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Monday, November 29, 2010

Does Doctrine Matter? By Art Mokarow

Of course doctrine matters to Christians.  Too many Christians are unaware that doctrines change!  In The Hebrew and Greek language “doctrine” means “a teaching or learning.”  One example would be gravity.  If one is on earth and jumps from a bridge, because of the law of gravity, one will always fall down.  That is a truth or doctrine, which is always fact or the truth.  Doctrinally, gravity is a reality on earth.

On the other hand, if one is on the moon, gravity changes.  Doctrinally, gravity on the moon is different than on the earth.  Doctrine can be conditional.  Notice what Paul states about doctrine or a teaching or knowledge.  Charity never fails; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge [doctrine], it shall vanish away(I Corinthians 13:8).  The problem with dogmatic doctrines is that they believe they have an eternal truth with no conditions.  If conditions of a covenant or contract change, then the contract changes.

The problem with dogmatic doctrine is as Paul said, any Christian, including a group of denominational Christians, only has a part of the truth (I Corinthians 13:9).  A doctrine can change according to conditions.  Dogmatic doctrine does not allow for change when you believe you have the truth which, scripturally, is only a partial truth.  Biblical doctrines do change according to conditions by God!

Dogmatic Doctrine

A very good biblical example of a changing doctrine or teaching is the difference between The Old Covenant and The New Covenant.  Both have to do with God’s Holy Law which is just and good.

These covenants or contracts with God have different purposes and goals.  Both of these covenants fulfill different goals.  Very clearly, The Bible declares this Old Covenant with Israel, administered by Moses through The Levitical Priesthood, was only for Israel.  The scripture is indisputable, which reveals that this contract was only made for Israel.  Read Deuteronomy 5:1-3 thoroughly.  It can not be any clearer.

Secondly, Hebrews 7:12 makes a bold statement that once The Priesthood is changed, The Law is changed.  First and foremost, it does not say The Law is done away with, as some believe.  What the scripture tells you is The Law is handled a different way.  How simple.  The Law remains, but is to exist in a different form.  Changing the priesthood, changes how The Law is to be administered.

In The Old Covenant, The Law was administered in The Letter.  The Law had to be kept in every aspect or part (James 2:10).  If one part was broken then one might as well break all of it.  That is why Paul said in II Corinthians 3, the end result is death.  You cannot decide to transgress any part, such as the sacrifices and keep the rest.  You are still guilty of breaking all of The Law!  Humans cannot and should not decide for themselves what they can keep in force in The Letter of The Law.  Only God can and does.

Once the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., there was no way to keep The Letter of The Law because one third of keeping The Law had to do with the temple.  One could no longer keep The Holy days because The Letter of The Law required males to keep The Holy days by the temple.  One cannot keep The Letter of The Law in part, because you would be guilty of breaking the entire Law.  One is, then, a sinner.  That is why The Old Covenant had to be abolished.  Hebrews 7:18 clearly mandates; “For there is verily [truly] a disannulling [made void] of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.”  This is not referring to The Ten Commandments as carnal but the commandment of The Old Covenant.  Why?  Hebrews 7:19 answers, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

This is the reason Paul said in Hebrews 8:4, if Christ was on earth while the temple was there, Jesus would not be a priest!  The Levites were still serving in the temple for sin.  That is why Hebrews 8:13 reveals The Old Covenant was getting old and vanishing.  By 70 A.D., this Old Covenant ceased or was disannulled by God, with the destruction of the temple.  The Levitical Priesthood could no longer function to keep The Law of Moses.  The administration changed to Melchizedek once the temple was gone.  Now, The Law was to be administered differently.  The Letter of The Law could not make you perfect, for it could only tell you what sin was (I John 3:4).

A Spiritual Law

Paul in Romans 7:14 said The Law was spiritual.  The Law under Melchizedek was based upon faith and loving righteousness (Hebrews 1).  The weakness or shortcoming of keeping The Law in The Letter couldn’t make anyone perfect.  There was a better hope under Christ, as High Priest, to make you perfect.  How?  Hebrews 10:10-21 simply reveals, by God’s Holy Spirit you are made perfect and through Christ’s sacrifice any sin you commit, when you repent, is forgiven.  The Law now becomes part of your heart or very nature.

Keeping the works or legal demands of The Law never changes anyone, but God’s Holy Spirit does by writing “the righteousness” of The Law into your human nature and, therefore, having the same mind as Christ, (God’s mind) (Philippians 2:5).  What is the righteousness of The Law?  Read Christ’s answer in Matthew 5, 6 and 7.  That is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, “be you perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Demanding that The Law of Moses be kept, forever, as a dogmatic doctrine can actually keep you from being perfect.  The Law under Christ is magnified to make The Law honorable where you can receive Salvation by God’s gift, The Holy Spirit (Isaiah 42:21).  Notice, that magnifying (enlarging) The Law in your hearts makes it more honorable because God is well pleased for “His righteousness” and not “the righteousness of The Law” (Deuteronomy 6:25).  The New Covenant under Christ’s Priesthood gives Salvation by The Holy Spirit.  The Law of Moses in The Letter can only bring death (II Corinthians 3:6). 

Making “doctrine” dogmatic can keep you from perfection and Salvation as you have biblically proven.  Doctrines or teachings are important, but you must remember, knowledge or teaching shall cease.  Doctrine can be conditional.  Remember, you only know in part (I Corinthians 13).  To think only you have the truth is impossible; for the best anyone can know is only a part or piece as Paul said.  Being doctrinally dogmatic is and can be dangerous.  We each need to work out our own Salvation and not be so dogmatic since we only have a part of the truth (Philippians 2:12)!