In Why was my question closed? How can I get it open again? we see that users are asked to specify a doctrinal tradition when asking about specific doctrine:

Questions that are seeking understanding of specific doctrine, must specify the doctrinal tradition to which they are referring.

This reads like a tautology: questions about doctrine must specify a doctrine. What's the difference between "doctrine" and "doctrinal tradition", and can this be made clearer in the FAQ?

1 Answer 1


A doctrine is a just codification of beliefs:

A doctrinal tradition is the framework for those beliefs:

  • Roman Catholicism
  • Lutheranism
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The FAQ is saying that every doctrinal question needs to specify the doctrine ("Satan punishes those who reject Christ after death") to ask about and a doctrinal tradition ("Southern Baptists") to scope the answers to:

  • What does the Protestant BibleDoctrinal Tradition say about Satan punishing those who reject Christ after deathDoctrine?
  • What is the Roman Catholic stanceDoctrinal Tradition on praying to those outside the TrinityDoctrine?
  • Do LutheransDoctrinal Tradition believe Heaven existsDoctrine?

I went into a little more detail about why this is on another question, but in short without that extra scoping context, the questions aren't very testable (anyone who claims to be a Christian would have a correct answer).

The question doesn't really need to be about your beliefs, just what specific beliefs you want to know about. I suspect the edits done to your question were meant to do that, not highlight your beliefs for no reason: that is, to scope your question down to just the Protestant Bible, not every Bible out there.

While doctrine I think is pretty straightforward, "doctrinal tradition" is a bit verbose and apt to confusion: I think it should be replaced with "scope" or something similar.

  • I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church. I don't agree with their hypocrisy. When I ask questions, that is my general (but I may know more than that on a given subject, it all depends) doctrine. What is my doctrine in your language?
    – jcolebrand
    Oct 26, 2011 at 23:46
  • @jcolebrand I don't know what you're asking: what, specifically, would be your question be about? Why are Southern Baptists hypocrites? That would definitely fall into the #dontask section of the FAQ.
    – user72
    Oct 26, 2011 at 23:50
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    I don't want to be labelled as a Southern Baptist, but that is the "traditional" upbringing I had in the Christian faith in general. What doctrinal label would I apply to my questions?
    – jcolebrand
    Oct 26, 2011 at 23:51
  • Doctrinal scope, perhaps? Oct 27, 2011 at 5:21
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    @jcolebrand. You're free to ask questions within any scope, your own or anyone else's.
    – TRiG
    Oct 27, 2011 at 11:24
  • Thanks, the <sup> helps to show the examples that I thought were lacking. It would be super helpful if they could be incorporated into that other Q that I mentioned initially, where more people would see them.
    – jcolebrand
    Oct 27, 2011 at 15:21
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    The definition of "doctrinal tradition" you use here really boils down to denomination, but I think we generally mean something a lot looser than that actually. There are several doctrinal traditions that span across denominations. Where there might be 3 or 4 different doctrines on an issue, there are hundreds of denominations. Sometimes it's easier to talk in terms of the specific ideas themselves rather than trying to list denominations, and that's why we tried to use this term instead of "denomination" or just "tradition" which is only a little different.
    – Caleb
    Oct 28, 2011 at 20:17

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