Here are some points that will clarify my soteriology. This has already been posted on my blog some time ago, but I do believe that it will be relevent here in this thread of thought that I have been producing. Please read these statements carefully. It will answer the question that has been posed to me about what is the minimum content to the faith that saves.
If you need further clarification or have any questions, please feel free to respond in the comments section.
"...and that believing ye might have life through his name"
1) Christ's "name" is everything who He actually is. This "name" represents everything who He TRULY is. Fill in ALL true Christology here: Everything that the Bible reveals Jesus to truly be and have done and everything that Jesus truly is that is not revealed in the Bible.
2) It is by virtue of His "name" (everything that He truly is and has done) that we can have eternal life. It is who He is and what He has done that has qualified Him as the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it. It is His name that gives Him the authority and the ability to dispense eternal life.
3) Jesus is uniquely qualified to dispense eternal life by virtue of His name. On this authority He may dispense it to whomever He wishes. It is through His wisdom and council with God the Father that they have decided to dispense eternal life to those and only those who believe in Jesus for this gift.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
1 John 3:23
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ
And in His name Gentiles will trust.
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God
To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.
4) To this one condition of appropriating the gift of eternal life (faith in Jesus for it) God has been pleased to add no other.
Gal 2:16; 3:2
…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified…. This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Rom 4:5-6, 16
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness… Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure.
5) Shorthand for faith in Jesus is to believe that Jesus is the Christ (in the Johannine sense) which as to content is that as the Christ Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to all who simply believe in Him for it.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
You remember it, don’t you? “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26). Her reply is a declaration that she believes Him to be the Christ. Martha said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (11:27).
Notice here that to believe that Jesus is the Christ means to believe that He guarantees resurrection and eternal life to every believer. But now let us look at John 4. In that famous passage we have the Samaritans saying to the woman who had encountered Jesus, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
Observe that the common denominator to both passages is the term “Christ.” On Martha’s lips He is “the Christ, the Son of God,” and on the lips of the Samaritans He is “the Christ, the Savior of the world.” This is not an accidental or insignificant difference.
In Jewish prophecy and theology the promised Christ was also the Son of God—that is, He was to be a divine person. Recall the words of Isaiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6-7). But in Samaritan theology, the Messiah was thought of as a prophet and the woman at the well is led to faith through our Lord’s prophetic ability to know her life. Her words, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” (4:19) are a first step in the direction of recognizing Him as the Christ. There is no evidence that she or the other Samaritans understood the deity of our Lord.
But they did believe that he was the Christ. And John tells us in his first epistle that “whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (5:1)! A full theology of His person is not necessary to salvation. If we believe that Jesus is the One who guarantees our eternal destiny, we have believed all we absolutely have to believe in order to be saved.
(Zane Hodges, How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1 Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 2000)
6) Believing that Jesus is the Christ (in the Johannine sense) is the only soteriologically necessary condition for eternal life.
7) Most people will not find this bare proposition persuasive. They will require more information and quite possible need some of their questions answered. This would be a logical necessity in order to persuade them that the salvific proposition is true.
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
8) Most people do not need every question that they may have answered before they are persuaded as to the truth of the salvific proposition. Answers to other questions or other information given may be sufficient to persuade one that the salvific proposition is true.
9) The assent to orthodox theology in general or Christology in specific, as important as this is to the regenerate believer, is no litmus test for assurance of one's soteriological salvation. The only basis for both the reception of eternal life and assurance of eternal life is believing in Jesus, who through His name, has given the promise to Guarantee eternal life to all who believe in Him for it.
10) Misconceptions are a part of life. It is impossible to clear up every misconception concerning theology and should not be attempted. The most spiritual man on earth at the present time without a doubt has some misconceptions concerning the real nature of theology.
11) Children have many misconceptions as well but as the Bible makes clear, only those who receive the kingdom of God as little children will enter.
The theif on the cross said, “Lord, remember me”; and Jesus replied, “Today you shall be with Me in paradise.” After a life of crime, one of the three worst criminals in the nation – Barabbas had been released – this thief received assurance of Heaven.
He could hardly have known much about Jesus. He certainly had no notion of saving faith, let alone of the Trinity, the atonement, or the Second Advent. Yet, on the authority of Jesus, we know that he was saved… Surely entrance into Heaven does not require a degree from a theological seminary. The thief was saved in ignorance.”
(Gordon H. Clark, Faith and Saving Faith, pg 16)
12) Misconceptions about the Person and work of Jesus Christ is peripheral to the salvific proposition as a soteriological necessity. Ignorance about Christological doctrine can prevent one from being persuaded as to the salvific proposition, but it will never prevent one from the reception of eternal life if one is persuaded as to the salvific proposition.
13) Misconceptions about Jesus do not necessitate such a one who may hold to them to be referring to a "different" Jesus. If a test to one's particular reference to an identity be that he not hold any misconceptions about this identity then specific reference to anyone would be made impossible. For what guarantee does one have that his conceptions about the person, that through his reference he intends to identify, are correct?
14) One fact about a reference could be all that is necessary to limit identity, though one fact may not be enough. There seem to be multiple facts in the salvific proposition and not just one. "Believe that Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it." Limit #1: the name of the reference is Jesus. Limit #2: the referent is a guarantor of something. Limit #3: the referent dispenses eternal life. Limit #4: this eternal life is dispensed on the basis of faith in the referent for the purpose of appropriating said eternal life.
There is only one Person in the universe who dispenses and guarantees eternal life to the believer in Him for it; the name of this referent is Jesus. This information satisfactorily identifies and limits reference to the true Jesus Christ.
The facts contained in the salvific proposition are of sufficient nature as to specifically limit the identity of its reference to the 2cd Person of the Trinity, God the Son, Jesus Christ.
15) Belief in Jesus Christ for anything else but the intended gift of eternal life will not necessarily be appropriated. The gift that Jesus guarantees in the salvific proposition is "eternal life" and not temporal deliverance, assured positive answer to prayer, or physical blessings. The faith in Jesus is for the purpose of appropriating the intended gift of eternal life.
15) The evangelist's endeavor is to get the potential convert to the point where he will entrust his eternal well-being to Jesus. It is to be used of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God to persuade such a one that Jesus guarantees his eternity. He does this by preaching the gospel message and other facts relating to Jesus, answering questions, etc. Our job in evangelism is to get the potential convert to believe in Jesus, the Guarantor of resurrection and eternal life to the believer in Him. Anything we do or say must point to Jesus and His promise to dispense eternal life to the mere believer in Him for it.