Christianity as a religion has many faith groups and denominations which subscribe to various specific set of doctrines, based on various interpretations of the Bible. Quarles (2011) explains that there are fundamental Christian beliefs which are recognized and observed by almost all Christian faiths. The six main Christian doctrines that are widely accepted by many denominations include:
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- The belief that Jesus Christ is the Messiah (or Savior).
- Trinity: Belief in God the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. And faith in deity and humanity of Christ.
- The acceptance of man’s sinful nature, fallenness and guilt.
- The need for salvation through faith and grace in Jesus Christ.
- The authority of the Bible and the scriptures as the word of God.
- The resurrection and second coming of Jesus Christ.
The study by Louisiana College to determine how well the first year students understand the primary doctrines of their faith showed that a majority of the Christian students could not even identify the simple definition of being born again. The research showed that 78 percent of the students believe that all people are generally good, free of sin and that the idea of salvation through the savior is unnecessary.
Nearly one-third of the students who participated in the survey did not know that the Bible is the authoritative word of God to mankind and that the scriptures consistently affirms Jesus as the Deity of Christianity, through whom all we be saved.
The null hypothesis for this particular research question would be that, frequency of church attendance does not necessarily increase one’s level of understanding of the basic Christian doctrines.
Research (or Alternative) Hypothesis
The alternative (or research) hypothesis for the study would be that, regular attendance of Church services results to greater understanding of the basic Christian doctrines as opposed to non-attendance.
Based on my own opinion and understanding of Christian teachings I would predict that the more often a person attends church services, the more the person’s knowledge and understanding of basic Christian doctrines will increase. However, how well one will master the doctrines will undoubtedly depend on one’s dedication and determination in learning the Christian teachings. In a similar study that was conducted to determine whether the frequency of attending coursework lectures resulted in better academic excellence among college students, it was shown that indeed students who spent more hours attending the lectures achieved better grades. I predict that the same would apply for this study, and would show increase in understanding of basic Christian doctrines for those frequently attending church service.
Quarles, C. (2011). Southern Baptists must learn to choose battles wisely. The Baptist Message Online, 71 (2), 82.
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