What is Christian Dogma?


For many long-standing Christians with a mature and committed faith, the question of dogma may seem a bit elementary. But there are Christians who live challenged by the signs of the end time and need to know the values and content planted around the dogma of this faith we profess. They need to know the basics of the faith to be able to build on it and grow.

The truth is that regardless of age and denomination, the reality of precepts are applicable to us all and they are considered indispensable and necessary. We need to know and rediscover our roots in order to be the Christians we have been called to be. 

On this journey, we will take out the time to ask the significant questions. What does the word dogma mean? And how is it important to our faith?

Dogma Definition

The Greek word dogma originally meant “opinion,” meaning the viewpoint of a sect, but has been narrowed down to something more specific.

Dogma has been defined as a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted. 

There’s no room for trying to rationalize, or even update them. They are the framework of belief that every community is built on and because of that, they cannot be changed without affecting or dismantling the entire structure.

Theoretically speaking, dogmas can be found in nearly every organization or institution on earth. In fact, the basis of any organization is that it has its dogmas that bind its members altogether.

We can see dogmas in political parties, communities, philosophical schools, government, and religious sects amongst others.

What Is Christian Dogma?

Christian dogmas are those teachings that are revealed by God Himself to the church. They are universal and true to every Christian.

In fact, being a Christian means you believe fully in the precepts of the church because they are the core foundation of our faith.

What Are The Differences Between A Dogma And A Doctrine?

The words dogma and doctrine are used interchangeably to refer to the teachings of the church, but there is a distinction.

The word doctrine in Greek is ‘didaskalia’ which means “basic teachings”. In the New Testament, it is referred to by Paul in 1 Timothy 1:10  and 2 Timothy 3:10.

Doctrines are the full set of the beliefs and teachings of Christianity. They include the fundamentals but also other teachings that make up the moral conduct and belief system of the church.

The basic difference between them is that dogmas are divinely revealed and because of that are set in stone and unchangeable. They are referenced by Paul in Acts 16:4.

All religious dogmas are doctrines but not all doctrines are dogmas. Some doctrines can be subject to change and may vary by region, but dogmas can’t. Christians may disagree on certain doctrines but agree on all dogmas.

For example, one dogma is the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Christians everywhere believe that Jesus is God. While an example of a doctrine is that priests do not marry. Some churches allow priests to have families, while some do not.

Christian Dogma In The Bible

There are some major dogmas that distinguish Christianity from other religions. They are;

  • The Divinity of Christ

To be Christian is to believe that Jesus is God. John 1:1 tells us that Jesus the Word is God. This is closely related to the doctrine of the Trinity: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit being one and the same, so Jesus is God.

  • The Death and Resurrection of Jesus for Mankind

This dogma states that Jesus Christ, who is God (John 1:14), came down in the form of a man to live and die for the sins of the whole of mankind because He was sinless Himself. According to 2 Corinthians 5:21, we have life and are righteous because of Him.

Jesus in John 14:6 tells us that He is the Way, Truth, and Life and that no one comes to God except through Him. We do not believe in salvation through our works or efforts. Any religion that teaches that salvation gotten by any other way than through Jesus simply isn’t Christianity.

  • The Bible Is God’s Word

Christianity believes and teaches that the Bible is divinely inspired and is the only book accepted to be a guide for believers everywhere (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

The Bible contains the origin of humanity and our faith, God’s marvelous works, His commands, and the code of conduct of the Christian amongst other things. All doctrines and dogmas are contained in its pages and any doctrine that doesn’t have its origin in the Bible is regarded as false.

Other dogmas include;

  • The Immaculate conception (Jesus being conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary), 
  • The Ten commandments, 
  • The Eternity of God, and 
  • The Sinlessness and Integrity of God, amongst others.

What Does Christian Dogma Mean For Christians Today?

The concept of dogmas has almost been forgotten in modern-day Christianity. Many present-day disciples aren’t even sure of what they believe because they don’t know what they are supposed to believe.

The tenets aren’t even made clear to some new converts when they make this life-changing decision, and so we end up having Christians who don’t have a clear understanding of the foundations of their faith. We must try to correct these errors by stating clearly what Christianity is set on and what we believe.

Christian doctrines also point us to the fact that there are certain things we must never compromise on. In the things that the Bible is clear about like abstinence from sin, we must obey.

We must seek to understand and stick to truths like this. It is what makes us who we are. We must never try to throw away or bend these precepts because of ‘wokeness’ or some new revelation. Like a dog who refuses to let go of his bone, let us hold fast to them. (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Final Thoughts

We are what we believe, and that is why Christian dogma is important. It helps us differentiate the truth from falsehood, sound doctrine from heresy, and spiritual laws from man-made ones.

We are called to be dogmatic, that is, to strictly believe in and adhere to the principles of the Christian faith. Others may call us narrow-minded or uptight, but Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:14 that even the way to God’s Kingdom is very narrow. We can never be too opinionated about what the Bible clearly says.