Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What Is Doctrine?

What is "doctrine"?  And, specifically, what is Christian doctrine? What follows are some orienting definitions from two of the most influential theologians in my life. And you'll no doubt note some tensions here. And that's okay. Working this out is the task of theologizing for the sake of doctrinal understanding.

First, Packer (since he's the senior theologian): Doctrine is "theology as taught."

And, now, Vanhoozer: Doctrine is "lived understanding," involving "not only concepts but also the church's whole way of life: beliefs, values, and everyday practices."

—J. I. Packer, "Doctrine" (lecture, Regent College, Vancouver, BC, Spring, 2015), 41; Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Faith Speaking UnderstandingPerforming the Drama of Doctrine (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2014), 170.

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