So you went to church this morning.  Listened to your Sunday school teacher, sang some hymns and listened to your preacher.  All of that at a place of worship you’ve decided to call your church home for the time being.

Some of you may have stayed home this morning and listened to a preacher on  television or online.  You chose to listen to him because you like his style, message or someone recommended him.

But do you know if the preacher, teacher, leader, church, online message or Christian books you are reading, actually align with what you know is doctrinally sound?

I guess a better question is, do you know what you believe or what is doctrinally sound?

You might say ‘I believe Jesus is my Savior, that He died on the cross for my sins and arose on the third day and sits at the right hand of the Father.’

If you did, that’s great! It’s great to hear that you do believe in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His work on the cross and that He is alive.

However, do you know what you believe about some other topics like eschatology, the trinity, creation, the sacraments and more? Do you have scripture references you can refer to if someone were to question you?

Think of yourself as a private investigator:

When my husband and I visit a church, listen to a speaker, purchase a book or follow a preacher online we always, without fail, investigate their background,  check out their associates and most importantly look for a doctrinal statement.

What’s a doctrinal statement?

This is the best definition I can share with you, from a former church we attended:  ‘A doctrinal statement is designed to explain our understanding of what Scripture teaches about who God is, who man is, and how they relate. It also touches on several major aspects of theology – the study of God. For example, Eschatology is the study of future events. Most statements include supporting Scripture references.’

How do you investigate a preacher or teacher? Look at their Facebook statuses; look at their websites for doctrinal statements or statements of faith; Google their name and add ‘heresy’ or ‘heretical’ and see if or Watchman Fellowship has a profile or articles.  {This mainly applies to well known preachers or teachers.}

Now if you’re a Baptist, most Baptist churches will point to the Baptist Faith & Message as their statement of faith or doctrinal statement.  Which isn’t very helpful or informative. Why, you might ask, do I say that … Well because just because a church uses the name Baptist or Southern Baptist it doesn’t mean they are actually following what’s stated in the Baptist Faith & Message.

The same can be said of any denomination. That’s why it’s imperative to ask a church leader for a doctrinal statement that addresses important aspects of theology.

Don’t blindly follow a leader or a ‘famous’ preacher or teacher without getting the full story.

Questions to ask:

What do you believe about the trinity?

What do you believe about future events?

What do you believe about how the universe was created?

What do you believe about eternal security?

What do you believe about sanctification?

What do you believe about Scriptures?

These questions are just a starting point as you examine or discern the validity of what you’re listening too or reading.

How to create your own doctrinal statement: 

Do you have core beliefs or theological doctrines that must be in sync before you will sit under the teaching of anyone?

While some may argue there may be some room for negotiation on this, because the common ground is Christ, for us there is very little wiggle room, if you will, when it comes to who we submit to as spiritual leaders.

What do you mean Christie?

Well this is what I mean, the way a leader views certain topics affects the way he views the entire Bible.

Here are some of our non-negotiable doctrinal standards:

1. The preacher or author must be a Pre-Millennial/Pre-Tribulationist dispensationalist. That’s a big set of words that means this, God deals with humanity in dispensations or His divine way of dealing with man under varying responsibilities or conditions.  Pre-Millennial means that a generation at some point in the future of true believers will be raptured, taken out of this world.  At which point seven years of tribulation will begin, Rev. 6:1–19:21.   Believers will not be present for the seven years of tribulation here on Earth.  The rapture is not the second coming of Christ.  That will occur at the end of the tribulation in which Christ will return, bind Satan and reign for 1,000 years. Rev. 20:1-2, Daniel 7:14.

2. The preacher or author must believe in the Trinity as God in three PERSONS, not manifestations. It’s important to know the difference.  A manifestation is heresy, God doesn’t change forms i.e. the Father, the son and the spirit. The eternal Godhead consists of three equal persons God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit. All deserve equal praise and honor.  The trinity is eternal here are some references: Gen. 1:26, Matthew 28: 18-19, 2 Cor. 13:14

3. The preacher or author must view the books of Genesis and Revelation as literal.  A literal interpretation is imperative.  We do not tolerate an allegorical, figurative, symbolic or metaphorical interpretation of the creation account or future events.  God means what He says and says what He means. Also if a preacher, teacher or author takes a different approach to scripture other than literal or plain interpretation,  ruins the whole view of the authoritative, divinely inspired scriptures. There is one interpretation, many applications and context is important.

Now to make your own doctrinal statement:

Why take the time to do this? Well we live in a world where ‘Christian’ authors, memes, videos, preachers, songs, books, blog posts are more available than any other time in man’s history.

How do you know what you’re sharing on Facebook, retweeting, blogging, singing or reading actually aligns with scripture?

The only answer is – you must study scriptures.

To create your own doctrinal statement look up scriptures and write a statement about some of these topics and add to the list as you grow in the knowledge of scriptures.

Keep this as a way to safeguard against error as prescribed in Ephesians 4:14:

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming…

So let’s get started:
Scripture references for the Trinity
Scripture references supporting the full deity and humanity of Christ
The status of humanity
Christ’s substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection
Salvation by faith alone in Christ alone (This would include proof that salvation is not by works, Eph. 2:8)
The literal and physical return of Christ (The Second Coming or Advent, where Christ literally sets foot on Earth again.  I must reiterate this is not the rapture.)
The divine authority and inerrancy of Scripture. (God’s authoritative word is the Scriptures Alone.)

Other topics to include:

Creation, Eternal security, Assurance, Angels fallen and unfallen, the Sacraments (Lord’s Supper), the Great Commission, Grace, Imputation, Mercy, Sanctification, Justification, Glorified or eternal state, the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Gifts etc.

Any minister or ministry worth their salt will have an easy to find, definitive doctrinal statement.  We as Christians living in a world full of false teachers should be prepared to defend our beliefs.  It’s easier to do if you take the time to get organized.

If you need help or further direction on creating a doctrinal statement for your family, I would love to help …