The First Principles of the Doctrines of Christ
“Doctrine is to the body of Christ what the bones are to the human body. It forms the skeletal framework upon which the whole body is built. As there are small bones and larger ones, yet each is important to the function of the whole, so there are hundreds of doctrines and each is important, but some serve a more vital function than others.”
There are six primary doctrines mentioned by the Apostle, which he considered as “the milk of the word”, the first principle foundation stones or doctrines of Christ, stepping stones if you will leading to spirit begettal and prospective membership in the body of Christ. In the early church that is in its infancy these six were all that were needed, and still are today, but now having reached the end of the age and the Harvest, several more are added, Why? Because as promised “knowledge shall increase” (Dan 12:4), and as knowledge has increased so has the responsibility for that knowledge.
“To whom much has been given much more is required.”
“As a mother’s milk is essential for good health in the infant child, so these basic doctrines are vital to the belief structure of the Christian. Just as milk remains an important part of the adult diet, so these fundamentals of the Christian religion are not to be forgotten but to remain as a foundation for future growth.”
What then are these first principles or foundation stones? The Apostle Paul in Heb 6:1 mentions the first six, these are, as previously mentioned of vital importance as these represent the vary base of our foundation structure. Grasping these six first is essential to our spiritual well-being and to our being “established in the truth”. 2 Pet 1:12
The first stone in the foundation is repentance from dead works;
The second faith towards God,
The third, the doctrine of baptisms,
The fourth, the laying on of hands,
The fifth, the resurrection of the dead,
The sixth, eternal judgment.
“Thus the Apostle calls our attention to the six primary stones in the foundation of Christ. You will note he has changed the figure here again. He begins with the figure of newborn babes, partaking of milk, and then changes the analogy to one of a foundation and the building or construction of the foundation (Later after this foundation has been properly fixed and established comes the building of the structure.) In other words this foundation in Christ is the same as the milk of the Word or the elementary principles of Christ.”
The Apostle Paul laid this foundation (1 Cor 3:10) that is to say if you have hearkened to all which he has taught you would have been made acquainted with these six primary foundation stones comprising the sure foundation which is Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid.” What does that mean? It means “There is no other way into the great Hope of this Age than just the way I have told you.” There is no easy way into Christ, no way by which one can avoid sacrifice and suffering… “There is no other foundation that you can build upon than the one I have laid. You must repent from all your dead works. You must pocket your pride and have faith in God only for grace and truth and you must make a full consecration, being begotten of God’s Spirit, and the only thing that will be valuable in God’s sight is a New Creature, with nothing but heavenly hopes and desires. Now,” he says, “there is no other foundation. Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” (1912 Bible Students Convention Report, Page 876)
“The Apostle goes on to counsel against rebuilding the same foundation over and over again; saying “…let us goes on to maturity, not laying again and again the foundation.” And so it is we find many Christians today and they are always laying the foundation in Christ; they never get beyond the foundation to build upon that foundation. If we saw a man who was going to build a house and he first of all laid the foundation all right but laid it over and over again, week after week, never going any further, we would imagine that there is something the matter with him; he will never have a house.” But that is exactly what we find today in many cases among the Lord’s people. They are always laying again and again the same foundation and they never think of building upon that foundation (advancing beyond the primary truths). That is just another illustration of remaining babes, always partaking of milk and never appreciating the strong meat.”
The following two translations of Heb 6:1 make this more abundantly clear, viz.
“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.” (The “New Living Translation”)
“With this in mind, we should stop going over the elementary truths about Christ and move on to topics for more mature people. We shouldn’t repeat the basics about turning away from the useless things we did and the basics about faith in God.” (God’s Word Translation)
We spoke early of other primary or first principle doctrines, likewise consider “milk”, these are fundamental truths which were not necessary for the early Church because for a time the Apostle were still with them and the great falling had yet to had taken place, but as soon as they “slept” the spirit of the antichrist began to blossom and error after error crept into the Church until soon “the faith once delivered to the saints” had become almost completely corrupted. In the early Church there was no need to discuss the doctrine of eternal torment, as no such doctrine existed, nor was it necessary to discuss the doctrine of the Trinity, as no such doctrine existed, the same with the doctrine of belief in the immortally of the soul, and many other such false doctrines, these can all be traced back to the dark ages and the great falling away.
But now barring the increase of knowledge and the truth on such subjects here at the end of the age there is no more excuse for any to fall prey to these God dishonoring and blasphemous doctrines. Thus these are considered by most bible students to be basic or fundamental truths which every “babe in Christ” should be acquainted.
And so joining the previous six foundation stones we include,
The doctrine of the Ransom (pivotal to the proper understanding of almost every other doctrine),
The doctrine of Restitution (one which seems to have eluded most Christians today),
The doctrine (or truth concerning) Hell and what the true wages of sin is,
The doctrine of the “Soul”, more specifically what a soul is and what it is not,
The doctrine of the Trinity,
There are others but these are the most prominent ones which come to mind. Any doubts about these subjects can and will, in due time undermine ones foundation if one is not properly established in the truth with regards to these matters. Many Christians hold on to erroneous views regarding these doctrines simply because the majority holds these same views all without ever having truthfully examined the facts for themselves. Thus it is as the Lord stated, the blind follow the blind.
Although the intention of this blog is to cater more toward those who have been, “weaned from the breasts” who having established a sure foundation are able to appropriate the meat of the word, “solid food”, nevertheless we will be touching upon many of these basic first principle doctrines as they are the foundation of our belief structure and as leaky vessels it never hurts to review the first principles from time to time to keep us sharp, ever ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us.