Saturday, September 24, 2011

Doctrine, Part 1 of 3

But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. 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. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little, Isaiah 28:7-10.

The prophet Isaiah likens the people of the northern kingdom with a group of drunkards. As we all likely know when someone is drunk you can’t talk reason with them. They are off in their own little world where everything makes sense in their mind. God says through Isaiah that these men are out of the way through strong drink. What occurs afterward? They err in vision, as a drunkard often does. They cannot see straight; because they cannot see straight the next outcome is entirely natural: they stumble in judgment. Without clear sight warped judgment rightly follows. God likens the judgments that issues from the mouths of these men as vomit that makes everything around them filthy. God’s word is profoundly different: The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether, Psalm 19:7-9.

Isaiah then asks, to whom shall he teach knowledge and give doctrine? He tells us that doctrine is for those weaned from milk and drawn from the breast; in other words, for someone who has begun to mature and needs something more substantial than mother’s milk. The writer of Hebrews agrees:

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For 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, Hebrews 5:11-14.

The giving of doctrine is, as Isaiah notes with perhaps a little levity, a tedious process in our eyes. This is especially so when we first begin our Christian walk and have little patience for the lengthy discourses regarding the teachings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the prophet to inform us that with God it’s little by little; very seldom all at once. No man ever had a crash course in the Christian life to bud into resplendent maturity as soon as the divine life touched him. God chose the vehicle of the written word to impress His eternal truths on us. He vouchsafed that this word was complete and final, capable in this life of bringing us into a closely conformed walk with Jesus Christ through the Spirit, if we are so willing.

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, 1st Timothy 4:6.

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 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, 1st Timothy 4:13-16.

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, Jude 1:3.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue, 2nd Peter 1:2-3.

There is a strong movement in the church today to abandon (partially or in total) sound doctrine. The mention of doctrine creates instant division, raises denominational barriers, and hinders worship and fellowship. Doctrine is interpreted by one hundred different men one hundred different ways, and every man claims he has the correct view. Hmm…so far I’m not making a strong case on behalf of doctrine, since it sounds like an issue of confusion within the church. But if there was no doctrine, there would be no church, since the New Testament is our record of the divinely inspired teachings of Jesus our Lord and those He chose to build the church through His Holy Spirit. We would not know Jesus were it not for doctrine; that is, the written word of God available to us today. Those who want to jettison doctrine or soften its influence for the sake of getting along and embracing others without hindrance have already rejected Jesus Christ. Read on:

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him, John 7:16-17.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away, Matthew 24:35.

1 comment:

  1. I get a little frustrated when some preacher says, "I just don't have any use for these "teachers", after all the Bible said it was by the foolishness of preaching that people get saved." Apparently they missed the requirement that a bishop or pastor be able to teach, as well as all the instructions to teach. Doctrine is what is taught. Even the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20 focuses on teaching.

    Good post about another very important subject.


"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," 2nd Timothy 3:16.

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