The Four “Self” Principles

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Yet another take on the essentials of the Christian Faith, inspired by Dr. Charlie Self:

Four Uncompromisable Absolutes

  1. The Lordship of Jesus
  2. The Worship of the Trinity
  3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
  4. The Authority of Scripture

For the backstory…


Last Friday, I had the privilege of lunching with Dr. Self in preparation for him speaking at Apple Christian Fellowship on October 26th, as part of an interfaith event. We had an awesome time of fellowship, especially due to his background in philosophy and focus on Transformation.

The topic of the emerging church came up, and he shared his list of four things he uses to test any claims of Christianity. My list differs slightly from his, in that he included syncretism (as a negative), which is a word I don’t entirely understand. Thus, while I think my list is compatible with his — and owes a great debt to him — he would probably formulate things differently (and, in practice, draw the line in a slightly different place).

That said, I couldn’t resist using his name for a pun on the old “post-missiological” three-self principles, even though they’ve been sadly abused in socialist China. The deeper point, though, is that the old focus on the “structure” of a movement was clearly misplaced, and we as believers need to be careful to focus primarily on those elements that truly transcend (and even judge!) culture.

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