Monday, June 17, 2013

Doctrine Matters

What kind of preaching and doctrine . . . causes people to hate and violently attack those giving the "whole counsel of God"?  Certainly, it is not the mushy, feel-good "Oprah-anity", new agey, anything goes, all dogs go to heaven message. . . . Right?

What message enrages people to shout at, spit on, hit, burn alive, torture, imprison, crucify the preacher of the Word of God?  For instance, is any one really too offended at the one who proclaims . . . that "all will eventually make it into Heaven?"  No.  The sinner, the drunkard, the liar, thief, adulterer and murder laughs, shrugs and replies, "Good!  I will keep to my wicked ways and, hey, one day, I too will get to sit at the Lord's feast!  But for now, I eat, drink and be merry.  I like this message!"

Or, does it matter whether you think are saved through your own will or whether it is God's will alone that saves?  Well, one way is man-centered; the other is God-centered.  All the parsing and twisting of words and concepts does not change the fundamental premise.  Is it YOUR will (above God's) that determines your salvific outcome . . . or is it God alone who determines the end from the beginning?

Does it make a difference which way you look at it?  Well, if TRUTH matters . . . then yes, THE TRUTH of the answer to that question . . . is vital.  Error . . . leads to more error, for once you have veered off the straight and narrow path of truth . . . delusion stacks upon delusion, lie upon lie, to shore up the original false premise.  This is how heretical cults are started and flourish. . . .

I tend to question the seriousness and purported "love of the truth" in anyone who shrugs these difficult issues off and wants to just float on the surface of a basically emotional, sentimental "experience" of Jesus . . .or the more pleasant parts of Word of God.

MANY Prophets, preachers, teachers . . . and God Himself suffered and died proclaiming the Truth.  It greatly offended the fallen, unregenerate listeners to the point of riotous violence and hatred against them.

God bless, and I pray you too are serious about seeking and learning the truth.  What else is there really worth pursuing?  Everything else, of error, lie, falsity, perversion (of the truth) will be burnt in "the fire that is not quenched."
"For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:7-9)

 I remember well the night the membership of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church considered my calling to be an elder amongst them. I remember contemplating the qualifications of an elder found in the Pastoral epistles, and, as I believe is proper, trembling at them. I do not believe any elder in his right mind and God-tuned heart can look at those qualifications and not see areas in need of improvement and growth. Thankfully, absolute perfection of sanctification is not the standard of the eldership, and God uses imperfect men in the service of His people.
   Yet, He gives standards for a reason. When these standards are ignored, Christ, and His Church, suffer. Not only are the people who are subjected to unqualified elders hurt by the resultant imbalanced or impoverished ministry, but the wider body is hurt when those without the qualifications of eldership pretend to do what they have not been called to do. The world loves to put such men forward, place them in the spotlight, and use them as a means of ridiculing the Christian faith." (an excerpt from a James White writing on Joel Osteen)


Doctrine is Unavoidable
Non-doctrinal Christianity is impossible. The teaching of non-doctrinal Christianity is doctrine. It is bad doctrine, but it is doctrine nonetheless. Some argue that “doctrine divides,” and, therefore, that we should avoid it. True, doctrine sometimes divides, but that is what the Lord intended. In Luke 12:51–53, our Lord expressly taught that He came not to bring “peace on earth” but rather to bring “division,” even among family members. We cannot hereby justify schismatic behavior in the church, which Scripture condemns repeatedly, but we cannot accept the notion that division is inherently evil.
The real question is not whether Christians will have doctrine but which doctrine or whose doctrine?

Our Lord and Savior Himself advocated a host of doctrines. The Gospels are replete with His doctrinal teaching. He taught about the nature of God (John 4:24), humanity (Matt. 10:28), creation (Mark 10:6), sin (John 8:34), redemption (John 3), the church (Matt. 16), and the end of all things (Matt. 24). He taught doctrines about the history of salvation and how it should be understood (Luke 24). Anyone who advocates non-doctrinal Christianity must do so without Jesus.

Doctrine is Practical
The history of salvation and of the church is, in part, the history of the struggle between true and false doctrine and the moral consequences of error. Satan came teaching false doctrine about God, man, sin, and judgment. His doctrine led to death. Moreover, those who mocked Noah and those who called for Barabbas believed false doctrines, and they acted upon them.

In Scripture, there is no divorce between doctrine and practice. In Proverbs 8:10, instruction is a synonym for knowledge, and both come in the context of getting wisdom, that is, an understanding of how to live in God’s world according to the patterns He has established. Nothing is more practical than wisdom, and doctrine is built into wisdom. It is impossible to be wise, in the biblical sense, without doctrine.

The Apostle Paul warned the Roman congregation (Rom. 16:7) about those who divide the congregation, who seek their own gain, and who contradict Apostolic doctrine. The noun doctrine occurs in a similar context in Ephesians 4:12. Paul contrasts crafty, self-aggrandizing liars who are immature and who may cause believers to be tossed about “by every wind of doctrine,” that is, every passing fad, like a small boat in a big storm. Here, bad doctrine and moral corruption are intertwined.
True doctrine is never mere theory. This connection is explicit in 1 Timothy 1:8, where Paul lists a series of gross sins and categorizes them as “contrary to sound doctrine.” To deny biblical doctrine is immoral, and morality is based upon fundamental Christian teaching.

There is another consequence of denying Christian doctrine: chaos. Dorothy Sayers, in the 1940s, predicted this outcome in her book Creed or Chaos? Today, partly as a result of the misguided search for non-doctrinal Christianity, there is virtually no consensus as to what constitutes evangelical Christianity. The first step back from the abyss and toward order is to recover the biblical and Reformed conviction of the necessity of “good and necessary” consequences (WCF 1.6) drawn from the careful reading of Scripture.


1 comment:

Mark said...

Will the Catholic church ever understand that "peter" is a rock and not a saint.

Will the Muslim ever understand that "remove the head of the infidel" is "death to self" and that they are the infidel as am I.

Probably not."Far greater are they"...

Brother Thomas ©2015

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