Ridderbosʼs understanding of the “didcahe” stands in contrast to that of Doddʼs. He sees the teaching of the New Testament as encompassing the entire content of the gospel. The teaching of the apostles was a fleshing out of the kerygma that centered on the redemptive proclamation of the life, death and resurrection of Christ with all its implications for the Christianʼs life. He does not divide proclamation from ethics, but acknowledges that the gospel precedes and makes possible all of our ethical behavior. He states, “…the new life in its moral manifestation is at one time proclaimed and posited as the fruit of the redemptive work of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit—the indicative; elsewhere, however, it is put with no less force as a categorical demand—the imperative.” He is clear in understanding that the gospel proclamation or the indicative precedes and gives rise too the ethical imperatives. This order of imperatives flowing out of the indicative of Christʼs completed work is not reversible and the outcome of changing the order results in legalism. Another clear distinction between Ridderbos and Dodd is that the apostleʼs teaching or “didache” is distinguished from “kerygma” by form rather than content. The kerygma is the heralding of the redemptive work of Christ while the didache instructs and explains the proclamation in more detail with all its intended implications. The only difference is one of form not content. The kerygma is also to be understood as teaching in the form of a one-way dissemination of knowledge about Godʼs redemptive plan in Christ. (Eph 3:8-9) It makes known the meaning of previous revelation in the Old Testament in light of the incarnation of Christ as the messiah. Preaching and teaching are related because the aim of both is to pass along this knowledge of the saving work of Christ. Ridderbos is correct when he sees the division of kerygma from didache as a false and unbiblical dichotomy of gospel from ethics.
Both of these views have profound implications for the believer. Doddʼs view of the “didache” as primarily focused on the ethical imperatives, the dos and donʼts, leads us to either frustration or legalism. Ridderbos on the other hand leads the believer into the freedom that all the imperatives of scripture find their fulfillment in Christ and by the Spirit he imparts his holiness into our lives. It is the propositional truth of the gospel that Christ is our righteousness and we donʼt need to return to a Christianized version of law keeping.