The Six Foundational Doctrines of Christ

By Brother  Amartey

Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:1-2)

What are the six foundational doctrines of the Christian faith? This is one question which millions of believers cannot answer, even here in America, let alone third world countries, because they just do not know because they have never been taught! Before we go into the details of the doctrine of Christ, let us start with the basics of the Christian faith, and our starting point is the book of Hebrews which gives us the six foundational doctrines of Christ. These teachings are elementary, and every believer needs to know and understand these basics and move on to further essential doctrines as taught in the Bible and which this book explores. Though these teachings are essential, they are just the basics that we need to know, so we can move on to maturity in the faith.


The first of these foundational doctrines is repentance. This is one word that is greatly misunderstood. Some think it means to clean up our lives or to make a commitment to forsake sin or to turn from sinful lifestyle, or to surrender our lives to God, in order to be saved. But this is far from the truth. If we can clean up the sins in our lives, then we do not need the Saviour to save us from sin. The misconception arises because of two different Greek words that are translated as “repentance” in English. The first is, “metanoia,” which means, “to change one’s mind” about something or someone, and it is necessary for salvation. 

The second is, “metamelomai,” which means, “regret, to feel remorse afterward.”  Repentance, with regards to salvation, simply means, “to change one’s mind,” about sin and about God; to acknowledge we are sinners and need God to save us (Acts 2:36-38: Mark 1:15; Matthew 3:1-2).  It is the first step to salvation. The other meaning, forsaking sin or lifestyle of sin, is not necessary for salvation, but comes after we are saved.

Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). When Peter addressed the people on the day of Pentecost to “repent,” he was telling them to change their mind from rejecting the Lord, to accepting Him as the Messiah and Saviour.  John called the people to repentance to change their attitude to sin and prepare their hearts to meet the Messiah.  We show repentance when we realize we are sinners in need of salvation and turn to the Lord to save us. 

The parable of the Prodigal Son is a classic case in repentance (Luke 15:11-32). Repentance is not a work we do to be saved, but a gift of God to draw us to Himself in order to be saved (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25; John 6:44).  The transformed life comes after salvation, and not before, and is a gradual process (Romans 7:19). To be sure our repentance is genuine, we begin to bear fruit of repentance, turning away from sin, after we are saved (Matthew 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:19-23). Yes, God saves the ungodly from sin, and not the righteous (Luke 5:32; Romans 4:5). What is sin? Sin is transgression of the law; it is the breaking of God’s commandments (Exodus 20:1-17; 1 John 3:4). Sin is rebellion against God (Joshua 1:18). Sin is knowing the right thing to do but not doing it (James 4:17). All impure thoughts and deeds are sinful (Matthew 15:18-20).  All of us have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). None of us is righteous, no, not even one (Psalm 14:1; 53:1; Romans 3:10). All our righteous deeds are like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). By showing repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and believing the gospel, we are saved, our sins are forgiven, and we can escape the consequences of sin, which is eternal damnation.

  1. FAITH

The second foundational doctrine is faith. Faith is having belief, trust or confidence in God. Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him, and without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin. We need faith to believe the gospel, and faith comes by hearing and obeying the word of God (Romans 10:17). Faith is not something we do; it is something we receive; it is a gift of God. “We are saved by grace, through faith……Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). God grants us saving faith so we can believe the gospel and put our trust in Jesus Christ whom He has sent to save the world (John 1:12; 3:16; 6:28-29).


The third foundational doctrine is baptisms. The Bible speaks of three baptisms, namely, John’s baptism, Believers’ baptism and Holy Spirit baptism (Matthew 3:11; 28:19; Acts 1:8). Water baptism is an ordinance which the Lord commanded us to observe, as an outward expression of our faith and our identification with His death, burial and resurrection. Upon salvation, all believers are to be baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit into His body (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:13).  

Some baptize in the name of “Jesus only,” and this has brought unnecessary division in the church. But we know from Colossians 2:9, that the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Jesus, and so baptizing in the name of “Jesus only,” is the same thing as baptizing in the name of the Godhead, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to baptize in the “name,” not names, for there is only one God!

 Some think water baptism saves us, but this is plain balderdash! Even the blood of bulls and goats cannot save us, let alone plain water (Hebrews 10:4)!  Water baptism comes after salvation and not before, and so does not save us. We are saved by His life, by grace, through faith…. not by works, or by the deeds of righteousness we have done (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).  

(a) John’s Baptism

John the Baptist was the link between the Old and New Testaments. He was sent to prepare the way for and to introduce the Messiah to Israel (Mark 1:2-5; John 1:26-34). And for this cause, he preached repentance and baptized people in water for the “remission of sins.” John’s baptism required confession of sin and repentance (Matthew 3:4-8).

Jesus was baptized by John, not because of any sin in His life that needed forgiveness, but in order “for us to fulfill all righteousness,” and to give approval for John’s baptism (Matthew 3:13-15). However, after Pentecost, John’s baptism was no longer required (Acts 19:1-5).

(b) Believers’ Baptism

Jesus commanded all believers to be baptized after they have believed the gospel (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19). Water baptism identifies us with the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord. When He died, we died with Him. Our old self was crucified with Him so that we should no longer be slaves to sin, because anyone who has died is freed from sin (Romans 6:7). When He was buried, we were buried with Him, our old self being buried when we go under the water (Romans 6:3-4). When He rose from the dead, we rose with Him, our new nature coming out of the water to start a new life (Romans 6:4-5).

And when He ascended, we ascended with Him and are seated with Him in heavenly places, in power and authority (Luke 10:19; Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 2:6). In water baptism, our old sinful nature is crucified and buried with Him, and we rise to a newness of life, putting our old life behind us. Our sinful nature has no power over us; it is dead and buried, and we are now risen and ascended with Christ, seated in heavenly places, walking in victory, power and righteousness and no longer in the filthiness of the flesh. Understanding water baptism is the key to the victorious life in Jesus Christ.

Since baptism identifies us with His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, it is easy to understand that we are baptized into Jesus Christ, and not into a church, denomination, ministry, mission or organization (Galatians 3:27). No church has the power to say that one’s baptism is invalid unless baptized in their church by their ministers. However, if one belonged to a cult or false religion, one ought to be baptized afresh.

(c) Holy Spirit Baptism

Holy Spirit baptism is entirely different from water baptism, and comes after salvation, too (John 14:16-18; Acts 1:8; 8:12; 14-17; 10:45). The disciples were already saved before they were baptized with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. When we first believe and are saved, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell in us, to impart spiritual life, and this is the indwelling of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

The infilling of the Spirit, on the other hand, is a continual process and we are exhorted to be continually filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is a promise given to all believers (Luke 11:13; Acts 2:38-39). It is a delightful and wonderful experience in which believers are empowered by the Spirit of the Lord to be effective and powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ, in ministry and in the proclamation of gospel. One may receive a sovereign outpouring of the Spirit, as on the day of Pentecost and in the house of Cornelius, or by the laying on of hands (Acts 2:4; 8:17; 9:17; 10:44-46).


Our fourth foundational doctrine is the laying on of hands. This is the ceremony by which hands are laid on the individual for impartation of the gift of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, blessings, authority or for an induction or ordination into an office or ministry (Acts 6:6; 8:5-17;13:2-3).
Hands could also be laid for healing (Luke 4:40; Mark 6:4-5). One must be very careful with this practice and to exercise discernment, to make sure the ones laying hands are of God and not of the Devil, for there are many ministers of Satan masquerading as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).


The fifth foundational doctrine is the resurrection of the dead. The Lord Jesus lived, died, was buried and rose again from the dead on the third day, conquering death, to become the “firstfruits” of the dead (John 20:1-31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-23; 29-54). His resurrection gives us the assurance that the dead will also arise at the end of the age when the Lord returns (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Both the righteous and the wicked will be resurrected, the former to everlasting life and the latter to everlasting damnation (Daniel 12:2; Romans 2:5-10). There will be a first resurrection and a second resurrection, one thousand years after the first (Revelation 20:4-6; 14). The righteous dead are part of the first resurrection and shall reign with Christ for one thousand years on earth, in a period known as the Millenium.



The last of the foundational doctrines outlined in Hebrews is eternal judgment. “It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment” (Hebrew 9:27). God has appointed a final judgment in which both the living and the dead will be judged, and judgment has been entrusted to Jesus Christ who shall judge all flesh upon His return (Matthew 25:31-32; John 5:22; 27; Acts 10:42; Revelation 20:12). We will be judged according to the books, the records kept in heaven (Revelation 20:12).

Unbelievers will come before the Great White Throne judgment and believers will come before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Revelation 20:11-15; Romans 14:10). God will give to each person according to what they have done (Romans 2:6). After the judgment, anyone not found in the Book of Life, will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death (Revelation 20:6; 14-17). Is your name written in the Book of Life? Have you believed in the Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)?

But wait a minute! Before we leave the six foundational doctrines, there is one basic doctrine that is not mentioned in this list, and that is grace.


“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Grace is defined as “God’s unmerited favor,” or favor we do not deserve. We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the grace of God that draws us to Him, and not by our own doing or power. It is not by works, so that no one can boast. “No one can come to Me unless the Father … draws them….” (John 6:44).

Grace is also defined as God’s enabling power (Acts 4:33; 14:26). We need both God’s grace to be saved and His enabling power in our Christian walk. “…. My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Corinthians 12:9).