Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Dreaded "D" and "T" words.. Doctrine and Theology


"a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief"

and Theology.

"the study of religious faith, practice, and experience;especially : the study of God and of God's relation to the world"

Why is it so important to adhere closely to these two concepts?

Luke 4:32 "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power."

John 7:16 "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."

Romans 16:17 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."

Ephesians 4:14 "That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

1 Timothy 1:3 "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,"

1 Timothy 4:6, 13, 16 "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained." and 13 "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." and 16 "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"

2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son."

Because the word of God takes doctrine so seriously, we believers must as well. That is, if we presume to live a life according to the scriptures! If we do not adhere to sound doctrine... we will follow after own lusts and have "teachers" who tell us only what we want to hear. Easy believism, health & wealth prosperity messages, license to live in ignorance due to "liberty," splintered families, shallow church, and people who do right according to what the "feel" rather than what the word of God says, blatant disregard for scripture, twisting of scripture, lives not surrendered to Christ but rather to our own selfish whims, etc etc etc.

Without sound Doctrine we will be tossed about and so turned around, we create our own theologies according to what seems right. But what is right? If our Doctrine is questionable, our theology will be flimsy and weak.

But, still, is Doctrine just a "legalistic" terminology that we shouldn't be too wrapped up in... and should best be left to those theologian types who are content to keep their nose in their books? May it never be so! There are some brilliant men, past and present, who are extremely educated in [correct] doctrine that should be esteemed highly. But that doesn't mean we are not to be concerned about it as well!!

The word Doctrine can make certain types of "Christians" feel squeamish. Doctrine might as well be equated with death! Fear shines in their eyes as they are quite convinced that too much "head knowledge" will be the undoing of their faith in their relationship with God, or even their understanding of the Holy Spirit. In complete honesty, I remember feeling similar, though not to that extent... but certainly apprehensive years ago that I would lose feeling and love and "Spirit-leadness" if I studied too much... but how absurd that thinking was! By prayer and studying of the scriptures, I seek the face of God and am in completely awe and tremble before my Lord... in light of Him I could never lose any of the precious elements of my faith and relationship with Him! To keep His commandments is to better know His heart. To pray, is to be stripped of all my own pride and false self-glorifying means. To open myself up to studying of His word, to know the doctrine of His word, I am inadvertently going to learn MORE about His Spirit and learn more about wisdom... and only GAIN.

I walked into a pseudo-Christian bookstore today and was absolutely overwhelmed. There was a spiritual fog and oppressing darkness that seemed to seep in. I wanted to weep when I saw the people in there... I wanted to talk to all of them and warn them of some of the teachings being sold in there! My heart seemed to shatter a little more with each beat... the shallowness of the widespread "church" and what people believe was too much, it was dimly lit upon their faces. I spoke only to one man, and it wasn't even about Doctrine, or Theology, or even teachings in general. Just about translations. It was shocking that people know so little about the translations they read. Oh, the frustration and wrenching of my heart were so dominant...

Without sound doctrine we need to reinvent ways to lure people into the "church." They need to be entertained with music, video games, and relevant watered down "sermonettes" in order to be engaged. Who needs the Holy Spirit of God to move when you can spoon feed an entertainment junky and keep him coming back for more? Who needs Christ's blood when we can give you quick fixes, or certain steps on how to correct the negative in your life or even give you a better life now! Why would we sing about a Sovereign God who demands and deserves all Glory, Honor, and Praise... when we sing about how great it is that he blesses us and does things for us? "WHO NEEDS THAT PESKY TRIUNE GOD, WE HAVE ALL WE NEED TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL QUASI CHURCH BUSINESS WITHOUT GETTING INTO THAT HEAVY DOCTRINAL TEACHING... OR WHATEVER."

I digress.

Can I not be absolutely shocked at my own lack of God and His holiness in my life... and the abundance selfishness and sin... to be devastated in such a way that every fiber of my being is being sanctified and renewed and CHANGED to be diametrically opposed (new favorite words) to the culture around me?!-or do I need to be relevant and blend in like a chameleon so others won't feel so intimidated by me?-or worse, think I am legalistic...

I read the scriptures so I know God and His truth. I learn about Him and His truth, to see His design, law, and how I ought to live. I learn those things, so I may be more like Him. I want to be more like Him (by His grace, blood, resurrection, redemption, and sanctifying work within me), so that I can love others like Him. I want to love others like Him, so that I am genuine in my loving. I want to be genuine, so they know it's real. I want them to know it's real, so they might behold the light within me. I want them to behold the light within me, so that their hearts might finally arrive to that point of God opening their eyes, softening their heart, and calling them to His love. I want to love them... so they might be saved as well!

With all my heart, I wish to guard the sound Doctrine of God's truth closely, as well as let it permeate my life in such a way it is a daily consistent walk, not just knowledge I hold to, but knowledge I live by and that brings me to more ardent worship of my Heavenly Father.

But with all my heart... I am so far from where I ought to be, so far from where I wish to be, and so far from where He is taking me. I am not perfect, but God loves me and extends His grace to me in such a compelling way... I will walk the straight and narrow and seek His face that I might come closer and closer through out the course of my life to be where I ought to be.

His love is unfathomable... and the effects of it have left me stricken of my former man, and created me something new. So in Him, this life is possible.
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