Applying the outcome of the Jerusalem meeting in Galatians 2:1-10 naturally leads to an affirmation of doctrinal unity. Paul and the Jerusalem leaders would never have struck an agreement in the first place if they were not affirming the same things. So a natural question is, what are the central doctrinal affirmations of the church today? In other words, on which points of doctrine do believers need to agree to be considered unified? Christianity has historically acknowledged that certain subjective beliefs stated objectively as doctrines are central to being Christian. These have been classically expressed in the various creeds of the Church, such as the Nicene Creed, developed out of the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Evangelicalism in more recent times has developed a theological center around certain distinguishing characteristics. David Bebbington in his work Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s identified four key characteristics which mark evangelicals: biblicism, crucicentrism, conversionism, and activism. Whether one looks to the historic creeds or current definitions of evangelicalism, there are definite, measurable theological contours which have marked the church both historically and in contemporary times, and these shared convictions provide a doctrinal basis for unity within all the contemporary expressions of the Christian church. When considering questions of doctrinal unity and subsequent fellowship within the Church, these creeds provide a helpful starting point for assessing agreement about the central doctrines of Christianity.