It Needs to be Said, Doctrine
It Needs to be Said, Doctrine
By Dave Breese
One of the most dangerous developments of our time is the decreasing emphasis upon doctrine in the church. Should this continue, Christianity will be no more.
Recently I heard a well-known television preacher say, We dont preach doctrine, we just preach Christ! Mary Baker Eddy preached Christ as well. So does Victor Paul Wierwille and his cult The Way. The Christ which these enemies of the Gospel preach is hardly the Christ of the New Testament. Some, while preaching Christ, deny His deity, His humanity or His saving power. Who is Jesus Christ? Your answer to that question is a doctrine, it is called Christology.
What, therefore, is doctrine? Doctrine is defining your terms, saying what you mean. Words which have no meaning are merely vague little emotional packages that do not communicate, they only titillate. So it is that non-doctrinal preaching, non-doctrinal songs, non-doctrinal writing communicates no real meaning. Words without meaning merely muddy the waters and confuse the mind. Ultimately they do far more severe damage, they destroy our capacity to think, to reason, to be logical. One who has lost this capacity, straight thinking, has lost his ability to function as a human being. He becomes a mere animal, responding to emotional stimuli, but is unable to make choices. His mind has become vacuous. He has too long listened to words without meaning.
The subject of doctrine is emphasized fifty times in the New Testament. Paul uses the word doctrine twelve times in I and II Timothy alone. In these two books, he is instructing a young leader of the church as to his necessary spiritual credentials. We can, therefore, be sure that the minister who ignores doctrine, who does not emphasize sound doctrine, has disqualified himself from spiritual leadership. Such leaders will soon be preaching a variety of confusing themes, neither understanding what they themselves believe, nor being able to build a foundation of truth in the lives of others. Soon they will opt for anything but expository preachingthat dreary list of special ministries. Preaching services will be cancelled whenever possible, Bible study classes will disappear and hungry parishioners will need to subsist on the thin soup of sermonettes. Nothing is more boring to the speaker and to the listener than vague biblical remarks. Conversely, nothing is more stimulating to preacher and parishioner than expository preaching, characterized by sound biblical doctrine and rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
Many Christians today are mistaken in their attitudes toward miracles, the Jews, sanctification, the earthly ministry of Christ, the Holy Spirit, biblical inspiration, the Gospel, the early church, imputed righteousness, graceall for want of sound doctrine. The consequence is that many believers are unable to face problems, handle family difficulties, properly advise their children, keep their marriages together, avoid bankruptcy, resist depression, face death, defeat the devil and relate properly to their friends.
A high content of what passes for Christianity going today is mere sociology, sophomore psychology, freshman philosophy, leftist politics, saccharine humanitarianism, pseudo-spirituality, overworked emotions, unrealistic expectations and other despair-producers. Christians today are promised such things as perfect fulfillment, total joy, a new personality, happiness always and other will-o-the wisp impossibilities, all with little or no doctrinally-based biblical content. The result is that now whole denominations are slipping into biblical vagueness and spiritual impotence. The absence of preaching on the great doctrines of original sin, the purpose of creation, the nature of man, the person of Christ, the meaning of redemption has left many Christians as nearly helpless victims of His Infernal Majesty, the devil. We will soon be to the place where no seminar, no guru, no personal counseling (the new, doubtful panacea of our time), no quick, repentant recovery will help us. Our condition will move from helpless to impossible unless we return quickly to a higher biblical content in our pulpits and in the pews of our churches. The state of emergency is upon us now.
Why dont you begin the long road back? Have you memorized 200 verses of scripture as yet? How about the first eight chapters of Romans? Do you know the meaning of imputed righteousness? What is the difference between law and grace? Why did Paul write Galatians? Are we saved by our experience, or the experience of another? What is the difference between the kingdom of heaven and the Church? Do you know the answers to these questions? Are you sure?
We must begin the long road back to personal, doctrinal knowledge in every believer. The hour is late! The time to return to a doctrinal base of our Christianity is now. If we do not, then the night cometh when no man can work.Are These the Days?
Again and again in the pages of the Bible, we see the expression, the last days. We are thereby promised that the world is not to go on forever. Rather, its course will one day be interrupted from heaven. That event we call the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The mention of this in Scripture certainly implies that this will be a tremendous event. The return of Christ, the Creator of the universe, is certain to effect every person and every living thing on the face of the earth. The promise of these events should lead every intelligent person to, above all else, be sure that he is prepared for that hour.
Concerning the return of Christ, there is expectation in the hearts of Christians and anxiety for the whole world. Millions, therefore, across the world are asking, Are these the last days? Are we soon to see the end of this dispensation of grace?
The answer to that question is, Maybe we will, but perhaps we wont.
If Christ is coming soon, then we should be sure that we are saved, sanctified, ready, looking up, and above all, we should be earnest witnesses for Christ. God does not give us the material in the prophetic Word simply to make us pseudo-experts on the subject. Rather, He does this to work a great determination within us that these valuable days should be used well by each one of us as witnesses for Christ.
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