The Word for Writers
When Doctrine Matters
The admonishment of "rightly dividing" or "handling accurately the word of truth" has not as its focus the end result, but rather, the process which leads to a clear apprehension of God's thought to man. For if the process is sound, it is more than likely that the end result will also be sound. Conversely, if the process is faulty, we can expect a result which will be equally as faulty. Statements such as, "I don't get into doctrine" or "Doctrine doesn't matter," has the sound of spirituality to it, but it is a pseudo-spirituality. In fact, this rather "nice" sounding attitude flies in the face of Scripture. This is not the sort of peace and unity of which the Scripture speaks. "For there must also be factions among you so that those who are approved of God may become manifest."
Frankly, it smacks of ecumenicalism, which produces a false peace and a false unity because it is not held together by the Spirit of truth. We are exhorted to "speak the truth in love," meaning, you can't have one without the other. Nowhere does the Scripture teach the notion of unity at any cost. As one man has said, "It is better to be divided by truth than united in error." Scripture clearly forewarns that one of the major signs of then "last days" will be that so many will no longer adhere to sound doctrine. It cannot be stressed enough simply because God stresses this imperative from cover to cover throughout the Scriptures, that the authenticity of ministry is in direct proportion of the authenticity of the oral or written words with which the vessel represents the Mind of the Lord.
These days, in particular, there is a strong and irreverant tendency for those who would presume to speak for God to be far too glib and take license with "the holy things of God." Consequently, it would serve us well, having a healthy fear and trembling, to avoid at all cost, the presumptuous sin of "speaking that which the Lord has not spoken." Therefore, sound doctrine does matter, not from a legalistic standpoint where "the letter kills," but as it relates to a clear and accurate understanding of God's character, ways, and purposes. It matters as to how Christ is represented, in Heart, in Mind, and how that directly correlates into how His Body functions, and the type of witness she portrays to the world.
It matters because "For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." It matters because, "For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." It matters because of the great influence it has upon our world view. It matters because how we think about the Church's place and purposes for the "last days" and her relationship and obligation as it pertains to Israel (the Jewish people) will ultimately determine as to whether the "limb" we represent will be "put out of joint" or be a "vessel fit for the Master's use." With our being able "to discern the times" we therefore will know what needs to be done at the most critical time of church and world history.
Furthermore, though reading others' thoughts on a particular subject can be profitable, there comes a time where we reach a point of diminishing returns. Case in point: Jesus asked, "Who do men say that I am? Some say that you are Jeremiah, or Elijah, or John the Baptist raised from the dead. Then Jesus asked, "But, who do you say that I am?" In other words, there comes a point where referring people to other sources loses its effectiveness by no longer serving a useful purpose. Not unlike most, I have read many books and heard many teachings over the years, and it is important to always maintain a teachable spirit in order to continue to benefit from the spiritual deposits in others. But, there comes a point where it is time to be able to give an account for what we believe and why we believe it.
As it says in Ecclesiastes, "Be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body." Today, we can just as easily apply that principle to websites. But, regardless of the means through which we receive the seeming neverending glut of teachings, it is high time for many of us to grow up and not be so easily "driven by waves, and by every wind of doctrine." Why? Because doctrine does matter!
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