Are we saved by correct doctrine?


Nobody is saved by correct doctrine. People are saved by the object of their belief. If one holds that the One God made flesh in the person of the Son is the object of their salvation, then according to the Bible, they are saved. But adhering to sound doctrine doesn't save. As Gustavo Gutiérrez writes: "Being a Christian does not mean, first and foremost, believing a message. It means believing a person." One of my own mentors was the senior elder of a large Lutheran church for 11 years before he was saved, so one can hold "correct doctrine" and not be saved. He held correct doctrine or the church of some 2000 members would not have elected him to his position.

Orthodoxy or sound doctrine is the faith that Vincent of Lerins reflected when he penned, "quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est": "that which has been believed in every place, in every time, by everyone." By this, he means those statements of faith that have been claimed by the majority of Christians throughout time. It is the faith shared by all branches of Christendom, as given from the crucial early periods of Christian doctrinal definition.

Yet at its most fundamental level, the goal of orthodoxy isn't that everybody believe the same things, have the same emphasis, or share the identical practices (for there is room within the veil of orthodoxy for disagreement and still remain brethren saved by blood, by grace, through faith alone, by God who is One); rather, the goal of orthodoxy is that everybody believe those things that cannot be disbelieved.

Eric Landstrom

Return to the Protestant Apologetics and Theology page