1. a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government: Catholic doctrines; the Monroe Doctrine.
2. something that is taught; teachings collectively: religious doctrine.
3. a body or system of teachings relating to a particular subject: the doctrine of the Catholic Church. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/doctrine: accessed 4-1-12 at 1554)
Doctrine is, in my opinion, the teachings of man based on interpretations of the Bible that may or may not be correct. Some teachings are resulting from verses taken out of context, some where verses are ignored in favor of other verses. Not all doctrine is like this, however. There are sound doctrines out there, and most are just such doctrines. My reason for writing this is not to attack any doctrine that is out there – only to say that doctrine won’t save you.
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12NIV)
In my opinion, the only doctrine that matters is what the Bible says. There is no other doctrine that faith should be based on. Granted, the Bible should be read in the context of the entire Bible, and some don’t do this – this is where faulty doctrine comes in. Again, I am not attacking doctrine – just speaking on it.
Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical Free, Non-denominational, etc. – which is right, which has it all together? My opinion? None of them have it right. And it doesn’t matter. We are fallible, error prone, often wrong, in short…we are human. We includes those in leadership positions. What separates these ‘denominations’ are their doctrines, their principles, their teachings. They may have misinterpreted things, they may have it wrong, they may be right.
The one thing I will say that matters is whether or not a particular denomination teaches that Jesus is our savior, and the only way to attain salvation is through faith in Him. After that, so long as one truly is saved by true heart knowledge and faith that Jesus died as the final sacrifice for our sins (which are inevitable), doctrine doesn’t really matter in terms of salvation. If the teaching is bibically based, and they do not teach outrageous things like ‘works save’ or ‘kill the sinner with your tongue’ or other ridiculousnesses, it doesn’t matter.
After one is saved, there is one important truth that should be recognized – our works define what rewards we recieve in heaven.
…they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. (1Corinthians 3:8)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.(2 Corinthians 5:10)
Our works are judged, and we will receive rewards for what we do in the body. And this is where doctrine could matter. Are we living the life God intends for us, or are we being misled into thinking we are?
5 Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you–unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?(2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP)
Test every doctrine to see whether it is of God.
BELOVED, DO not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world. (1 John 4:1)
In conclusion, the only important doctrine is the one concerning salvation. Don’t judge the other denominations because of what they believe. There will be no denominations in heaven. Just be sure what you are being taught is of God…