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Doctrine

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Doctrine

Essential doctrines of the Christian faith


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Content of teaching intended to be accepted and believed as truth.
Definition from: "A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy Part One: The Case For Doctrinal Discernment" (an article from the Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990, page 28) by Robert M. Bowman.
Bad doctrine produces bad fruit behaviorally (e.g., Mark 7:7-13 javascript popup window; Col. 2:20-23 javascript popup window; 1 Tim. 4:1-5 javascript popup window; 2 Pet. 2:1 javascript popup window; Rev. 2:14-15, 20, 24 javascript popup window), which is as true for Christians as it is for cultists.

As Van Baalen stated, 'If practice follows from theory, if life is based upon teaching, it follows that the wrong doctrine will issue in the wrong attitude toward God and Christ, and consequently in warped and twisted Christian life.'
Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults


Key Doctrines

Individuals who, while claiming to be Christians, reject one of more central (key) doctrines of the Christian faith are considered heretics. Groups which reject such doctrines while claiming to represent Christianity, are considered cults of Christianity.

A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.
Source: Alam Gomes, Cult: A Theological Definition, excerpt from "Unmasking The Cults"

  1. "Central doctrines" of the Christian faith are those doctrines that make the Christian faith Christian and not something else.

    1. The meaning of the expression "Christian faith" is not like a wax nose, which can be twisted to mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean.

    2. The Christian faith is a definite system of beliefs with definite content (Jude 3)

    3. Certain Christian doctrines constitute the core of the faith. Central doctrines include the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and salvation by grace through faith. These doctrines so comprise the essence of the Christian faith that to remove any of them is to make the belief system non-Christian.

    4. Scripture teaches that the beliefs mentioned above are of central importance (e.g., Matt. 28:19; John 8:24; 1 Cor. 15; Eph. 2:8-10).

    5. Because these central doctrines define the character of Christianity, one cannot be saved and deny these.

    6. Central doctrines should not be confused with peripheral issues, about which Christians may legitimately disagree.

      Peripheral (i.e. non-essential) doctrines include such issues as the timing of the tribulation, the method of baptism, or the structure of church government. For example, one can be wrong about the identity of "the spirits in prison" 1 Peter 3:19) or about the timing of the rapture and still go to heaven, but one cannot deny salvation by grace or the deity of Christ (John 8:24) and be saved.

    7. All Christian denominations -- whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant -- agree on the essential core. The relatively minor disagreements between genuinely Christian denominations, then, cannot be used to argue that there is no objectively recognized core of fundamental doctrine which constitutes the Christian faith.
Source: Alam Gomes, Cult: A Theological Definition, excerpt from "Unmasking The Cults"

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About this page:
Doctrine
First posted: Apr. 14, 1997
Last Updated: Oct. 23, 2001
Editor: Anton Hein
Copyright: Apologetics Index
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