Doctrine is Not a Four Letter Word
The spirit of compromise which permeates our society may be blessing in some areas, but it has little place in regard to the clear teachings of the Bible. Its presence has led to a watered-down teaching in churches in America. While the Bible doctrine about morality is clear, denominations are struggling to deal with divorce for every cause, living together without marriage and homosexuality. The same is true about how God wants us to worship, the organization of church, the path to salvation and many aspects of Christian living. It is as though there is no doctrinal teaching on these matters. This spirit of compromise has made doctrine a four-letter word.
Jesus Taught Doctrine
Take time to read the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety. Do not stop after the Beatitudes (which some would not view as doctrine) but read all three chapters where the sermon is found. It is filled with a precise teaching and leaves little room for religious compromise. Immediately after the beatitudes, Jesus attacks the false teaching of the religious leaders in a series of topics centered around “You have heard it has been said” and Jesus’ words, “But I say unto you.” Clear doctrinal teaching is what Jesus did. He did not think that doctrine was a four-letter word. He exalted it.
At the end of these three chapters, pay special attention to what is said, “When He had finished these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them as one who has authority” (Matt. 7:28-29). Churches in America, where the teachings of the Bible are being compromised, stand in marked contrast to the doctrinal preaching of Jesus. Remember that Jesus said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). What did He do with that doctrine given to Him? He gave it to the apostles. “For I have given to them the words which You have given to Me” (John 17:8).
The Apostles Taught Doctrine
What did the apostles do with those words? How did they use them? After Jesus ascended to heaven, they gave the doctrine to the world. On the day the church began it is stated, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). They taught in the temple and when arrested were charged, “You have filled all Jerusalem with this doctrine” (Acts 5:28). When Paul taught in Athens his listeners said, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak” (Acts 17:19). The apostles taught that salvation comes when men “…obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” (Rom. 6:17).
Let’s talk more about doctrine in next week’s article. Remember that doctrine is not a four-letter word!