The Essentials and The Thief

crucifixioncomOne of the things that I keep coming back in our recent discussion of the essentials of Christianity is the story of the thief on the cross with Jesus. Here is a man who admits to having not led an exemplary life, and who knows nothing of anything that we would consider correct doctrine or practice in the church today. Did he know that Jesus was fully man and fully God? Did he know anything about the Trinity? What about atonement? This man could not have known about any such things. The value of doctrine to the follower of Christ – at the moment that they enter into a community of believers – is likely next to nothing.