What is Christian Doctrine? Christian doctrine is that system of teachings by which the church defines what is means to be a Christian. The word “doctrine” comes form the Latin ‘doctrina’ which means teaching or instruction. Doctrine is not just a church word. Every form of learning has its doctrines. Doctrine can represent both self-understanding and communication. When it comes to “Christian doctrine” it’s referring to the Christian system of belief and the common core of Christian teaching. There is a certain flux to the doctrines.
Sometimes, new discoveries eliminate previously held doctrines. The data of Christian doctrine is Jesus and the events related to him. Everything concerned with Christian self-understanding and teaching rests ultimately on Jesus. One issue with Christian doctrine is that the Bible does not contain the raw data for doctrine. The data itself had already been interpreted. Human interpretation or doctrine must begin and end with the data in the Bible. The Bible provides both the foundation on which doctrine is to be judged.
Doctrine is also related to Christian devotion or by our public worship prayer and preaching. In the early church devotional relationship to God in prayer and worship was inseparably linked with the theoretical study of God. There’s been debate about doctrine with other Christians and non-Christians. Christian doctrine reflects the ongoing debate between divergent groups within the church. Those groups were labeled heretics. But, they arose from within the church itself. The other challenge is the church world debate.
The challenge comes form a confrontation between groups, each having their own separate history which support their own symbolic universe. Greek philosophers discussed God and his nature, but their views on those God issues differed tremendously from the church. Understanding the important issues around Christian doctrine is directly related to how those early Christians understood the same issues. Doctrine involves our understanding of what it means to be Christian, and has practical relevance for every Christian.