Here's a rather commonly accepted list of the "non-negotiables":
- The Trinity
- The deity of Christ
- The bodily resurrection of Christ
- The atonement as a result of the life and the death of Christ
- A need for personal salvation by grace due to man's universal sinfulness as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden
- The inerrancy of the Bible
- God's inspiration of the Bible's authors
- The virgin birth of Christ
- The anticipated second coming of Christ
And, to that list, I would add a belief in a literal 6 day creation as laid out in the Book of Genesis. In addition, the person who posed this question, asked another one: "Who killed Jesus?" My answer: We all did with our sins. For it was our sins from which we needed saving and for which Christ hung on the Cross.
And one more point. I do not consider myself a professional historian, in the strictest sense of the term. One definition of being a "professional" in anything is whether or not you get paid for the work. I do. I've written 3 history related books, dozens of history related articles, serve on the board of trustees for a new museum, am involved in a number of historic and preservationist organizations, and have co-produced two history related films. Yet I still consider myself an "amateur historian." I am not credentialed and do not work full time in the field. Perhaps, one day, I, might earn the title by my work alone, as did Shelby Foote. We'll see. I figure I, Lord willin' have about 20 years or so left to prove myself.
Dad loved the South. As a child growing up, we never went North for vacation - always South: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, numerous places in Virginia. Dad loved Southern food, especially grits. He once told me as a very young boy that if you did not eat your grits for breakfast in Georgia restaurants, the authorities would put you in jail. I believed him and have loved grits ever since!
I love the South too. I so tire of her being attacked, impugned, ridiculed, stereo-typed and made fun of for the burdens that the whole Nation shares. Her critics are oh so selective. I believe most of them are politically motivated, despising the old-fashioned, conservative values that still permeate the South. So I defend her when the elites (or those who hold kindred views) attack. I don't write to please anyone, except my conscience and my God (and the great cloud of witnesses of which the Book of Hebrews speaks).
Which brings me to the other clarifier: Christian. As a former agnostic, liberal, and Darwinist, I know how the "other side" thinks. I know how they reason. I know how they view the world because I used to view it in the same way. (Very depressing, I might add.) That transformation in my life was dramatic. It was life-changing. My faith impacts everything I do, especially my writing. So just what is a "Christian historian" - professional or amateur? I like the simple definition put forth by Roland A. Wells:
He is a historian who first, accepts "the 'reality' that God exists and that God came among us in the historical person known as Jesus", and, second brings to the study of history a different "angle of vision," which, Wells asserts, allows the believing scholar to ask different questions, to "see what others do not." (From a review of Wells's book: History and the Christian Historian, reviewed by Augustus Cerillo, Jr. of California State University, Long Beach)
So that is my goal, to bring a different "angle of vision" to the study of history: The Christian angle. And though I may not always do that to everyone's satisfaction, that is my goal.
Regarding some of the other questions raised by Mr. Levin - I believe every one of them were addressed head on in my book about Stonewall Jackson and his Sunday school class. No need to re-write my whole book on Kevin's blog. I'm finding the problem with blog discussions are that rarely is anyone moved from their original opinions. Most bloggers are pretty hard-headed and strong willed. It's the nature of the beast, so to speak.
I trust that clarifies some things. Now, you will have to excuse me as it is time for me to go cling to my guns and religion.