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About Doctrines

Sound Doctrine



Throughout its history, the nation of Israel frequently turned from God and walked in the ways of idolatry and Satan. But, never once is it recorded in the Old Testament that they questioned the Scriptures as actually being God's Word. The law of Moses, the first five books of the Scriptures, were revered. The nation believed these to be the Words of God. As time passed, other books were added. The closest any Jewish religious or political leader came to saying "this writing is not from God" is found in the actions of Jehoiakim. Jeremiah, at God's direction had written out his prophecies. Baruch took these writing and read them to the people who, in turn, had them read to the King, Jehoiakim. As each section was read, the king destroyed the scroll.

Jeremiah 36:22-25
22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. 23 And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe's knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 24 Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Nevertheless Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah implored the king not to burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them. NKJV

The king was destroying the Word of God, but, in some fairness to the King, this is an action contemporaneous with the writing and life of the prophet. Perhaps, it could be argued, the King did not realize Jeremiah was a prophet and these were God's Word. On the other hand, God held his leaders to a standard of recognizing when He had sent a prophet. But, at this point in time, Jeremiah's writings were not yet recognized as part of the Scriptures.

However, the story of Jehoiakim reminds us a lot of today's views about God. The unbelievers of the world view the Bible as just another book. It is spiritual, but it is not God's true and only Word. Such a view is to be expected. What is a sadder fact is the view of much of the Christian church. A large segment of the church does not view the entirety of Scripture to be the true Word of God. Rather than viewing the Bible as factually correct, they find "spiritual meaning" among it "myths" and "stories." The Bible is God's Word when it "speaks" to you in a given situation, but otherwise it is just another book of mankind.

The idea of stories and myths is the foundation of liberal theology. It is the stuff of Karl Barth's extremely influential writings.

It is easy to dismiss such views as belonging to unsaved people. And while this may be true, we need to be careful not to judge too quickly. Many, many Christians find Christ and then fail to grow toward spiritual maturity. Many good Christians develop bad doctrine because they fail to use all the Bible as their interpretive base. Many become entrenched in a limited set of ideas and judge all things based upon this data set. God has not provided us with all the answers. This does give way to interpretive differences. We may possess these differences and still have a unity of Spirit and belief.

But, there is, somewhere out there, a dividing line. We need to learn to recognize when people have crossed this line. When they do, we must be careful not to follow them along their pathway. We need to stick closely to the walkway God has outlined in the Scriptures. The other doctrine may not be wrong, but the farther away from a "literal" view of the Bible one moves, the easier it becomes to be corrupted by bad doctrine and to truly fall away.

We, like Titus, must learn to speak and understand "sound doctrine."

 

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September 18, 2018

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