Over coffee a man was attempting to make conversation. I usually grunt a few remarks and people leave me alone. This guy persisted and shortly advised me that he was a member of a church. I asked him, "What do you believe about salvation?" He instantly told me what he and his church believe. "We believe God created the world, salvation is by good works, God punishes people who fail to live sincerely, and the Bible is only a good book."
My response was simple; "Your church professes to be Christian?" "Oh, yes we observe the ritual and even take communion." I resisted my first response and settled for "do you know who codified your response?" He didn't so I gave the info from Dr. Stringers The Foundations of Our World. My new friend's ideology was propagated by Lord Herbert of Cherbury as the Four Basic Principles of Deism. My new friend was shocked and stated, "I thought these were principles that all Christians believed."
If you listen to those who profess Christ but have no real Biblical knowledge you will discover that many are in the same boat as Coffee Shop Harry. Nicodemus of John 3 was pulling one of those oars. We agreed to talk again.
Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"