Each month, the Everything Holy packet offers tidbits of information related to The Episcopal Church in general. Back in April, readers had a snapshot of the difference between Dogma and Doctrine.
Dogma, in the Episcopal Church, can be summarized by saying it is “divinely revealed truth”; beliefs the Magisterium (authority) of the Church considers absolutely basic to the faith, and binding.
Doctrine is the body of Christian teachings or beliefs used to guide our religious and moral practices as taught by the Magisterium of the Church. Doctrine includes dogma and other teachings of the church.
Doctrine becomes dogma when an ecumenical council of the universal church declares that such and such a doctrine has become dogma because all known alternatives can be shown clearly to damage and subvert the Gospel.
All other beliefs are doctrine, which are important but not essential. The doctrine of the Church of England is found primarily in the Book of Common Prayer, containing the ancient creeds of undivided Christendom, and secondarily in the Thirty-nine Articles, which are interpreted in accordance with the prayer book. In short, The Episcopal Church has lots of doctrine, but dogma is more difficult to pin down. As a body, we would have to all agree to say “you have to believe this in order to be a Christian”.
Everything Holy packets hope to nurture spiritual, faith-filled lives beginning in the home. Everyday life experience is an opportunity to live out our Baptismal Covenant and see new connections.