Introducing: Foundational Doctrines
It’s come to my attention that some of my posts have gotten away, to an extent, from the intent of this blog. My hope is to bring theology from the academic world to the everyday people in the pews. However, something I need to acknowledge is that not everyone is at the same place. Thus the previous two Tuesdays (prior to this week) I’ve been involved in a rather speculative, by no means definitive, but potentially intellectually stimulating conversation on the nature of the soul, but one that is pretty esoteric and somewhat contentious. So I’m proposing to look at the more foundational Christian doctrines on Thursdays.
Let me explain, on Thursdays I’m going to try to lay out the foundational beliefs of Christianity. Where there are disagreements among what I consider orthodox Christian views I will give them. My goal in these posts will not be to argue or prove a point, but simply to lay out the basics of doctrine. If I fail to do this, or have forgotten a valid perspective, let me know. If there is a particular doctrine that you think needs to be addressed, also let me know.
So the basic structure of the blog will be Mondays: Difficult Passages, Tuesdays: more speculative thought about which we can (and sometimes should) disagree or simply things I find interesting that don’t fit into the other days, Wednesdays: Church History Minute, Thursdays: Basics of Christian Doctrine, and Fridays: Science and Religion. I’ll start this scheme in full swing next week (it’s been a bit of an odd week), but hopefully this will be encouraging, then, rather than intimidating.
Since we are going to be discussing foundational Christian Doctrine, we should probably have a clear starting point. I am suggest that we look at Hebrews 6 for our starting point. There, the author of Hebrews lays out six different things he considers foundational to the Christian faith. Here is the quotation of the first 3 verses:
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
So the six doctrines (or practices) are: repentance, faith, cleansing rites (which is usually understood as baptism), laying on of hands (typically taken to be intercessory prayer), the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. These are by no means easy issues to understand, even if they are elementary, nor is there a universal consensus on all of them. Nevertheless, for the next six weeks (at least) I will focus on these six things in that order. Following that, we may look at other doctrines and ideas, but these six will be our starting point. I hope you’ll join with me on Thursdays and offer your own perspectives on these and what they mean.