What are the Essentials of Christianity?

This is a topic that Keith, Andrew, and I have all agreed is worth looking at. It seems like most Christians think there are a set of essential principles upon which all of the faithful can agree. As much was said at the most recent Toronto Theology Pub gathering (thanks to Bill for the invite).


What are the essentials?

I was going to start at the beginning and throw out one of the major creeds upon which there is broad agreement across denominations. Nicene Creed? Oops, there’s that whole filioque thing that played a part in the schism of 1054. Recently several branches of Western Christianity have been moving to ditch the filioque line, but the damage has been done. It would appear that the only safe bet then is to go all the way back to the Apostles’ Creed. So anyway, I wonder if Christians can agree on this:

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Catholick [sic] Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.

I suppose we could start with a discussion of what all of this means or what objections people might have even to this creed.