We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.
Christian doctrine lays bare the wonderful coherence of the Christian faith: the themes that hold it together, the beliefs that give it harmony and shape, the basic teachings that give it unity and consistency. This means being rooted above all in the self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ, directed at all points by Scripture, and attuned to the Church’s wisdom through the ages.
Doctrine matters for ministry, because without knowing the fundamental themes of our faith the Church is liable to be 'tossed to and fro' by every new set of ideas on offer, and lose sight of Christ.
At Ridley, we believe the teaching of doctrine should and can affect every dimension of Christian leadership:
- our prayer and worship: our basic about God will radically shape the way we approach and address God, whether on our own or with others
- the way we treat others: our beliefs about the nature and of human beings and their role in God’s world will shape how we care for and respond to each other, both within and beyond the Church
- our reading of Scripture: just as we return again and again to the Bible to formulate doctrine, so we need doctrine to help us interpret the Bible aright, to discern its main 'plotlines', its frameworks of belief
- our preaching and teaching: we need doctrine to ensure we are operating out of a centre in Christ, that we can 'speak the truth in love'
Doctrine at Ridley is thus deeply practical as well as rigorously intellectual; it is aimed to help us 'grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ'.