The term is from the Latin docere, “to teach.” It means teaching or instruction in the most general sense. In a theological context the word carries the implication of belonging to a school of thought or a body of believers. Christian doctrine is the rational exposition and illumination of the affirmations of the Christian faith as made, for example, in the Apostles' and Nicene creeds. It is also possible to consider the doctrine of a particular theologian or theological issue. For example, one may speak of the Anselmian doctrine of the atonement, indicating the particular development of this question associated with Anselm of Canterbury. The body of teaching put forward by any influential teacher of the church also may be described as doctrine. Doctrine is distinguished from dogma because, unlike dogma, it is not officially promulgated.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.