Readings on the Nature of Doctrine

Ever wondered what a doctrine is? The term’s definition is fairly straightforward. A doctrine is a teaching. As fair as this answer is, however, for the pedagogically minded among us, it really only invites further inquiry. For instance, if doctrines are teachings, how are they meant? What sense do they make? Let’s run through some options. Are doctrines statements of facts? Are they expressions of experiences? Are they rules of identity formation? Can they be a combination of these options? Might they be something else entirely? How do these matters bring to view what authority doctrines exercise relative to other theological norms? If questions like these are of interest to you, consider consulting some of the following works. They can introduce you to a live conversation in theology that’s got some far-reaching implications.

(listed chronologically – since the Yale School)

  • Paul L. Holmer, (1978) The Grammar of Faith.
  • George Lindbeck, (1984) The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age.
  • William Christian, (1988) Doctrines of Religious Communities.
  • Eds. Phillips and Okholm, (1996) The Nature of Confession: Evangelicals & Postliberals in Conversation
  • Kathryn Tanner, (1997) Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology.
  • Ellen Charry, (1999) By the Renewing of Your Minds: The Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine.
  • Reinhard Hutter, (1999) Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice.
  • Alister McGrath, (2003) Scientific Theology. Vol. 3, Theory.
  • Kevin Vanhoozer, (2005) The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical Linguistic Approach to Christian Doctrine.
  • Daniel Treier, (2006) Virtue and the Voice of God: Toward Theology as Wisdom
  • Medi Ann Volpe, (2013) Rethinking Christian Identity: Doctrine and Discipleship.
  • Christine Helmer, (2014) The End of Christian Doctrine.
  • Kevin Vanhoozer, (2014) Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine.
  • Rhyme Putman, (2015) In Defense of Doctrine: Evangelicalism, Theology, and Scripture 
  • Eds. Crisp and Sanders, (2017) The Task of Dogmatics

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