On Doctrine and Why You Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out

While studying Church history from Christ’s death to Martin Luther (1500s), it is interesting to me that I have yet to agree 100% with any one person’s doctrine. I don’t even fully agree with those who, like I do, hold scripture to be the highest authority and earnestly seek to believe and apply all that it teaches.

I’m a Protestant, and I don’t even agree with the founder of Protestantism on all points (Luther believed infant baptism regenerated their souls and doggedly defended transubstantiation).

This observation tells me two things:

1) It is highly unlikely there exists one person with totally correct doctrine, and

2) That’s okay.

The first point should serve to humble me regularly, as it implies I probably don’t have totally correct doctrine.

And the second point should serve to remind me my salvation nor my value in God’s eyes depends on my having perfect theology. Nowhere does the Bible say we have to have all of our theological ducks in a row to have a relationship with God and eventually enter His Heaven.

The Bible teaches this: if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

See? No mention of having all the right doctrine, just some of the right doctrine.

These thoughts prompt me to give myself grace while studying God. It’s okay if I don’t figure it all out

And, equally important, these thoughts encourage me to show other believers respect, love, and grace if they hold a belief I don’t.

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3 thoughts on “On Doctrine and Why You Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out

  1. What is important is which bit of doctrine we believe in and that is how one has a relationship with the Living God through Jesus Christ, something we do agree with Luther on. Thank goodness he fought for this view against the prevailing doctrine of the Catholic Church.

    But I thought he defended consubstantiation, not transubstantiation.

    • You may be right. The book I was reading didn’t use either term. It just stated Luther believed in the “true presence of Christ” in the sacrament and pitted his view against Zwingli’s insistence the elements are symbolic. I assumed transubstantiation, but the phrase could also describe consubstantiation now that I think about it. Another book doesn’t use the either term to decribe Luther’s position either but points out he and Zwingli were in agreement that transubstantiation was not right. So by process of elimination, and without going to the Google for affirmation, I think you’re right.

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