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3.1.1 Introduction to Doctrine 3

Introduction to Doctrine 3

Objectives of this Course


To aid the student in his personal study,contemplation, and understanding of God with an extended overview.


To make the material and vocabulary of this subject intelligible to beginning students as well as advanced students.


Truth is absolute, but our understanding of Truth grows clearer the more we lend our heart and mind to the Holy Ghost and His Word. This course is written knowing that ongoing study with its additions, revisions, enlargements, and modifications is necessary.


It is important that our study be motivated by a passion for the Scriptures and our Lord. Any other motive will cause our learning only to be divisive and destructive. Any truth learned and applied is an awesome blessing and no cause for boasting. Remember that because our knowledge and understanding is fluid we must use much grace when Christian's disagree on doctrinal points. No person or church has a monopoly on God and it is dangerous to study and present the Scriptures as if you are the only one who is right.

Ephesians 4:3,13 -- Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Personal Qualifications for this Course

  1. The ardent love of truth for its own sake.
  2. The supreme and disinterested love of God.
  3. An intense desire to know more of God.
  4. A strong desire to make Him known to others and a willingness to make any personal sacrifice for this end.
  5. A sense of ignorance and dependence upon Divine teaching and such humility as to be willing to expose your ignorance.
  6. A willingness to apply and practice as fast as you learn.
  7. A fixed purpose to know and do the whole truth which is the will of God.
  8. A state of mind that will not be diverted to make provision for the flesh.
  9. Docility of mind. (Teachable; obedient;submissive disposition; no desire to rebel against authority, or control.)
  10. The love of study.
  11. Sound education. (Education is obviously an asset to any student, yet God can work with what you know, if you are willing to apply yourself and build upon what knowledge you do have.)
  12. Industrious habits.
  13. Patience and perseverance in investigation.
  14. A mind so balanced as to be duly influenced by evidence.

Personal Benefits from Doctrine

  1. A constantly increasing sense of your own ignorance.
  2. The highest advantages for growth in personal holiness.
  3. The habit of rapid, correct, and consecutive thought.
  4. System in thinking and communicating thought.
  5. Facility in preparations for the pulpit.
  6. Exactness in the statement of the doctrines of Christianity.
  7. Facility in proving them.
  8. Consistency of views and statements.
  9. A settled state of mind in regard to religious truth.
  10. Ability to teach the doctrines and duties of religion.


  1. Avoid tempting God, by demanding an impossible or unreasonable kind or degree of evidence.
  2. Avoid a cavilling state of mind.
  3. Avoid defending error for the sake of an argument.
  4. Avoid committing yourself to an opinion.
  5. Avoid calling in question first truths.
  6. Avoid attempting to prove them.
  7. Avoid begging the question.
  8. Avoid impatience at the ignorance or stupidity of your classmates.
  9. Avoid an ambition to excel them in study and argument.
  10. Avoid a disputatious spirit.
  11. Avoid stating one thing and proving another in your skeletons [outlines].
  12. Avoid the use of weak and inconclusive arguments.
  13. Avoid an involved method of stating your propositions.
  14. Avoid stating more than you can prove.
  15. Avoid leaving your propositions, until fully supported by evidence or argument.
  16. Avoid the accumulation of evidence or argument after your proposition is fully established.
  17. Avoid prolixity in the statement of your propositions.
  18. Avoid the great error of supposing that truths that are self-evident to some minds are so to all.

Taken from Finney's Lectures on Theology, by Charles G. Finney and published by Bethany Fellowship in 1976 under the title The Heart of Truth.

Outline for Our Study of Doctrine III