Contrary to Sound Doctrine. True Doctrine,
Last week, in TRUE DOCTRINE, Part 2, we saw that doctrine is indeed very
important to God, so important that it is mentioned 37 times in the Bible. Yet
despite this, it is doctrinal beliefs that drive Christians apart, that disrupt
the unity that Jesus wants us to have.
Could it be that in our emphasis on doctrine we aren't using the correct
definition of the word?
In my 23 year career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), I have attended
literally hundreds of professional workshops, conferences, and conventions. All
of these have been for the same purpose: To provide SLPs with the best, most
researched, evidence-based practices for our work.
It is interesting that before these conferences present techniques that are
purported to be proven sound by research, they often first spend time helping
SLPs understand that the techniques we may have used in the past have not proven
Why is this?
Because any discussion about what is true and correct must also first disprove
the popular beliefs that are not grounded in research.
And this is exactly what the Word of God does as well. Though it DOES define
true doctrine, it also is very clear on what is contrary to sound doctrine.
"... For the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of
mothers, for manslayers, For fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for
liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound
doctrine ..." (1 Tim 1:9b,10 NKJV)
Basically, the Apostle Paul tells us that things that are contrary to sound
doctrine are things that are against the law of God!
So where is the clarification on the teachings that divide our churches?
". . . That you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed
to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly
edification which is in faith." (1 Tim 1:3-5 NKJV). Paul later refers to these
same fables as "old wives' fables" (See 1 Tim 4:6-7 NKJV)
As I think of "fables" that have entered the church, a few come to mind. Take
the Christmas story, for example. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Mary
rode to Bethlehem on a donkey. And neither does the Bible mention that the Wise
men were with the Shepherds at the stable. Rather it says they came to the
"house" where Jesus was staying (See Matt 2:11).
But wait. These are pretty innocent, wouldn't you say? Are there more serious
fables that have their root in tradition, rather than in God's Word?
I'm afraid that most of our discussions on doctrine would fall in this category,
friends. You see, where there are two opinions, there is only one Truth. The
word of God is clear that we must seek out that Truth and follow it, even if it
goes against what our churches teach. Anything that is not 100% rooted in God's
Word is but a fable!
But this seeking out Truth and teaching to others is the very thing that causes
most of the division in our churches!
Paul is clear that we are not to heed things which "cause disputes rather than
godly edification which is in faith." This means that if it causes dispute among
the family of God, then it is contrary to sound doctrine!
Does this include our disputes over interpretation of prophecy?
And what about our disagreement on when and how people are to be baptized? And
the beliefs on the gifting of the Holy Spirit?
And it also includes any of our disagreements over any of the other things that
we cover in our doctrinal battles, doesn't it?
But wait! Truth IS important! The Bible teaches us to seek out Truth!
Excellent point. We are ALL exhorted to seek Truth directly from God's Word, and
we should share what we find, seeking clarification from other believers. But
this MUST be done in Godly love! We cannot let our differences divide us!
Remember Jesus' words? "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to
desolation, and a house divided against a house falls." (Luke 11:17-18 NKJV)
Friends, we have to stop bickering over differences. Instead, we must ALL take
it as our personal responsibility to seek Truth directly from the Word of God,
even if that Truth is different from what our church teaches. We must always
try, in love, to guide people into all Biblical Truth, but we must NOT let our
disputes weaken the church of God by bringing dissention among God's children.
For if we do, then we are pushing things that are contrary to sound doctrine.
Okay, but if all the things we think of as "doctrine" are actually contrary to
true doctrine, than what IS true doctrine, anyway?