“We are saved by Jesus, not by doctrine.” I’ve heard this statement on numerous occasions. Or “we are not saved by doctrinal precision, but rather by the death of Jesus.” It is a powerful argument really. You pit doctrine against Jesus and Jesus wins every time. And the way the argument normally goes is that since we are saved by Jesus and not by doctrine, then doctrine doesn’t matter.
Why people accept it?
This argument works for a few reasons. First, it is true in as far as it goes. Salvation is because of Jesus. No amount of doctrinal precision and understanding can provide salvation apart from Him. Our salvation and our boasting is in Christ alone. Second, it fits the thinking of our world. Truth has taken a hit in our present world. People are uneasy about truth and especially if a certain truth is exclusive. Therefore the argument is well placed in the ears of many who hear it. Third, there are a lot of Christians who do in fact seem to put their trust in doctrinal precision over Jesus, and have no place in their system for grace. Fourth, it provides a false dichotomy that many people do not pick up on. Is it really Jesus or doctrine? If that is really the case then put me on the side of Jesus every single time. However, as I will argue for the remainder of this post that is a too simplistic argument.