Doctrine: a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system.
Alister E. McGrath, in The Genesis of Doctrine, proposes the following four roles of doctrine in Christian theology and thought:
1) social demacator
2) interpreter of the Christian narrative
3) interpreter of experience
4) maker of truth claims
Dogmas traditionally take doctrine a step further and expand the role of doctrine as follows:
Dogma: an established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization which is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from.
Some questions that come to mind for the group are:
- 1) Are McGrath's roles appropriate or not?
2) Is there a role missing from McGrath's list?
3) Do dogmas have a role? Why or why not?