Thoughts On Doctrine – Part I

Introduction

The Most Hated Quality of Christianity

“Truly, and with all certainty, I say to you…” – Jesus Christ

There is one particular thing that separates genuine Christianity from all other viewpoints within our world. It has always been special, but in our day it has become increasingly clear what makes the words of Christ Jesus so different than that of our modern-day philosophers. Today it is an almost expected statement of fact that no one truly knows anything for certain, and anyone who makes such an audacious claim is quickly put off to the side, or simply so loudly shouted off the stage that what they have to say is never heard by those who do not directly peruse it. We as a society have become so quickly and so fervently against any sense of principle that we are like the Jews who stoned Stephen. When they heard the truth from his lips, they did not deny it nor try to argue their way out of it, but instead covered their ears and gnashed their teeth at him in pure hatred, not because he said false things about them, but rather because they knew (perhaps more than he) that what was said was fully accurate. And so they drug him out and stoned him, not being capable of bearing the truth in their sinful hearts. Likewise, our world has become so intolerant of certainty (outside of their own beliefs) that they cover their ears, unwilling to search out the truth or accept it, and instead they unleash such unfiltered hatred of the speaker and do all they can to drive them out of their presence. And it would not surprise me if public bloodshed is not far from where we are at in our morally corrupt civilization.

But nevertheless, the Word of God has stood the test of time despite countless attempts to destroy it. And this is due entirely to the fact that it is as it claims to be- the very words of the Creator. The Bible speaks words in truth, not as suggestions or generalities, but statements of fact. This not only means it claims to be the words of the God of the universe, but more specifically, it claims to be the very words of reality. These are the very defining words of all things, things that cannot be doubted or genuinely proven to be false. Because the Creator, if He is indeed the true creator of all things (life, thought, the physical, the spiritual, etc.), is the One who defines Truth, and when He speaks it is the fullest truth, with no error nor bearing any possibility of error. When He speaks, men (such as Job) close their mouths and cannot give a valid response, being so fearful that they fall on their faces in complete submission. It is so, and so it is.

But it does not stop there. Because the Word of God not is not only certain, it is also righteous. It is not only completely accurate, but is completely good. It is always best, over all other words. And such a bold claim is despised by modern religion and dreaded by humanity in general. In fact, the righteousness of God one of His most loathed characteristics, because it implies something dreadful to the sinful world. It directly implies that anything outside of Him (i.e. sin and those who practice it) are evil and wicked. And if you search even farther, you see that this reveals something very terrifying. By nature, we are not only sinful, but are utterly so, and as such we are in direct contrast to God. This means that we are not only “not good enough,” but are in direct opposition to our Creator Himself. There is no middle ground- you are either righteous or unrighteous. You are either right or wrong, and each carry with them a substantial weight. If you are unrighteous (incorrect) before God, you are found to be in two areas: lost and hostile. You are lost, in that you are separated from your Maker and cannot find favor with Him, because you are outside of Him. Not that He has lost control, but you are not “for Him” in that you cannot do what He commands. It is called “human depravity,” and is the condition of all who are outside of Jesus Christ. Not only are you lost, but you are also hostile. That is to say, you are completely against God and all He commands. “What?” some might say. “I want to love God!” or more recently, “I can do good things without a ‘god’!” But the apostle Paul makes very clear in his writings that humanity as a whole not only lacks any sense of righteous, but are utterly hostile in their hearts and minds, such as seen in Romans 3:9-18:

“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.’ ‘Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,’ ‘The poison of asps is under their lips’; ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness’; ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’”

He adds to this reality by reminding the followers of Christ that even they too were in such a bitter circumstance, as they were no better than those who will be thrown into the pit of Hell. “…you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds…” he says in Colossians 1:21 (emphasis added), making very clear that we too, if not especially, were the worst of the worst, being worthy only of complete and total punishment in the eternal torments of the Lake of Fire.

And so we see that the Word of God is exclusive. It is completely accurate, completely certain and completely righteous. And as a result of these, it must then be sought after. Unlike so much of religion and philosophy today, the Word of God bears something utterly unique, that being truth. It is sure of what it says, and by obligation we must follow it to the very letter. To the world, this sounds arrogant and baseless, but to the truth-seeker, this is a breath of fresh air. Because we can now hold fast to something that does not move. It does not alter with the times or blow away with the other discarded trends of modern society. It stands tall, moves not, and tells us exactly what we need to know.

And this should be a breath of fresh air every time we revisit this reality. Why is it, then, that people within the church itself are so vehemently against doctrine? “Doctrine divides” they say, warning that we should not seek to “indoctrinate” people just as the world gives the same warning to everyone in general. The preacher of the Word has been degraded to nothing more than just another guy who stands up and suggests what you might want to do, but are in no way required to do. They can get straightforward, of course, being blunt almost to the point of anger, but this is only driven by the need for people to become more successful in their lives and financial gain. In no way will you ever see such straightforward sermons concerning our need to be justified before God through grace alone (that belongs to the emotional section of the sermon, as a strong suggestion, not a factual requirement of all humanity), and the judgment for refusing His grace is never mentioned, lest it be for the sake of scaring people into heaven.

And so we see that doctrine has been almost universally condemned. The certainty that the Scripture so clearly declares has been called into question…


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