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The Death Of Doctrine


In 1Timothy 4:15 and 16 Paul tells Timothy to "be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone will see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them " (NIV) Paul tells Timothy to give himself wholly to both his "life and doctrine". 


The word "life" in this verse refers to the way Timothy should live.  He is to live a righteous life which would be an example for others.  With the addition of the word "doctrine" in this admonition, Paul is linking living right with thinking right.  You cannot live right unless you  think right.  That's why doctrine is important.   


The word "doctrine" has been falling out of fashion in Evangelical circles for quite some time now.  We've been influenced to a degree by the non-Christian philosophy of Relativism.  Even in Evangelicalism, many people no longer believe in absolute truth.  Truth may vary from one Christian to the next.  The reason for this departure in thinking is due to how we view the Bible.  No longer is the Bible a book of absolute truth.  In many people's thinking the Bible  has become a book of stories with a somewhat flexible morality.  The moral behind the story supersedes the historical accuracy of the story and the truth it teaches.  This is clearly seen in today's post-modern Emergent Church movement.


Instead of teaching timeless truths of Scripture, more and more we teach life skills, such as how to improve your finances and sex life.  My point is simple.  You cannot separate "doctrine", or the pursuit of Biblical truth, from these life skills, as we often do.  Paul links both life and doctrine in the above verse because he knows they should never be separated.  If the church teaches life skills at the expense of Biblical truth, the church becomes a self-help group instead of a body of people who are to do the work of our Lord.      


In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul tells Timothy to teach others what he has been taught.  This tells me that the doctrine Paul taught Timothy is meant for all Christians, not just a few leaders.  Many Timothy's in our day don't even know Biblical doctrine in order to teach it to those they are supposed to care for.  The devaluation of the Bible from its place of importance has dumbed us down to a place of ignorance and Biblical illiteracy.  The death of any local church will soon follow the death of doctrine.   


The pursuit of right thinking is important.  Jesus was very upset with the church at Pergamum in Revelation 2:14 to 18 because some people in the church held to the doctrine of Balaam and to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.  He was so upset that He told these people to repent, and if they didn't, He would fight against them with the sword of His mouth.  Some people in the church don't believe Jesus would do such a thing.  These people have forsaken the truth this Scripture teaches. 


For the reasons I've just stated, many readers of this article won't think what I've just said is important or relevant to their lives.  Hopefully that isn't you.  God's Word is our prize possession.  We should take it seriously.  We concern ourselves with so many aspects of life these days.  I suggest we concern ourselves with what matters, and that's the eternal truths taught to us in the Bible.  I believe truth matters to God.  It should matter to us.          




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