The letter came to my church office. It was from one of our members, a woman we knew well. She was writing to inform me she was leaving our church. "I just don't get it," she wrote. "Why do you preach about doctrine so much? Don't you know doctrine brings division in the church? You should stop preaching about doctrine, and instead, focus on the love of God.
I was sad to hear she was leaving our congregation, but I wished before her departure, she had sat down with me to talk about the importance of doctrine. Even the love of God, she wanted me to focus on, is a doctrine.
In the New Testament, there are many warnings about continuing in sound doctrine and being alert for false teachers. Check out these words from the Apostle Paul.
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Timothy 4:3)
I believe the time Paul was referring to is happening right now. We live in a culture where many people, even professing, committed believers, do not want to hear sound doctrine. We gravitate towards teaching that is easy to accept and doesn't require any change.
In recent years, I've heard attacks against the doctrine of the deity of Jesus, the virgin birth, the return of Christ, the inerrancy of Scripture, the lostness of humanity, and salvation by grace. One major error that is sweeping the church is an acceptance of universalism, which proclaims that in the end, because God is loving, everyone will be saved. This teaching is deadly, and its origin is from Satan.
Some say, "it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere." Stop for a moment, and think about how silly this statement is. Sincerity has great value, but we all know you can be sincere and be sincerely wrong.
So, why do people reject sound biblical doctrine?
It seems like the root of the issue is fear. Tragically, we have lost our fear of the Lord.
As disciples of Jesus, let's reaffirm our belief in the authority of God's Word over our beliefs and our lifestyles. With a firm grip on the Bible, we should believe, practice, teach and preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, right out of the pages of the Holy Bible.
Here are five reasons biblical doctrine still matters:
1. Biblical doctrine gives us boundaries for faith and practice. Without the guidelines of Scripture, we will believe and do whatever seems right in our own eyes.
2. Sound doctrine gives us a biblical worldview. Doctrine is essential because it forms the lens through which you view almost everything.
3. Biblical doctrine protects us from false teaching. If a person's beliefs or the doctrine they teach is different from the Bible, you and I can conclude they hold to a false doctrine.
4. Doctrine provides the next generation with truth to stand on. Is there anything more important than the discipleship of our children? We must begin the teaching of God's truth to our children at a very young age.
5. Doctrine ensures we have the right beliefs about eternity. Yes, what we believe has eternal implications.
Albert Mohler said, "When a denomination begins to consider doctrine divisive, theology troublesome, and convictions inconvenient, consider that denomination on its way to a well-deserved death."
If the Bible is the final authority for life, belief, and practice, there is no need to make it relevant to the culture. Culture must bow to the Bible. Let's reaffirm our belief that sound, biblical doctrine matters because it does. And let's remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:13 - "the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."
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