Should a church have a doctrinal statement? By Jeremy Myers 24 CommentsHere’s a quick question. Should a church have a doctrinal statement? If not, why not? If so, what should be on it? Learn the most essential truths for following Jesus! Get FREE articles and audio teachings every week in my discipleship emails! Comments Leave a Comment or Question Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Don't subscribe All Replies to my comments Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.You can also subscribe without commenting. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Jon says February 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm Should ‘a church’ consider themselves separate and different than ‘the church’? If yes, then sure… make a list of your distinctives that make you unique. Reply Jeremy Myers says March 1, 2011 at 8:40 am Right. That is a great question. So maybe rather than a “doctrinal statement” you could call it core beliefs, or central ideas, or distinctives? So how about “the church”? What lies at the center there? Are there things that every church can agree upon? To even begin to answer that question, you have to set some theological rules on who gets to come to the table to have a say. Reply FedExMOP says February 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm Jeremy, I am not sure that I have an answer on this. I was raised to believe that doctrine transcended all other things. This was demonstrated vividly in the numerous church splits that I endured (including one that placed my father and I on opposite sides, a rift that still is not fully healed). I have watched beloved friends that grew up together go to seminary or bible school only to come back and tear the church apart from the inside over “doctrinal issues”. I think that faith is important, that belief is important, that truth is important, but I have been so wounded by those whose battle call is “correct doctrine” that I have difficulty embracing any one doctrinal statement. I guess I could have summarized this in “I dunno”. Your Brother In Christ, FedEx, President, Men of Praise Motorcycle Ministry Reply Jeremy Myers says March 1, 2011 at 8:43 am I’ve seen this too. I have taken part in it in the past. I remember some long and heated debates over doctrine that led to several people leaving my church. Yikes! Reply Bobby says March 1, 2011 at 7:29 am I have mixed views regarding doctrinal statements. They unite by dividing and divide by uniting. I have yet to be under the teaching of a confession of faith that I agreed with fully and found to be complete according to my own understanding. My understanding of doctrine goes through conistent periods of change, question and levels of conviction. Even if I wrote a personal doctrinal statement, it would be in pencil. I know that doesn’t answer your question though. Reply Jeremy Myers says March 1, 2011 at 8:48 am Yeah, that helps a little bit. I have written half a dozen doctrinal statements over the years, and as I look back over them now, I cringe at how I said certain things, and some of the things I emphasized. Some of it has changed a wee bit, and some of it I am not as sure on as I once was. So yes, write the statement in pencil. I like that. Reply Jon says March 1, 2011 at 8:16 am “Even if I wrote a personal doctrinal statement, it would be in pencil.” Love that! Great point. 🙂 Anyone who is growing in their faith and understanding of God would not be in complete agreement with even themselves of past years. Uniformity can’t be a requirement to unity. Reply Alan Knox says March 1, 2011 at 9:04 am You know, John Calvin wrote his “doctrinal statement” (“The Institutes”) over many, many year. It was only after he died that “The Institutes” were frozen for all times as what all Christians must believe (said partly tongue-in-cheek). I’m not opposed to a statement of beliefs, as long as we understand that there are followers of Jesus Christ who will not agree with us. And, our disagreements must never be cause for division between brothers and sisters in Christ. -Alan Reply Jeremy Myers says March 1, 2011 at 9:09 am I read somewhere that his first version was only a few pages. It definitely did expand over the years! And you’re right, it is when we make our doctrinal statement the end-all for all Christians that we get into trouble. Reply Alan Knox says March 1, 2011 at 9:04 am I should have said, “John Calvin wrote AND EDITED…” -Alan Reply tommyab says March 1, 2011 at 6:08 am our little experience here have not been that doctrinal problems are the biggest, but mostly that the “brother who does’nt want to repent and be reconciled with his brother” (Matthew 18) was the biggest struggle and the way Jesus thaught us how to deal with those brother is terribly efficient. as I always say, I think that doctrine=practice Christ died and rose again… the world will say “so what” if we don’t die ourself as church and want to act “as if” we are resurrected people, but never die as church “in missing the cross we have missed the power of the resurrection” – Art Katz I strongly believe that God gives his Spirit to all His children, and so any child of God can be lead by God. It’s kind of a “spiritual instinct”. the following text by David D Flowers is very good on that matter: http://daviddflowers.com/2011/01/23/organic-church-life-doctrinal-issues/ Reply tommyab says March 1, 2011 at 6:16 am so no doctrinal statement for me I think that doctrinal statement are born out of a need of human control over the Spirit of God it was born initially as a way to unite christians under the same creed,… as more and more christians were anything but christians, … and as more and more human leaders were leading instead of the Spirit of Christ doctrinal statement is the root to denominationalism, as Jon pointed out and if I don’t want to be something, it’s to be “just an other” denomination. faith and freedom in the body of Christ is painful and scarry, full of dangers and pitfalls… a good way to avoid this is doctrinal statement, .. which is also a good way to divide from brothers, and to shut down the Holy Spirit. With doctrinal statement, we don’t need God anymore to tell us the truth: we got it! So God doesn’t manifest himself anymore, and we ask why… Reply Jeremy Myers says March 1, 2011 at 8:45 am They do divide. But at the same time, I see Paul and John and Peter in their letters telling the churches to not listen to certain people because they teach incorrect doctrine, and even sometimes having them remove people from the fellowship. How is this possible if there is no doctrinal guideline? I will check out that link by David Flowers. Thanks! Reply tommyab says March 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm @Jeremy (March 1, 2011 at 8:45 AM) how did they recognize the false doctors?? by their actions. (See 2 Peter 2, Titus 1, 1 and 2 Timothy, 3 John) Reply tommyab says March 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm so again: doctrine=praxis Reply tommyab says March 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm “by their doctrinal statement you will recognize them” ??? no. “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matt 7) I know a bunch of false teachers that have the best doctrine we could ever hope for. Reply Jeremy Myers says March 2, 2011 at 9:03 am Yes, good points. But I am not sure this excludes doctrinal statements. Swanny says March 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm My answer would be… no, churches should not have doctrinal statements. If you are going to run a business, or a social club then yes you need to set up rules and regulations that people who join must follow or they cannot be part of what goes on inside the club or corporation. With doctrinal statements for church (business) comes a membership requirement into a social club that looks only one way at scripture and halts everyone from actually learning and growing deeper in Christ. The Body of Christ, or the one true Church, is already unified in Him. No need for a separate doctrinal statement to join … Christ is our doctrinal statement! Swanny Reply Jeremy Myers says March 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm I like the distinction between the church and a business or social club. That is very helpful. Full disclosure: I’m starting another website, and while it is not a church, it is built for churches, and I am trying to decided whether I should have a doctrinal statement or not. I think that based on what I am reading in the discussion here, I will have a very basic one since it is more of an “online social club” for churches and ministries rather than an actual church. Reply Spoke says March 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm I’m a Pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. I’m a bad Pastor with no formal training but was noticed “pastoring” long before becoming a Pastor. After the Mothership noticed that I was titled in our Body, It insisted that I jump through many hoops that seemed to have little to do with Jesus and almost ALL to do with C&MAC rules. The path felt slimy so I didn’t go all the way to Ordination (can’t find verses to support it) but settled for Accreditation. I hang out with ANYONE and seem to only judge the ultra-conservative, right-wing Christians in my area (my bad, I know). This makes the Mothership very uncomfortable…pastors in the bar having an ale with friends. I was eventually laid-off to due to “lack of funds” (which I have in writing) it seemed as though people in our congregation began fleeing contemporary church and we couldn’t pay me and the Lead Pastor (who sat in his office day in, day out)… I won’t settle for another stagnant “building-pastor” gig, I promise. At most, I spent 6 hours per week in the office, the rest of my time was spent WITH people. All people. As far as a church having a doctrinal statement? Well, WE ARE THE CHURCH, not those expensive buildings…so my short answer is YES! But it must be succinct! My doctrinal statement might be summed up like this: “I love God with all my being and in the strength of Jesus, I actively love everyone HE loves, whether or not they know/believe He loves them”. Peace Reply Jeremy Myers says March 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm Spoke, Where in Canada? I pastored two CMA churches in Montana, and one of them ended very similarly to what you describe above. I have a good friend in a CMA church in Calgary (I think that is where he is now), Corey Tilroe. Anyway, I love what you say there about doctrinal statements, and I love where you are headed for “church” too. what are you going to do for work? Reply tommyab says March 2, 2011 at 9:11 am @Jeremy I won’t make a doctrinal statement about not having doctrinal statement ! 😉 Reply Jeremy Myers says March 2, 2011 at 9:15 am Hilarious! Wouldn’t that be funny though? Reply johnpugh says February 27, 2021 at 12:26 pm Scripture Teaches in Jude V2&3 that the christian is to defend THE FAITH. If we dont have a clear view as to what it is we will not only be able to defend it let alone love,practice,shair it. THE Faith can be defined as the whole counsle of God & not just a hand full of statments. We live in a day & age of minimalism because churchs want the big tent so comprehensive statments are tucked away as to not be a stumbling stone for perspective converts. We need to be reminded of the fact that people will not want sound doctrine at the close of the age. A church membership mybe happy in ignorance but at the same time is will not be a strong church. Reply Leave a Comment or Question Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Don't subscribe All Replies to my comments Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.You can also subscribe without commenting. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.