Doctrine as Practical Godliness



Doctrine

I spent some of my youth listening to a Pastor from a Bible Teaching church. Bible Doctrine was always at the forefront and I grew up very much interested in it.

In our culture today, our church culture that is now in trouble more than ever we find ourselves devoid of doctrine. So what is doctrine?

Doctrine is the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). God’s self-revelation in the bible is our standard of doctrine.

Doctrine is a standard, a yardstick, a pattern, you measure truth by it (Romans 6:17). Doctrine is the “pattern of the sound words” and “the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13-14).

As part of the whole counsel of God it does not change. Our everlasting salvation is determined by whether we believe it: “Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9). Depart from the doctrine, and you depart from Christ. Or, better, keep watch over your doctrine and “you will save . . . yourself” (1 Timothy 4:16).

So for a long time Christians who in general have a low regard for Doctrine as they do Theology. Of course Bible reading in general has declined as have knowledge of scripture. Lack of knowing and understanding doctrine has resulted in Christians behaving just like the surrounding culture.

We now have Christians who are functional Atheists or evangelical pagans.

So do you have a Biblical Worldview? Is the Word of God your moral standard? Do you believe that “absolute moral truths exist and are conveyed through the Bible?” Christians who value and study doctrine also believe that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator who still rules the universe, and that salvation cannot be earned by their deeds, and that the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches.

Ronald Sider, in his book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience:

“They are 9 times more likely than all the others to avoid ‘adult-only’ material on the Internet. They are 4 times more likely than other Christians to boycott objectionable companies and products and twice as likely to choose not to watch a movie specifically because of its bad content. They are 3 times more likely than other adults not to use tobacco products and twice as likely to volunteer time to help needy people. Forty-nine percent of all born-again Christians with a biblical world view have volunteered more than an hour in the previous week to an organization serving the poor, whereas only 29 percent of born-again Christians without a biblical world view and only 22 percent of non-born-again Christians had done so.”

Barna’s findings on the differences in behavior of Christians with a biblical worldview underline the importance of theology. One way to end the scandal of contemporary Christian behavior and overall biblical ignorance is to work and pray fervently for the growth of orthodox theological belief in our churches.

As Christians our faith must be more than just one more interest or a thing we do on Sunday. It must be real! We can be shallow with in world, but God knows better. Keeping it real means we have a relationship with Christ. We read God’s Holy Word; we crave it! We need it! We pray at least once a day and we act out our faith, the Gospel throughout our day.

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