Sometimes we hear individuals say, “Why should we be so concerned about doctrine? We should just preach Jesus and ignore doctrine. Preaching doctrine creates division, but preaching Jesus will bring unity.” Those who say these things often are motivated to bring about harmony among those who follow Jesus, but we must begin by asking, “What does the Bible teach about the importance of doctrine?” Think about all you would have to give up if you never preached doctrine.
If I gave up all doctrine, I could never preach about Jesus’ resurrection. When Paul was teaching in the marketplace in Athens he proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus. He was taken to the Acropolis where he was questioned by the Greek philosophers. They said, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak” (Acts 17:18-19)?
If I gave up all doctrine, I could never preach about the sermon on the mount. Matthew devoted three chapters to this amazing lesson taught by Jesus. It is filled with moral teachings like the beatitudes, Christian influence as salt and light, loving our neighbors, humility in prayer, the goodness of God in His providence, the Golden Rule, etc. “When Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine; for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matt. 7:28-29). If I cannot preach doctrine, I cannot preach the sermon on the mount!
If I gave up all doctrine, I could never preach about the parables of Jesus. Mark described the preaching of Jesus. “And He taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in His doctrine . . .” (Mark 4:2). Jesus spoke more than 30 parables, but I could not use them. I could not tell about the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, the pearl of great price, the wise builder, etc. How can I preach about Jesus without using His parables, but they are doctrine!
If I gave up all doctrine, I could never free men from sin. Paul described the salvation of the Romans using these words, “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). If the heartfelt obedience to doctrine brought freedom from sin, how can anyone, who loves the lost, minimize the preaching of doctrine?
Take time to use your concordance to read all the Bible says about doctrine. Do this with a sincere heart and you will never again speak of separating Jesus from doctrine. Take time to study the Bible, it’s not that hard to understand!