5a Doctrine

Presenter: The Reverend Ian Wissler

Précis for Doctrine by the Reverend Ian Wissler.

Christians are called to follow Truth which is not of human invention but which is of divine revelation.  Knowing Jesus, who he is, and who he reveals God to be, is a necessary prerequisite for the love and worship of God.  

Church doctrine is what gives boundaries and focus for our faith in and love for God.  The basic definition of the term ‘doctrine’ is teaching.  Christian doctrine is taken to mean those things that are understood by the church to be objectively true of God, of Jesus, and of the Christian life.   

Jesus, himself, sets the example of how doctrine is to be developed and transmitted.  He first instructs his apostles during his earthly ministry (before and after the resurrection) about who God is.   He then teaches his apostles how to pass on these truths.  An example is the story of St. Philip and the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch.  

The creeds are the statements by the church about who God is.

The Solemn Declaration of 1893 (page viii Book of Common Prayer), a founding document of the Anglican Church of Canada, has a paragraph that nicely summarizes our understanding of doctrine.  As Canadian Anglicans, we are part of the one Church of Christ, which is Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.  We believe those teachings that have been held by the Church since the beginning.  The Declaration links the apostolic nature of the life of the Church to the truth of God as revealed in scripture and as articulated through the creeds.  We understand God to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We see Jesus as the second person, the Son, of the Trinity.  We see the Holy Spirit as the one who initiates, guides and direct the Christian life.  

Doctrine is the framework around which the church orders its liturgy and life.  Doctrine is not static; it the teaching whereby a living faith can be lived out in a changing world.   As Licensed Lay Ministers you will be helpers in the passing of those teachings to others.   Together we are engaged in a wider ministry and mission entrusted with the truths given to us by Christ through the Apostles.