Wrestling with several issues and consultation with the youth pastor I help has led me, in the spirit of Jude 3, to identify some (though not all) of the propositional truths at the center of the Scriptures.   This is referred to as the Bounded Set theory of Christianity which has been heavily emphasized since the reformation.  It hedges, or fences, what is definitely out as far as being Christian.  Deny the resurrection, you’re still a son of Adam, but you are not a Christian. 

Complementing the Bounded Set is a theory more emphasized recently called the Centered Set theory.  It allows for various stylistic components and forms of worship, and takes as its litmus test the various fruit of the Spirit, that no one will condemn.  Are you loving?  serving?  growing in patience?  etc.  It’s emphasis is on lifestyle.

Unfortunately, some of the contemporary and emerging church emphasies have thrown away the bonded set, or so muddied its boundaries that heresies come in unchecked leading to death.  And unfortunately, it can define love in such a way that asks whether or not we are accepting people and making them feel comfortable at the expense of truth.  A good definition of this comes from John Piper, “Relationships trump truth.” 

We need both the Bounded and Centered Set views.  We need the proper knowledge of Chirst.  We need the proper response to Christ yielded from it, including living out a life worhty of the gospel (Phil 1) that highlights the Spirit’s transforming power in our lives.  Here are some of the Bounded Set propositions I have come to.  The essential nature of a select few may be debated, but it would be wise to view anything else with a critical eye from someone denying one of them:


  • One God- existing in three persons (Is 9:6)

  • Holy, perfect, sinless (Mt 5:48, Ps 24:3, Isa 6:3, Lev 19:2)

  • Created everything from nothing (Col 1) 


  • Always was, begotten NOT created (Col 1, John 1)

  • Born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38, 2:6-7)

  • Substitutionary Atonement- God’s sacrifice to God for sin- Lamb of God (John 1:29)

  • Lived sinless (Heb 4:15)

  • Fully God / Fully Man (The Bible)

  • The one way to God (John 14:6)

  • Lord / King / Master (Rom 1, et al.) 

Who is Man

  • A creature created in God’s Image (Gen 1:27)

  • Given authority over nature (Gen 1:28-31)

  • Created as Male and Female- Two COMPLEMENTARY not interchangeable stewards of his creation (Gen 1:27)

  • Born into sin- (Rom 5:12, Ps 51:5)

Who is the Holy Spirit

  • God- person of the Trinity (I Cor 12:4-6, II Cor 13:14)

  • The promised counselor from Jesus to lead us in the way (Is 9:6, John 16-17)


  • Powerful / Personal Evil

  • Father of Lies, Liar from the beginning (John 8:44)


  • Hell- An eternal punishment that most of humanity will enter  

What is the Bible

  • Inerrant in its original manuscript (Num 23:19, Ps 12:6, Prov 30:5)

  • Inspired by God (Ex 31:18, 32:6, Deut 31:24-26, Isa 30:8, John 14:26, Isa 30:8)

Feel free to comment or add anything on the above.  Loving Jesus for who He is.