Doctrines Matter

I posted this blog with touching mildly on church doctrines because here recently in the ether, doctrines (sound) are being challenged. Of course, this is expected. The war rages on between those within and those who are without. However, what is sad is the fact that more professing Christians are attacking and questioning other Christians; as if they are too extreme or over zealous in their beliefs. 

 

We live in a time period where we cannot waiver in any instance. Attacks from all directions are headed to all righteous avenues. I believe Paul said it best when he stated: 

 Ephesians 6:11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

The devil is not going to let up until he’s destroyed by God. So, why should we let up? Why give one inch? It’s therefore wise also that we continue to edify one another: 

1 Corinthians 14:12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Our light is not only for the lost in the dark but also for those in the body. We are to be zealous, hungry and ready to give an answer and prove all things :

 Romans 14:19Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

 

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT DOCTRINE – SOUND (CORRECT) DOCTRINE – MATTERS

 

In writing to Titus about the work of an overseer in the Church, Paul told him that he must, “holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:9). And, he urged, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,” (Titus 2:7).

 

Paul told Timothy, who oversaw the Church at Ephesus:

 1 Timothy 4:16Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
1 Timothy 4:1-6Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 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.

 

Paul even warned Timothy that there would come a time when people “…will not endure sound doctrine;…”:
2 Timothy 4:1-5I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

 

FALSE DOCTRINE OCCURS WITHIN AND WITHOUT THE CHURCH

 

Outside the Church it ranges from the claims of world religions which serve another god, to the teachings of cults of Christianity – groups and movements that, while claiming to be Christian, deny one or more of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

 

Inside the Church it ranges from the watering down of the Gospel, using false Bible versions to the introduction of unbiblical and/or extra-biblical teachings and practices which, more often than not, become a test of ‘true Christianity.’
DISCERNMENT

 

The Bible teaches that Christians should learn to discern. That is, they should learn to test teachings against the Biblical standard. This is done in two ways:

 

a) by relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit who indwells them, and

 

b) by studying God’s Word (KJV)

 These two work hand-in-hand.

 

One can not expect someone who has just accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Saviour to have a full, working knowledge of Biblical theology. The Bible indicates that people come to Jesus because the Holy Spirit draws them and they respond to His invitation. 

 

When someone accepts Jesus Christ, he or she becomes regenerated (born again – a new person, spiritually). Among other things, they receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which puts him or her at a great advantage over non-Christians. Paul puts it like this:

2 Corinthians 2:11-16For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

WHAT IS DISCERNMENT?

 

Discernment is the act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment.

 In Christianity, to discern is

 

[t]o identify the true nature of of a spirit, doctrine, practice, or group; to distinguish truth from error, extreme error from slight error, the divine from the human and the demonic.

– Source: Robert M. Bowman, Jr., Orthodoxy and Heresy, Baker Book House, 1992, Page 115. [1]
The two main Greek words translated as “discernment” are anakrino, meaning to examine or judge closely, and diakrino, to separate out, to investigate, to examine.

 

CHRISTIANS SHOULD GROW IN SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

 

The Bible teaches that all Christians should grow in spiritual discernment.

 

Hebrews 5:12-14For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

Paul told the Thessalonians: 

 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

 

While he encouraged the Thessalonians not to discount or dismiss the Holy Spirit — by despising that which was being taught as coming from God (prophecy) — Paul instructed them to test everything.

 

In other words, if someone preaches or teaches something that he or she claims was inspired by God, we are not to despise it — which would result in quenching the Holy Spirit.
However, we are to carefully examine that which is being taught.

 

Earlier, Luke called the people of Berea — where Paul and Silas had been sent to preach — “more noble than those in Thessalonica,” because

 

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.Acts 17:11-12

 

Thus the Bereans did not quench the Spirit, but rather tested what was being taught, using Scripture as their guide.

 

HOW TO GROW IN SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

 

The only way to grow in spiritual discernment is

 a) by relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit who indwells every true Christian, and

b) by stuyding God’s Word, the KJV Bible.

 These two go hand-in-hand:

Holy Spirit

 

One can not expect someone who has just accepted Jesus Christ as his savior to have a full, working knowledge of Biblical theology. The Bible indicates that people come to Jesus because the Holy Spirit draws them and they respond to His invitation.

 

When someone accepts Jesus Christ, he becomes regenerated (born again – a new person, spiritually). Among other things, he receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which puts him at a great advantage over non-Christians. Paul puts it like this:

 

1 Corinthians 2:11-16For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The Bible

 

The Bible (King James only) provides the standard against which all teachings (and other “bibles”) must be tested:

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

Hand-in-hand

 

This reliance both on the guidance of Holy Spirit and on God’s Written Word should keep Christians focused on God.

 

If Christians were to rely only on their ability to listen to the Holy Spirit, they would leave themselves open to all manner of private teachings and interpretations — without any rules by which to rest such revelations.

 

At the same time, it they were to rely only on their own ability to interpret and apply the Scriptures, they would leave no room for God’s guidance in revealing to them the riches of His Word.

 

As Christians our focus should always be on the living God, with whom we have an interactive relationship.


RELYING ON THE DISCERNMENT OF OTHERS

 

No Christian is an island. There is much to be learned from one another, as we share the wisdom and insights God has revealed to us from His Word, by His Holy Spirit.

 

Sadly, though, many Christians leave the responsibility for discernment almost completely up to others. Their guidance comes primarily from televangelists, authors (and, more often than not, their ghost writers), their pastors, or their favourite websites.

 

That’s like being spoon-fed by someone else — marking one as an infant, rather than as a mature Christian:

 

Hebrews 5:12-14For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
IN CLOSING

 

By all means, let’s learn from one another — eagerly receiving the word, while also examining everything carefully.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s