people of God. 
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Most Christian denominations share some key beliefs, although the interpretation and application of those beliefs may vary dramatically:

*There is a Creator responsible for the existence of all, and that there is a single deity -- one god.

*By definition, "Christian" denominations believe in the divinty of Jesus of Nazareth, as the Christ who served as a sacrifice to redeem a world separated from God.

*Most denominatons believe in an ultimate judgement, and a literal heaven (reward) and hell (punishment). Most believe that the results of that judgement rest on the response to the call of God to believe in, accept the sacrifice of, and follow the teachings of the Christ.

Beyond that, the largest differences are in the methods of expressing those shared beliefs, along with the "rules" of applying them.

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The main core beliefs of Christianity that are shared by most denominations include:

  • Monotheism.  Christians believe that there is only one God.
  • The Trinity.  However, they believe that God is made up of three persons.  These are God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
  • That Jesus was divine and came to Earth (where he became simultaneously divine and human) as a sacrifice for our sins.  The divinity of Christ is central to Christian belief.  Christ is said to have sacrificed himself so we humans could have our sins forgiven.  
  • When we die we will be judged and will have an eternal afterlife that is based in some way on our life here on Earth.  
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