Christianity and DIY doctrine

by | 12 Apr 2024 | 0 comments

Christianity and DIY doctrine

by | 12 Apr 2024 | 0 comments

In our contemporary culture, which often sees truth as flexible and individual choice as paramount, it can be unfashionable among some Christians to place a high value on biblical orthodoxy, or what the New Testament calls ‘sound doctrine’ (2 Tim. 4:3). Freedom to select and adapt is preferred.

All human beings – including Christians – think subjectively. Unsurprisingly, all Christians understand, weigh, and express the great truths of our faith a bit differently. Also, more than we may realise, we are all very influenced by our cultural settings.

Across the world, across denominations, and across the centuries, there has inevitably developed a wide variety of Christian beliefs, understandings, customs and practices.

Nevertheless, there is a continuous common core of Christian orthodoxy, anchored in the New Testament, and expressed in countless creeds and statements of faith.

Churches have often expressed or emphasised doctrines differently, or sometimes added some, but the common core of orthodox Christian faith continues to be things like:

  • there is one true, living and triune God, Creator of all
  • human beings are created in the image of God, created to know God, fallen and sinful, and alienated from God (Ephes. 2:1-3, Rom. 3)
  • in his great love God sent his Son, who lived among us, died for our sin, rose from the dead, is alive forever, and who will come again to judge the living and the dead and to make all things new
  • we are reconciled to God through faith in Jesus
  • we should love God and others, and live under the Lordship of Christ
  • the Bible, penned by human authors, is uniquely inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, is trustworthy and true, and is God’s written word to us

Do such solid doctrinal foundations for our faith still matter? See e.g. Col. 1:23, 1 Cor.15:1-4, Ephes. 4:14, Titus 1:9, 2 Tim. 3:16. Surely we are on very shaky grounds when we de-select some aspects of apostolic faith, or set aside the Bible where it does not suit us, or reinterpret it to say the opposite to what it clearly means.

In these matters it is good to be faithful, clear-minded, humble, and gracious. Strong doctrinal foundations really do matter, along with being spiritually born anew and alive in Christ, being indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit, loving God with all our heart, and truly loving and serving others.

Dr Stuart Lange
Author: Dr Stuart Lange

Dr Stuart Lange is the National Director of the NZCN and is a Senior Research Fellow at Laidlaw College, where he was formerly Vice Principal. Stuart wrote and presented the historical DVD documentary Te Rongopai: 200 years of the Gospel in New Zealand, 1814-2014.

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