Does Doctrine Matter (answering a question)


Also, the liturgy is formative. By reciting the Creed, we remind ourselves of it and repeatedly state the most basic points of Christian orthodoxy, helping us to avoid straying from it. We say what we believe to reinforce it in ourselves.


“All God wants of man is a peaceful heart.” - Meister Eckhart.-


We agree that remaining close to Christ is very important. No doubt about it. I see where you are going…don’t be a Pharisee and miss the mark all together with a hardened heart. I’ve seen both Catholics and Protestants who appear to be heading down that dangerous road.

But in regards to what doctrine matters and how much of it matters…So are you basically saying that there are essential doctrines and non-essential doctrines? I’m not being snide, but when you say “Christ didn’t come to save us from bad doctrine. He came to set us free from the law of sin and death”, it sorta sounds like you are saying that Romans 10:9 is essential and the rest of it can be interpreted in different ways?

And is it possible for us to know all the Truth of Christianity while on earth?



If the person insisting they are right and the Church is wrong then that person is wrong, not the Church. Christ established the Catholic Church and entrusted it with the Deposit of Faith and gave it authority to teach in matters of faith and morals. That means all Church teachings have the full authority of God behind them and in matters of faith and morals the Church is not in error.


Let me put it to you in my very American Evangelical view. I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. However, I have also attended Methodist, Non-Denominational, Assembly of God and even Church of Christ regularly for short period of time. All of those churches beliefs are probably 80-90% the same. In some cases closer to 95% the same. If you look at the statement of faith from most non-denominational churches and most Southern Baptist churches you will have to look for differences because from just a cursory reading you would think they are very much the same thing. From my viewpoint, those 80-90% of doctrinal agreements far outweigh the 10-20% of disagreements, most of which are very debatable and theologians have been arguing over that 10-20% for centuries or even millennia.

So yes, there are essential beliefs and if you ask any pastor or teacher from those different denominations what those essentials are you would get pretty much the same answers. They all think they are 100% right but concede that disagreeing with them on the non-essentials does not negate or invalidate a genuine spiritual encounter with God. That is why the normal answer for all of them is something like “such and such church is wrong about X but there are a lot of people who love Jesus in that church and I’m sure I’ll see them in heaven”.

That is a tough question.

Paul told the Roman church

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

and told the Corinthian Church

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

If those thing are true of Paul and the early churches then they are true of us, even more so.


That is certainly the Catholic position. It is a position not held by a large portion of Christianity, especially in the United States and parts of Europe.


I understand the OP above to basically be asking about the difference between knowing the right things and doing the right things. It may seem ironic, but I think the Scriptures (and the lives of the saints!) make it very plain that doing the right things is paramount. Christ, in his parables, constantly speaks about behavior (about what people are doing), not so much about whether they’re believing the right dogmas/doctrines. Our Lord is very clearly concerned about right living and right doing.


How one handles the Truth is an act, it is something we DO. DO I believe Jesus Christ founded a Church, DO I leave my Individual pursuit of Truth outside or DO I invite my own self to pontiff? DO I sway backwards and forwards between schools of thought like a ship tossed around by prevailing winds.

Doctrine mattered to Jesus Christ, for He spent a great deal of time dabbling in it. Enough so, that if we could just believe God manifest in the flesh, if we could just believe “This is His Body”. If we could just believe and then … DO.


Often the person insisting “the Church is wrong” is wrong about what the Church teaches. This is very common around here. It is not a simple situation of “He insists on A, the Church teaches B, therfore B is right.”

Usually it is a case of “He insists on A against what the Church teaches. A is actually correct, and taught by the Church.” The person is wrong about what the Church teaches, though not about A or B.


Thanks, Ian.

I guess it depends on which denominations you refer to. Because some of them do not even believe in the Holy Trinity. And I think we both agree that that is sort of imperative belief for a number of reasons within the faith. So, let’s say they agree with Southern Baptist on 99 things but disagree on the 100th…the Trinity. Well, then we go back to how much doctrine matters, and what parts of it matter and by what authority are we determining it. As a example, Matt Slick at CARM went so far as to make a chart outlining essential vs non essential beliefs. I do wonder where he got his chart since he practices sola scriptura and there are no tables like that in the bible… And I also wonder where he got his authority to concoct such as thing.

And the reason I asked about knowing all there is to know about the Christian faith is that Jesus told his Church leaders they would be guided into all truth in John 16:13. Not 80-90%, but all. And Paul calls the Church the Pillar and foundation of the Truth in 1 Tim.

So from a Catholic perspective, you absolutely can know all there is to know about the Christian faith.

As Paul says we see in a mirror dimly. We do have finite minds and we do not know what songs are on the playlist in heaven…yet! :wink:


So what do you say to the person who is genuinely “born again” and the Holy Spirit indwells in that person and they live a life of love and compassion, yet they don’t believe what you believe about certain doctrinal matters and yet they 100% believe that their doctrine is the correct doctrine and yours in wrong?


I would ask them by what authority are they determining that I am incorrect? If you are not Catholic or Orthodox, your Church, as great as it may be, has no real pedigree.

Offices are filled in succession with a process involved. I cant just pick up the constitution, read it, and declare myself the President. I need to go through a long process and if I make it through it, I succeed the existing POTUS. I fill his office seat. And I cant just declare myself the authority on interpreting the constitution. That’s what the Supreme court does.

Same thing with Church leadership. There is a unbroken chain going back to the apostles that exists. And it was important that this occurred in order to root out heresy over the last 2,000 years.


And part of their doctrine, that they believe is 100% correct, is that the Catholic church made a mess of things and that their church is unraveling that mess and you can’t convince them otherwise. Yet, they remain a genuinely born again Christian that the Holy Spirit indwells and they live a life of love and compassion.


Yes, they take a Catholic book, remove 7 of the individual books therein, tell the RCC they are wrong about everything and beat them over the head with it like aunt Esther from Sanford and Son lol.

Not you, though, Ian. You have been very cordial. And we do appreciate it. :slight_smile:

If I remember correctly you have a Catholic in-law or something? Or your son or daughter married into a Catholic family? I have not posted here in a while so I forget your situation.


You’ll be interested to hear, I think, that I recently read an essay on the authority of Scripture from an Episcopalian author. The essay was generally dreadful (he had a very liberal view), but I found it interesting that he said that, in light of modern scholarship, the Deuterocanon should be considered part of Scripture.


Thank you for the kind words.

The point I’m trying to make is that at some point, the fact the Christ is dwelling in someone via the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit is evident in their life has to trump doctrinal purity. After all, they both think they have pure doctrine, while you and others may disagree with them and they with you. Does not the faith they profess and the living out of that faith trump doctrinal error (real or perceived depending on who you are). Doesn’t the fact that Christ is living through and in them a greater indication of their spiritual state than what church they attend?

You asked the question, “Does Doctrine matter”?

I’ll ask the question, “Does God changing a person heart and filling them with the Holy Spirit matter”? That is what American Evangelical Christianity teaches. God changes our hearts, makes us new creations in Christ, adopts us as a Child of God, fills us with the Holy Spirit, which leads us to live for Him and give Him glory.

Is it possible for God to do that and someone to for them to still have wrong doctrine? Does the work of God in their life confirm their standing before Him and give evidence of their spiritual state. Does having the wrong doctrine (intellectual understanding) take away their spiritual state of being in Christ?

My son is getting married to a wonderful Catholic girl this summer. That is what brought me here.


Christianity is not a purely spiritual religion. Someone can be as spiritually dedicated to God as can be, but that’s not a full Christianity because Christianity is also a physical, sacramental religion. It is not meant to be practiced purely internally; worship is both a spiritual and a physical act. Baptism washes away our sins; through the Eucharist we physically receive the body of Christ. So even if that person is quite faithful, that person is missing out on the fullness of the faith, because the fullness of our faith involves not just our souls but also our bodies.


We used it in the Anglican Church for teaching purposes. I remember reading Wisdom chapter two at Church there and nearly jumping out of my seat with excitement as it is clearly Jesus being prophesied therein.

Shout out to the Faithful Anglican Churchs for at least recognizing the Deteuros as being somewhat important.


Yeah, the official Anglican position in the 39 Articles is that they’re valid for instruction but not for doctrine. At this point I fully accept them as Scripture simply for historical reasons, though I have yet to read them (as this is a relatively recent conclusion for me).


Yes, and the people who attend American Evangelical churches physically live out their faith. They attend church and find joy in the music and peace and reflection in the preaching and teaching. They were baptized and regularly take the Lord’s Supper, They do devotionals where they read the Bible and ponder it’s meaning, they sponsor Children through organizations like compassion international, they support their local food banks and crisis pregnancy center, they help volunteer to help immigrants learn English and support ministries that help people learn to read and get a GED and get into college.

The spiritual aspect of being in Christ and Christ in them effects their physical/mental life on a daily and even hourly basis.

What do you tell those folks who have a great love for Christ and live for Christ, but are not Catholic? They may be separated from the Catholic Church but they are not separated from Christ.

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