"Doctrine divides; service unites." This is the slogan of many ecumenical Christian groups. Doctrine is what differentiates one Christian denomination from another. Because much of the disagreement among Christians seems petty and divisive, the trend is to ignore and even eliminate doctrinal teaching in the church. James Hitchcock believes, however, that doctrine has its place in the Christian faith–that one cannot have a deep and dynamic spiritual life without it.
Table of Contents
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:38–48, 16:13–17, 23:1–7, 23–28; John 7:14–18; 1 Corinthians 2:12–3:3; 13:1–3, 8–13; Ephesians 4:11–16; 2 Peter 3:15–18; 1 John 4:1–3
• The Issue
Why is doctrine under suspicion today? For what reasons do many Christians feel it is unnecessary?
In seeking to adapt Christian doctrine to the philosophies and concerns of each age, how can theologians keep doctrine from straying away from the gospel?
• The Scriptures
What is doctrine? Read Matthew 16:13–17. Why is this a statement of doctrine? Where do doctrinal statements come from according to v. 17?
Read John 7:14–18. What is the key to knowing the truth?
• The Application
Sample application questions:
Which doctrines are most important to your spiritual growth and relationship with God? What role do these doctrines play in your faith?
Which doctrines would you choose to communicate to an unbeliever?
ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY
• Boundary Markers for Belief, by James Hitchcock (January 1988, 9 printed pages)
Total number of pages – 9