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READ- 1 Tim 4: 13-16
Does the title make you nervous? Perhaps it brings to mind some group who wishes to force a system of beliefs upon you. Or maybe it strikes a chord with folks who have spent time in the armed services bringing recollections of basic training when they were indoctrinated into the ways of military life. Whatever image the word 'indoctrinate' conjures, it is not likely a positive one.
The word 'doctrine' comes from the Greek word didaskalia meaning "that which is taught", so doctrine is nothing more and nothing less than the essential truths taught to new believers concerning the Christian faith. It's really not that intimidating when you think of it like this.
A few weeks ago, though, I was speaking with someone and I worked the subject of sin into the conversation. The reaction was quick and direct. "You're talking about that doctrine stuff now. If you're going to talk about God, I just want to know that He loves me." It was like the very thought of dealing with absolutes was counterproductive to the discussion. Funny thing is, it's the doctrines of the Christian faith that really reveal just how much God does love us.
The central Christian doctrines are pivotal to understanding the core of the faith. These include the Trinity, the Deity/ Humanity of Christ, the atonement, the resurrection, justification by faith, and belief in the divine inspiration of Scripture. These doctrines so fully comprise the essence of the Christian faith that to remove any of them is to make the belief system something other than Christian. Our doctrines are the lens through which the entirety of the Christian life is viewed.
A proper indoctrination will give us a solid understanding of the Christian faith. When we have a strong conviction regarding the basics of our beliefs, it is easier to identify and defend against the distortions of those beliefs coming from any number of offbeat books, groups, or media outlets currently available in our culture.
Lord, thank You for giving us clear teaching regarding what it means to be Your follower. Give us clarity of mind where these matters are concerned so that we may remain steadfast in the faith.
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