“But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of doctrine to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness–Romans 6:17-18
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world–Galatians 4:8
Every record of conversion in the book of Acts records a period of teaching and baptism. Without an evangelist teaching, a sinner learning, and God creating a new creation in baptism there is no conversion.
Christianity is, therefore, a religion of knowledge. Without a knowledge of the Scriptures, “you do err.” The great commission demands people be “in the know.” Jesus described the process of one being taught, being baptized, and being taught further–Matthew 28:19-20.
There are intellectual prerequisite to becoming a Christian. “Without faith it is impossible to please him.” “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” If we haven’t heard and understood something, then we cannot be saved.
Jesus said “except you believe I am he, you shall die in your sins.” This means I need to know who Jesus is. I need to have some understanding of the triune God. I need to know what sin is or else I will never understand what it means to be saved. Knowing who Christ is, I will hopefully set out to obey his gospel’s doctrine immediately (Romans 6:17-18).
That something we must know to be saved is the doctrine of the gospel–Jesus reigns as King and I must submit to him. That doctrine expects me to know about the triune God, though it be just an elementary knoweledge. It also expects me to understand how I have rebelled against God in sin. I have to understand that Jesus’ sacrifice makes atonement for my sin. I have to understand that Jesus commanded repentance and baptism. This is me making the determination to turn from sin to God. Baptism is when God adds me to his family and makes me a new creation.
There are unfathomable riches to be discovered in any doctrinal area. Each doctrine has been studied by the brightest minds of the last 2000 years. There is incredible nuance and detail involved in technical Bible study or systematic theology. This science of Bible doctrine was once heralded as the queen of the sciences. Now Biblical illiteracy and agnosticism reign together.
A degree in theology is not required for salvation, but a basic knowledge of God, sin, salvation, and dedication surely is expected. The Christian should grow in his Bibliology, Theology, hamrtiaology, Christology, Pneumatology, anthropology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology.
Doctrine is fundamental to Christianity. We are to teach others who will teach others–2 Timothy 2:2. We are to hold to doctrine–2 Thessalonians 2:15. We are to defend the doctrines of the faith–Jude 3. I hope to grow in knowledge every day. But indeoend totally upon his grace for any and every good. No amount of knowledge will ever make me right. But complete ignorance does make me wrong.