While it could be said that doctrines are not strictly necessary, it’s like using a computer without knowing how it works. You are inducing the power of Christ by your acknowledging Him as Lord. If your not content with believing what is being taught about the “why, what, and how” of Christianity, then doctrines are really unavoidable, at least to some extent. And additionally, all people inevitably suffer from from a mild to extreme case of bias. It has been so exciting for me to learn about all of the different doctrines that have come down through the ages regarding different elements of Christianity. For the informed individual, doctrines can, it seems, hand-pick their doctrine of choice in each category, and puzzle piece them together in a sort of logic flowchart.
Doctrine of Sin
The beginning, if one could be supposed, might be at the defining of sin. Roman’s 3:23 makes it clear that all humans are subject to this dilemma, and the New Testament of Scripture offers a clear solution to it. But this doctrine really determines the trajectory of choices down the line of other necessary doctrines. If an original/inherited sin doctrine is chosen, then the character of God perception will include a perception of more sovereignty in it, whereas if a person chooses an individual-chosen sin state, then a greater emphesis will be placed on free will. And occasionally, there are variations in between the two extremes.
Doctrine of God’s nature
In solidifying one’s own concern with the sin that has been shown to Him, He now has to come to terms with what composes God. What attributes of nature are present, and what emphesis will be viewed more then others? God’s nature is pretty clear: Eternal, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Triune. But a knowledge of these metaphysically anatomical elements of God play a part in defining God’s character better.
Doctrine of God’s Character
There is a basic knowledge of characteristics that God operates in: Love, Mercy, Justice, Truth, Holiness, etc. But these terms are full of meaning. Love being the paramount, it expresses a dimension that we cannot really comprehend, considering the Greek’s expression of Agape.
Doctrine of Man’s nature
God said He created man in His own image. While this is debatable what it is with certainty, I am pretty confident that His image refers to three elements: Mind, Will, and Emotion. A mind to reason, a will to chose, and emotion to feel and express. These things are imperative to human life. Having arrived at this understanding of God’s image though, it arises the question of whether God actually possesses those same qualities Himself. Sure, it’s obvious when we state that abilities of choice, will, and feeling came from Him, but to say that He operates in them as well suggests some significant iconoclasm with traditional thinking regarding God.
Doctrine of Man’s Character
When attributes of nature are identified, what will be done with the those attributes is naturally the next progression. If I recognized that I have blue eyes, now I either consciously or subconsciously match my outfit to be color coordinated with what people most often look at when noticing me. In the same way, my awareness of free will and reason enables me to choose virtues of character like courage, respect, honesty, and perseverance, and also likewise reject them.
Doctrine of the Atonement
The foundation of Christianity hinges upon this point. While Jesus will take care of us despite how we understand this, for those that are mystified as to how this process works, an atonement comprehension may shed light on why it’s the foundation of the Kingdom they are now apart of. Ironically, many differing views arise here, which really testifies of the argumentative and/or imaginative nature of people. These views usually retain the names of the people who coined them, and this right here should lead us to pull a “Berean” stunt for clarity. Scripture does help a lot, but only if it is read.
All of these points appear to me as a boxes in a logic flow chart that actually can go so far as define our worldview. While it may be said that naively believing whatever has been taught is inadaquet, the other end of the spectrum is handpicking your perception of God, which really amounts to your perception of you. It is a sketchy route to take, but you’ll be the better for it, it you are wise in your paradigm shaping. Our doctrines don’t change who God is. Perhaps it was God’s plan all along for us to be able to chose the perception of Him we think is best, and then, as a result, live with the consequences.