“Why do we need any doctrine at all? Why don’t we just love Jesus?”
It sounds right, but just ask the person to clarify what he means. Ask him a simple question like, “Who is Jesus?” If he answers, “The Jesus of the Bible” ask in return, “What does the Bible say about Jesus?” Any answer we give to these questions is some form of a doctrine or theology about the person of Christ. Even the statement, “no doctrine but love, no creed but Christ” is a theology. So, the fact is all believers in Christ have doctrine or theology. Our doctrine may be either homemade or learned from someone else, but we all have one. What we should do is search the scriptures and the ideas of the Church through the ages to see how our own beliefs compare. We should make sure our theology is sound.
Christians have always struggled with theology. In the early centuries of the Church, there were many views concerning the covenant and the person of Christ. Some of these robbed Christ of His deity. Others robbed Him of His humanity. There were also differences about which writings should be included in the “canon” (officially recognized as Scripture), differences about church government and differences about many other things.
The early Church had several councils to define what the people of God believed. The first of these councils is recorded in the Bible itself, in the Book of Acts. More councils followed in the next few centuries as Christians sought to define their faith. Through the ages, the overwhelming majority of Christians have agreed with the decisions of these councils. They have stood the test of time. The most important have been repeated in poetical forms called “creeds” (from the Latin word “credo” meaning “I believe”).
The most important of these was the Apostles’ Creed. No one knows for sure when it was written. We do know it was being quoted as early as the second century, in a form very similar to what we recite now. There are almost no Christians anywhere, with all our differences, who do not accept the doctrines that this creed teaches. It is a core of faith that believers in Christ everywhere hold as a common heritage. It is that common heritage we will discuss here because that is the source of doctrine at The Hills Fellowship.
The real focus of Christian unity is centered around the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the truth. All other truths, even time-honored, highly treasured Christian truths, must be written with a lower case “t,” and be preceded by the article “a.” To enshrine anything else as The Truth apart from Him, who claimed that title, is idolatry. We certainly do not wish to make an idol of this confession of our faith.
Our Confession of Faith, like all doctrine and theology, is a declaration of truths about “The Truth.” It is an attempt to give us a handle on His Gospel, as we understand it.