Archbishop Rowan Williams recently commented on the basic truths of Christianity. In a recent interview on Vatican Radio concerning the new Anglican Ordinariate, the head of the Anglican Communion had this to say about the differences that divide Christians:

Christians are drawn closer together than in any other circumstances when they face persecution—in Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia, Orissa, or Rajasthan, Christians under pressure don’t have the luxury of waiting to stand together until they’ve sorted everything out. I [recently] met firsthand with a number of people on the receiving end of violence—a woman who’d seen her husband tortured to death in front of her for refusing to abandon his Christian faith—that’s simply a moment when you realize what the basic truths are.

But this idea of “basic truths” must be handled with great caution. It is reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’ emphasis on “mere Christianity”, something which has become continually “more mere” ever since. In the Christian faith, what constitutes a truth that is basic? Are there any truths that are not basic? Are there some parts of the Christian faith which are optional or which ought not really to cause any separation or distinction among Christians?

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