Why We Need to Know Christian Doctrine
One can simply watch five minutes of the local or national news and know that we live in a rapidly changing world. Regardless of our religious or spiritual convictions, our culture is quickly becoming one that is vastly different from what most of us had grown accustom to just five or ten years ago. More importantly, as Christians, our culture becomes more and more counter to what God’s Word teaches. What we see happening in our world simply validates what the Bible teaches about false teachers and false doctrine. Just as the apostle Paul warns us in 1 Timothy 3:3-7 to beware of “false teachers who do not understand what they are saying..”, we need to be confident in what the Word of God says. In order to be confident, we must know the Word.
One of our emphasis in discipleship is making sure we correctly teach sound doctrine. The reasoning behind this continual teaching of sound doctrine is not just for knowledge sake. While there is value in just pure knowledge, God desires and demands more from His children (The Church). The purpose of this teaching and equipping is so “we will not be tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine…” (Eph. 4:14). Ephesians 4 continues in verse 15 to remind us that the purpose of this knowledge is so that we can grow into the likeness of Christ! That is our purpose as a child of God: to represent Him by imitating Him to the lost world. That is only possible if we “know” Him. We know Him by learning His Word.
As I stated at the outset of this article, these false doctrines or beliefs are ever-present in our society today. Never was it more obvious than in two articles I read this week (the links for these are provided below). One was from The Boston Globe, hardly a hotbed for Christian doctrine. Even so, the position taken was SO anti-Christian that is was astounding even for a secular publication like The Boston Globe. The article criticized China’s recent removal of their “One Child Policy”. Not only did the author criticized the Chinese government for deserting this policy, he continued on to explain why the government of the United States of America should adopt this same policy. A policy which prohibits a family from having more than one child! Prohibits to the extreme that violators are subject to punishment. The arguments are simply ridiculous. For a Christian, his arguments are blasphemous. The basis of his arguments are in direct conflict with one of God’s foundational purposes for man and woman: Be fruitful and multiply!
Even more staggering than this article in The Boston Globe, was another in Christianity Today. The point of interest was Wheaton College. This is the same Wheaton College whose alumni includes such stalwarts of the Christian faith as Jim Elliot, A.W. Tozer, and Billy Graham. The article explain the drama of a Wheaton political science professor, Larycia Hawkins, and her teaching that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Dr. Hawkins cited none other than Pope Francis as one of her sources. This is hardly a credible source for a professor at an evangelical college who had taken a pledge to stand on those evangelical principles. To the credit of Wheaton College, Hawkins has been suspended. Yet, we can be certain (because Scripture instructs us) than more instances of false teaching and competing doctrines will continue to surface, even in evangelical environments.
As Christians we have a few options in our response. We can simply be aghast and express our outrage. We also can mildly shake our heads and forget about this “isolated instance”, or we can go back to God’s Word to study, meditate and learn all we can about our great God. Hopefully this will be our choice. We will fall in love with Scripture and it can be said about us as it does of the one described in Psalm 1:2, “but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.” My prayer for you and me is that we will be a people who loves God’s Word and lives our life, not by the latest winds of doctrine, but by the very precepts that God has revealed to us in His holy word! And, as much as we can, live our life as an imitation of Christ Jesus. This is discipleship!
May God continue to bless us as we continue to make our life all about Him and His glory!
The Boston Globe