THERE IS a saying: “You can be so right that you become wrong.” Sadly some in Church history were 100% right in their doctrines but in their practice they were wrong. The goal of the Christian life is to know and love God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, receiving eternal life through the Son, and resulting in a glorious and personal relationship with the Triune God. Where we love Him, worship Him serve Him, obey Him and where we experience His love and His care for us. Scholars and theologians can write about God but at the same time not experientially know Him.
Doctrines coming from such men in many cases will lead believers into scholastic studies about God but not the very experience of Him. Good doctrines can provide us with foundational principles based on a correct interpretation of the Word of God. But, only the most basic doctrines are necessary to help unify the body of Christ—which is the Church. Too many doctrines divide without being essential to the faith. Doctrines rooted in man-made terms, ideas and explanations can even lead a believer away from the Lord Himself. Good doctrines are helpful, but growing in discipleship with the Lord Jesus Christ is more important. Though there is Scriptural warrant and benefit to study the character of God and His ways, God does not call us to be theologians merely but disciples who practice what Jesus taught.
“Christians now choose churches based upon particular doctrines, and having the right theology has become the most important thing rather than having the right lifestyle, all because a Biblical model has been abandoned.”435
A rereading of the New Testament with this as our mindset helps us to see clearly that the early thinking and lifestyle of Christians has changed in many countries of the world. The effects of humanism, secularism, materialism, and entertainment have brought doctrines of Satan to the Church,436 resulting in counterfeit churches accepting such doctrines as ordaining profane ministers who are living in sin and practicing sin, and other new doctrines such as the prosperity doctrines.437 Some churches and denominations are misusing the miracles of God for their purposes to obtain money. Other churches, denominations and many bible colleges in the world today deny that the miracles of God took place and they deny the power and miracles of God being applicable to our lives today. In some countries, witnessing for Christ has become an exercise of not offending the freedom of other faiths and keeping our mouths closed. If this is true of us then we truly have become the lukewarm Church that Jesus spoke about. He will spit us out of His mouth unless we repent.438 We must return to the principles and doctrines of the early Church as a way of life439 and as a living response to knowing the very person of God through the blood of Christ and indwelling Holy Spirit.
“The Pharisees sat in the chair of Moses, which meant that they had gone to Bible colleges and got their doctorate degrees and had a lot of accurate knowledge. Jesus even told His disciples to do all that the Pharisees taught. So what the Pharisees taught must have been right. But they did not obey what they knew to be right.”440
If we do not combine our knowledge with obedience it will bring spiritual death and disaster to all around us. Salvation is not knowing a doctrine or understanding all the nuances of salvation. Salvation is experiencing the very person, the Lord Jesus Christ.441 When Paul the Apostle preached the Gospel he did not have a specific list of doctrines but rather preached the person of Christ, presenting Him to the people.442 “Not a doctrine, or a religion, or a catechism, but a Person, an exceedingly great and precious Person, this Preeminent Christ.”443
“If ‘Christ is all’ to you, you are Christians; and I, for one, am ready to give you the right hand of brotherhood. I do not mind what place of worship you attend, or by what distinctive name you may call yourselves, we are brethren; and I think, therefore, that we should love one another. If, my friends, you cannot embrace all who love the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter to what denomination they may belong, and cannot regard them as your brethren in the Lord, and as belonging to the universal Church, you have not hearts large enough to go to heaven.”444
May this be the experience of all those who claim to have the right doctrines that they themselves will represent God’s love, unity and all aspects of His character according to the Word of God. The proof will be by the way we love one another.445 The world needs to know that we are His disciples.446
435 David Servant
436 1 Timothy 4:1
437 1 Timothy 6:5
438 Revelation 3:15-16
439 1 Timothy 6:3
440 Zac Poonen
441 John 5:40
442 Colossians 1:28, Acts 8:5
443 Chip Brogden
444 C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
445 Galatians 5:6
446 John 17:23
EBook: PRINCIPLES FOR THE GATHERING OF BELIEVERS UNDER THE HEADSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST (Principle 26 – Having a Right Doctrine but Wrong Spirit)