There is a popular sentiment going around these days among Christians. On the surface, it seems that the people holding to this sentiment are humble, peacemakers, and modest. It seems like the sentiment they hold is one that is good, and would lead to a greater good. It is this: “I can’t stand fights over doctrine. Let’s put all that aside and come together in unity.”
Awww. NOT. See, doctrine is getting a bad rap these days. They make it out to be a dirty word. These days I hear, “Oh, I don’t go in for all that doctrine“. “Doctrinal fights are so messy, and so counter-productive.” “Let’s put aside doctrine and worship in unity.” “I don’t play the doctrine game.”
It is a devastating sentiment. It is false in the extreme. Those who hold this sentiment are not modest, humble, or peacemakers, but rather are enemies of God. Let me explain how and why, through scripture.
“Jesus said, ‘Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.'” (John 7:16 KJV). The word doctrine in the Greek is didache, from which we get didactic. It is defined as “established teaching, especially a summarized body of respected teaching.” If you are a person who holds doctrine in contempt, who sets it aside in the pursuit of a false unity, who doesn’t ‘play that game’, you are saying that the teaching of God is of no importance to you. That His truth, delivered by Jesus, from God, to men, is something you are willing to set aside for the sake of unity. Unity like that is simply holding hands, singing Kumbayah, and sinking in the sand, for there is no foundational truth to support the people who claim to profess. But at least you will all go down in unity.
So if you set aside the teaching of Jesus, which is His truth, what kind of unity are you really getting? If you are not willing to “stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1 Tim 1:3) then you are not willing to oppose false teachers, as Paul was commanding Timothy in that verse, and be extension, us.
I stand on doctrine. I contend for doctrine. I love doctrine. Doctrine is the most important thing there is. Why? It is TRUTH. Doctrine is the teaching of Jesus Christ.
If you are not willing to put up with sound doctrine, then you are willing to “suit your own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim 4:3). After all, if you won’t contend for sound doctrine, then you will accept anything, right? Churches where doctrine is set aside will let falsity will creep in, and right away, too. Individual Christians who put aside doctrine will wind up having tickled ears instead of hard-won battle wounds, because they are too sensitive to fight for truth.
If you don’t ‘play that game’ then you will be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” (Ephesians 4:14). In other words, if you don’t know what you are uniting over, then you will be tossed by every little thing.
In looking up the topic of doctrine in the bible, we read that Doctrines
•Are from God.
•Are taught by Scripture.
•Immorality is condemned by.
•Lead to fellowship with the Father and with the Son.
•Lead to holiness.
•Bring no reproach on.
Further, we read that–
◦Be nourished up in.
◦Hold, in sincerity.
◦Speak things which become.
•Saints obey, from the heart.
•Saints abide in.
•A faithful walk adorns.
•The obedience of saints leads to surer knowledge of.
•THOSE WHO OPPOSE ARE
◦Not to be received.
◦To be avoided.
•Not endured by the wicked.
If you don’t play that old doctrine game, if you think doctrine is of no matter, if you seek unity instead of a messy fight to stand on the truth of ‘Him who sent me,’ go right ahead. All of the above is something that you have given up. And that is a lot to give up. As a matter of fact, doctrine is everything. Without it, you have nothing. Think I am exaggerating? Nope. All of the bible is doctrine! “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
There are not ‘many doctrines’ – ergo there is nothing to fight over. There is only one, unified doctrine of God. It is the heart of faith. That is why I stand for doctrine. It is why I am willing to fight over it. Are you?