Thursday, September 29, 2011

Doctrine, Part 3 of 3

We have our marching orders as Christians. A soldier without direct and clear orders is a confused and impotent one. The enemy of the church, Satan, would have it no other way than to beguile us with contrary gospels and faulty doctrine. Paul warned the Ephesian elders that he had not shunned to give them all of God’s counsel, and that with his departure perverse men would come to lead away disciples after themselves, 20:27, 29-30.

Peter stated likewise in his epistle. False teachers would enter the church and lead many astray; because of this the way of truth—that is, genuine Christianity—would be blasphemed, 2nd Peter 2:1-3. As a soldier in Christ Jesus we are loyal to our Captain. When another comes pretending to speak in His name but tells us things contrary to His word we know that the message being delivered is from the enemy. Only sound adherence to doctrine can equip a saint with this ability to perceive and reject error while clinging tenaciously to their faith. This is the maturing faith the Holy Spirit wants us to possess.

Our perception of God affects how we live our life. I will go a step further and say that our view of doctrine also plays a strong role in how we perceive the Christian life is meant to be lived. Are we a social organization zealous to right all of the world’s wrongs? Or are we the body of Christ, seeking to save the lost and to call people out from a world-system slated for destruction? Our call as Christians is to fight the good fight of faith with the armor God provides, and to stand fast; we are soldiers in a warzone. My mother loves to remind me that God doesn’t need soldiers in Heaven; that is why we’re here! Our faithful walk either convicts sinners and leads them to repentance by God’s mercy, or hardens them as we become the savor of death unto death toward them. Christian, are you fighting without your sword? Or do you have only partial confidence in its ability to cleave? Do you not know this is the only offensive piece of equipment God gave us, Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12?

When the church concedes to put away the Bible as an outdated form of reaching people the end has arrived. Doctrine will divide; and it divides on these lines: those who hold fast to it will be persecuted by those who are all too happy to relinquish it. Such tend to be unsaved, having never been one of us, 1st John 2:19. These same are the false prophets who smuggle in destructive heresies into the church body and bring swift destruction on themselves, 2nd Peter 2:1. The Emergent Church, Rob Bell, Rick Warren, and many more fall into this category.

The question then is posed: to whom are you loyal? Is the Bible your measure and standard for life and practice? Or do you not trust the unfailing word of an unchanging God in preference for the transient trends and false wisdom of men? What will you tell God when you stand before Him at the judgment: either at Christ’s judgment seat watching all your works burned or before the Great White Throne when we learn (too late) how serious the matter of doctrine really is?

Christ warned that there was a narrow way which few found, Matthew 7:14. Jesus even warned in advance that this way is difficult and that disciples ought to count the cost of following our Lord. Solomon wrote that there is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way of death, Proverbs 14:12. This is the wide way of destruction which many will take. They have taken it in times past, they are taking it presently and they will continue to take it until the end comes. Like Noah, we may be called to stand alone in a godless world that is content to stop its ears and go on its merry way, pitying us for our finite, narrow, fanatic views. Like Noah, we shall be saved be hearing and believing what is told us.

To what end are you a Christian if the Bible means so little? Do you not understand that this is the inspired communication of our Holy God, and He cared to tell us all we need to know regarding this life and the next within its pages? It is accurate and edifying from Genesis to Revelation, and shall never be disproved or outdated no matter what modern thinkers may boast about how old it is. The gospel isn’t old to me; I wasn’t there when it was first given. To me it comes as a new message of God’s love and extended grace toward a sinner separated from a holy God by his sins. The Son of God became sin for me so that I might, through His death, have life and reconciliation with my God.

This isn’t an old message unless it is found utterly false. The gospel is new to every generation, and every individual is responsible for their response to it. Mind you, if you dissect the Bible and remove the doctrines that disagree with your taste, you have undermined the very potency of the gospel message. Who will believe anything from a book you don’t have confidence in? How do you explain that you don’t think some parts are accurate or authoritative while others are, and who determines what parts those are? You have forfeit your witness by giving a feeble nod toward a book that is fraught with ideas and commands too old to be taken seriously any longer.

I leave you with a statement from one of the great men of faith when the choice was put to him and his generation as to whom he should trust. I will leave you, the reader, to decide whether or not you find his wisdom sound. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” Joshua 24:15.

3 comments:

  1. Amen, Ian.

    In talking to some Mormon elders, I learned of Joseph Smith's version of the Bible. When he came to passage he didn't like he simply declared that it was mistranslated and left it out or re-stated it to suit himself. Unfortunately, many of today's false teachers don't bother to tell you they've changed it.

    Great post.

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  2. Ian, I spent a little time looking up spiritualists, and put a brief explanatory note at the end of my post. While their stance on scripture sounds really good initially, after following their statements a little farther, I think they go too far, and fall into error as a result.

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  3. A great call to battle, Ian! Thanks for this post. In addition to disregarding verses that don't agree with their liberal beliefs, many of today's "modern" thinkers do the reverse -- they'll take a single verse, totally out of context, and use it to try to justify their lifestyle. For example, they'll argue that drinking even in excess must be fine because Jesus changed water into wine. God's Word is eternal and unchanging, and there will be harsh judgments for those who attempted to change, add to, or demean it. We must have spiritual discernment in these last days not to be seduced by false teachers. Blessings to you and your family.

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"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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Joshua 24:15

All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.