Can You Define the Word ‘Doctrine’?
By Barbara Henderson
In the Bible we find many recorded words of God. Actually, the entire Bible is the written Word of God. Some of it is recorded history. Some of the Bible is direct quotes from God Himself. He makes some very definite statements on how people should act. It is settled for true Christians that God has the authority and the power to make the rules. What seems in question for some Christians is, ‘Did God REALLY mean what he said? Are His rules still relevant, and are they for everyone in every situation?’
There is proof aplenty that many who claim to be followers of the God of the Bible do not do the things God says to do. They claim to accept Jesus, but they disannul the DOCTRINE of Christ in order to follow their own doctrine. They in fact, reject the doctrine of God as revealed to us in the Bible in favor of cunningly devised fables. Actually, some people turn from the doctrine of Christ in order to follow their own selfish lusts and ideas. There is often nothing ‘cunningly devised’ in the fables they follow. My dad says they get their theology from the seat of their pants.
Cunningly devised fables can be identified in worship services that put the traditions of men above the doctrine of God. ‘Tradition’ did not die for sinners on Calvary. Traditions that work for our good are traditions that make worship of Christ and following His teachings easier. Traditions are wicked when the tradition itself begins to substitute for true worship. Keep in mind that if there was salvation available in following the ‘traditions of men’, then Christ need not have died that we might be saved.
Cunningly devised fables may be seen in rituals. There are ritual religions outside and inside Christianity. People believe that through certain repetitions and rituals they will be able to obtain something they want, cause someone to do something they want done, and even gain eternal life. You can also gain wealth and health through ritual sacrificial giving according to some purveyors of cunningly devised fables. That means watch out for the wealth and health preachers. Remember, that if there was salvation in rituals, then Christ need not have died that we might be saved,
Cunningly devised fables may be seen in vain repetitions and babbling. People will chant a mantra as though often repeated words somehow gain the power, or call upon some unknown power to grant their request. It may work even better if the mantra is chanted while the chantor is sitting in some uncomfortable position. Again, if vain babbling and chants could gain salvation for the lost soul, then Christ need not have died that we might be saved.
A rampant cunningly devised fable in the church today is the myth that church growth is proof of a spiritual church. A growth oriented church, believing that church growth proves their relationship with God is good, will often set aside doctrine in favor of ‘doing what it takes to get the church roles to grow in number.’ Such churches are willing to destroy families in order to establish a mega church. Everyone in the church is supposed to be involved in every church function, or their salvation is suspect. A family cannot survive as a strong family under such circumstances.
In order for His children to avoid being deceived by a cunningly devised fable, God gave us DOCTRINE.
This doctrine is based on the truth, as given to us by our omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, infallible Creator and God. This Doctrine is written down for us in the Bible. It is not a tradition that was handed down by word of mouth for a thousand years and then written down.. It was written down directly from the mouth of God through the hand of the writer. Knowing and living the Doctrine of the Bible gives us the prescription to avoid being deceived by the great abundance of cunningly devised fables.
According to biblegateway.com the term ‘doctrine’ is used in the Bible fifty (50) times. Due to the limits of space, I won’t be able to include all fifty here. However, I will use some of them.
For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
Remember that the doctrine given us by God is infallible. It is correct, truthful, and good. To forsake it is foolish; yet many do.
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
God will give understanding to the willing. Often Christians are like adults who try to live as though they were still teenagers. They never grow up, and they are very unpleasant people. They are also useless to those around them. There is nothing lovely or cute about idolizing the foolish actions of rebellious teenagers. The same goes for Christians. There is nothing cute or appealing in a Christian refusing to learn the things of the Bible, preferring instead to remain ignorant and easily beguiled. Remember Eve. She was beguiled and look what happened because of her actions.
But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.
Beware of vain doctrines. Only those teachings that are completely within the boundaries of the teachings of the Bible are good. Vain doctrine places man, or a particular man, or a particular humanist ideology as the solution to the world’s problems. Jesus Christ is left somewhere out in left field.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
The doctrine of Jesus Christ is astonishing. It stays in the mind of the hearer.
And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
The Triune God of the Bible is the authority behind the doctrine of the Bible. It is powerful and astonishing when told in humility by believers.
And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
The mighty power of the doctrine of the Bible has not been seen in any earthly teaching, theology, ideology, sorcery, or anything else outside the Bible.
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.
The doctrine of the Bible brings about fear in those who reject it. They will seek in vain to destroy it. They know that if the doctrine of the Bible is true, then all other beliefs, or belief systems, or deeply held beliefs, are false. The Bible is not compatible with any other doctrine. When you see someone trying to be reconciled with other doctrines, then they are following fables.
And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
The doctrine of Jesus Christ has power.
The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
The doctrine of Jesus Christ causes curiosity when people hear it.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
The doctrine of Jesus Christ inspires great loyalty in those who believe.
Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
The doctrine of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped by the edicts of men. The Christian will be like the Psalmist who tried, but could not keep his mouth shut. (Psalm 39:1-3)
And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
The doctrine of the Lord arouses curiosity. It is something new and wonderful to those who have not heard. They want to hear more.
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,
Christians are charged to teach no other doctrine. That really kicks things like all the eastern mystic teachings out of the church. Things outside the gospel have no place in the church, no matter how much they will ‘help people lose weight’, ‘chill out’, ‘get in touch with themselves’, and so on. They certainly have no place being taught to the youth of the church, except as things that are outside the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Churches should be teaching the doctrine of Jesus Christ alone. By the way, when I was in school in Anchorage, Alaska, we were to taught to sit and stand straight, breath through our nose, and keep our shoulders back. No one had ever heard of yoga; it was just commonly accepted as good health practice. And it was not taught in church.
1 Timothy 4:16
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.
Christians are to continue in the doctrine that is taught in the Bible. This keeps the believer out of trouble and converts those who hear what the Christian says. (That is not out of all the troublesome trials of life, but out of the stupid mistakes made by those who step outside the doctrine of the Bible.)
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
Preach the doctrine of Jesus Christ with patience, continually, and with sound theology.
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.
It takes a solid knowledge of the doctrine of Jesus Christ in order to convince non-believers. Nowhere does the Bible teach that we are to look for things we have in common with non-believers. We are to teach them and tell the truth according to the Bible.
2 John 1:10
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
When someone comes to you with a different doctrine than what was preached by Jesus Christ, you are not supposed to let him into your house, nor bid him God speed.
Nowhere does the doctrine of the Bible teach that we are to band together with unbelievers in order to bring about good. This means any mega church that is trying to be inclusive and work together with all faiths is not following the teachings of the Bible.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
The doctrine of Balaam was ‘anything for money’, even treachery toward one’s own people. Today the ‘anything for money’ doctrine is seen in politicians, businessmen, and Christians all the way up to the clergy.
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
This is the doctrine that believes that ‘once saved one could still engage in sin because they are no longer under the law’. Naturally Christ hates such false doctrine.
There is no question that Biblical ‘doctrine’ is important. Doctrine is the message of the Bible. How foolish that some people who profess Christ as their savior don’t even know what it is. Many church members have no idea what their church teaches as doctrine. This is the fault of the church leaders. It is their duty to instruct their flock in the doctrine of the New Testament Church. It is the duty of the pastor to oversee those he allows to teach in the church that God has given him. It is the duty of the pastor to spot error in its infancy and squash it before it has time to grow.
It is also the duty of every Christian and church member to check the things the pastor/preacher teaches against the Bible itself. We have the Bible readily available. We have no excuse to put up with preachers spewing false doctrines from the pulpit.
Doctrine, doctrine, doctrine….. Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone. His teachings are the foundations of the faith. This is the doctrine by which we are to live. The doctrine of the Bible does not change. The doctrine of the Bible provides stability in an unstable world. The doctrine of the Bible is the key to wisdom and understanding.
There are those who seek to destroy the doctrine of the Bible, in which case the world would be left worshipping one of Satan’s many lies. All religions and belief systems outside the doctrine of the Bible are false religions. They are based on lies. Satan is the father of lies. Therefore, any doctrine outside the doctrine of the Bible is really Satan worship. In that case, is there any way the importance of the doctrine of the bible can be overstated? The answer is, ‘No! The importance of the doctrine of the Bible cannot be overstated.’ That is why Satan is trying so hard to do just that.
Christian, are you willing to follow the instructions in Jude 1:3 which says, ‘Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
If you answered, ‘Yes! I am willing to earnestly contend for the faith.’ you need to realize something very important. No matter how willing you may be, you cannot earnestly contend for the faith if you do not know the doctrine on which the faith is built. Without knowing the doctrine of the faith you profess, then you will be like Eve. You will be beguiled and led into tragic error. Zeal, but not according to knowledge, is a tragedy waiting to happen. For your soul to prosper you must know doctrine.
The song for this article is ‘My Sheep Know My Voice’. When you know the doctrine taught in the Bible then you will know the voice of the Shepherd.
My Sheep Know My Voice
‘My sheep hear My voice, and the path that I take,
They follow wherever I go;
My sheep know My voice and come at my call,
But a stranger’s voice do they not know.
My sheep know My voice, and day by day
They abide in the fold and go not astray,
They love Me because I have made them my choice,
And they follow My call for My sheep know My voice.
My sheep know My voice, and the pastures of green,
Where I lead them so often to feed;
My sheep know My voice and the cool sparkling stream
Where beside its still waters I lead.
My sheep know My voice, and the valley of death
Through which I shall lead them some day;
But no danger nor harm can touch one of them,
For I will be with them alway.