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Monday, November 29, 2010

What Is A Doctrine? By Art Mokarow

Why are churches divided over doctrine?  What is a doctrine?  Some denominational churches won’t even read doctrines which differ from their own.  They may be surprised.  Are those doctrines so different from yours?

Good And Bad Doctrine

Paul warns Christians.  “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.  For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace [mercy]; not with meats, which have not profited [helped] them that have been occupied therein(Hebrews 13:9).

The Apostle did not say Christians should not read differing doctrines.  He warned them not to establish them in their hearts.  Paul really told Christians to have grace or mercy towards others concerning doctrines.  Why?  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and to day and for ever(Hebrews 13:8).  Christians are to follow The Word of God as The Apostles taught (Hebrews 13:7).  Doctrine should not teach against Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is The Word of God.

The Apostle is teaching you shouldn’t follow doctrines which lead you away from Christ.  Quite simple!  You need to understand what a doctrine is before you make a judgment.  Studying what someone else believes is not committing a sin.  You need to be free to make your free choice to follow Jesus, The Word of God.  But, what is a doctrine? 

Doctrine Just A Teaching

Paul declared, “The just shall live by faith(Romans 1:17).  Godly righteousness comes by faith in God by His Holy Spirit.  Doctrine, a teaching doesn’t give you Salvation even though it may be true and something you do to please God.  Still, it is always faith that saves you.

Doctrines” can be defined as “prophecy,” “a shadow,” “a symbol,” “a sign,” “Bible history,” “idioms” or “any new understanding about the scriptures.”

Doctrines can even increase in understanding as God sees human nature change.  The Apostle Paul lists a group of doctrines which are all true but he reveals all these doctrines are meaningless unless you have God’s agape love (I Corinthians 13:1-3).  Love is an unending doctrine.  Love is the same as faith which directly saves you.

Changing Doctrines

The list of all the doctrines which Paul writes are nothing to God and profits nothing.  The following list profits nothing for Salvation: tongues, prophecy, mysteries, knowledge or having faith to move mountains.  In The Garden, God rested from His work He accomplished (Genesis 1:31).  Adam and Eve didn’t have to cease from their work, they hadn’t done any of the work.

Israel received The Sabbath Day as a sign referring to God’s rest in The Garden which was a prophesy of good things to come.  The Sabbath sign given at Mount Sinai was different in purpose.  The Sabbath sign given after Israel sinned was changed.  They had to go into the wilderness rather than God’s rest.

At Sinai, Israel was to enter The Promised Land in remembrance of The Garden of Eden as a sign (Exodus 20:8-11).  After they sinned, The Sabbath sign was to remind them they were slaves and now were to go into the wilderness rather than The Promised Land (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)

Jesus magnified The Law to make it more honorable (Isaiah 42:21).  Now, The Sabbath was lawful to do good works.  Even if it happens to be hard work such as pulling an ox or lamb out of the ditch.  Working on The Sabbath to save life was now lawful.  Christ magnified The Law (Matthew 12:12)

Finally, The Sabbath extended to everyday to be in God’s rest by doing good worksThe Magnified Law makes each and every day a Sabbath for you to do good works (Hebrews 3 and 4).  The Sabbath is no longer a sign of good things to come but as the beginning and the end The Sabbath is God’s rest in Paradise (Revelation 21 and 22.  Wow!  Doctrines and the teachings of God do change.  Only spiritual growth through faith and by becoming God’s love completes God’s purpose to receive Salvation.

A Lexicon or a Concordance defines a “doctrine” as a “teaching.”  It merely means it is The Word of God.  Paul explains you only know “in part” and you only know prophesy “in part(1 Corinthians 13:9).                  

Paul informs you to grow spiritually from “faith to faith(Romans 1:17).  He adds “the just shall live by faith.

Doctrines or teachings change in meaning as you spiritually grow from faith to faith.  If you bury your talent you stop growing in Christ (Matthew 25).

Christians must keep growing, doctrinally, which increases your understanding of The Word of God.  A “doctrine” merely is a “magnified understanding of a weightier doctrinal truth.”  When you grow spiritually you grow in faith. That is why Paul said “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin(Romans 14:23). It should be your belief.                                                     

Doctrinal Division

Does God allow doctrinal differences in His Church?  Yes, he does.  Almost all of I Corinthians 3 covers the subject.  God always allows free choice to His children.  Paul explains how God handles dissensions over doctrine in The Church of God.  Read the way God works with His children over doctrinal differences (1 Corinthians 3:1-23).  

Your Father begins with you as a babe “In Christ.”  When you are “carnal” it only means “a person fights and debates over doctrine.”  Much like animals.  The Apostle concludes, “Therefore let no man glory in men.  For all things are yours; Whether Paul or Appolos or Cephas [Peter] or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s(I Corinthians 3:21-23).

Do you grasp what Paul is telling you?  Paul said not to consider any minister or preacher (only a man) to be perfect like Christ or God.  You need to read every Word of God and not be hung up on any one particular teaching (Matthew 4:4).  This was the mistake Satan made when he quoted Psalm 91 accurately, about the angels feeding Jesus.  He didn’t know every Word of God.  God is not to be tempted.  Preachers aren’t infallible.  They only know “in part.”  Paul did not want anyone to glorify him.  Only Christ and God are to be given glory or honor as having all the truth.  Only Christ and God deserve honor.  Man can be in error.  How can you tell?        

Know you not that you are The Temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (I Corinthians 3:16)?  God teaches you through Christ “In You” by your ability to understand.  Only God and Jesus know your heart.  Only God knows what truth you are ready to accept.  It is all a matter of free choice as Adam and Eve had.  Christ told you it was God’s Holy Spirit which would lead you to the truth.  Mere man can not lead you to all the truth (John 14:26).

This is the reason Paul said one preacher teaches one thing and another teaches something else.  But all are all right if they lay their foundation “In Christ” (I Corinthians 3:11).         

When a preacher commits an error he will be tried in the fire and will be tested.  If he is wrong the falsehood will be destroyed but the minister will be saved once he learns the error of his teachings.  How wonderful is Jesus and God who gives you understanding by His spirit as you grow, spiritually. 

You must not be as babes “In Christ” who do not know better and debate over doctrine like children.  The end result is to be “tossed to and fro…with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).  Ministers should be preaching for you to become perfect in The Stature of Christ.  You must become mature and not stay as babes.

Troublemakers in the church who insist, only, they have the truth should be avoided.  Those who split The Body of Christ by their dogmatic teaching should be turned over to Satan (I Corinthians 5:5).

God’s Doctrinal Teaching

How does God teach Christians doctrine?  The Apostle Paul is very clear how God through Christ teaches you according to your level of understanding.  “When I was a child [babe], I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass [mirror], darkly; but then face to face [speaking directly with God]: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known(I Corinthians 13:11-12).

God knows your heart and what you should know regarding a doctrine or a teaching.  Later, He will disclose all truth to you when you talk with Him face to face.

The word in Greek for “child” in I Corinthians 13 is translated “babe” and is exactly the same in I Corinthians 3.  Both mean you are as babes or children knowing little or nothing at all.

Children always insist they are right.  They feel rejected when others tell them they are wrong.  They are hurt because they feel they are being rejected. 

Just like Job they insist upon their righteousness.  They don’t understand God’s righteousness.  God’s thoughts are higher than your thoughts and His mind is superior to yours (Isaiah. 55).           

When you learn a doctrine, it is not the whole truth but more like a clue to a mystery.  It is a teaching but only part of a whole.  Just like when you learn mathematics.  From Arithmetic you go to Algebra, then Geometry to Trigometry and then Calculus.  You must start with the basics before you do higher mathematics.

You should look at doctrine the same way.  You need to know the whole before you will clearly comprehend all the parts.  That is why God and Christ are The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. 

God teaches you doctrine according to your heart bit by bit.  As God’s people you should not debate or argue over doctrine or any new teaching when you all only know “in part.”  Instead, you should prove all scripture given you.  God expects you to prove through The Word of God if it is the truth.

You are carnal as animals and babes “In Christ.”  Instead Jesus tells you the world will only know you are Christ’s Disciples if you love each other (John 13:35).  Disciples are students or followers of your teacher, Jesus, The Christ.  “Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).