Doctrine Matters, but Why?

2 Timothy 4:3 says, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.”   This time is now.

Today there are those who see sound doctrine as divisive and therefore to be avoided.  They don’t want to hear biblical doctrine  and when it is presented, there is a fulfillment of this scripture when they gather around those who tell them what they want to hear. They have their own doctrine and they don’t want to hear anything else.

There are others who seem to have a complete apathy when it comes to doctrine. Some people could care less about theological truths.  They have the idea that “it really doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.”  They assume that all groups that claim to be “christian” are “christian” and they believe you shouldn’t even question their claim.  This approach fails to realize that a person can be sincere in their claim to be “christian” and yet be sincerely wrong because their faith is misplaced.

But is this apathy toward doctrine dangerous for the individual as well as for the church?  Should we carefully examine the beliefs and practices of an individual or a group that claims to be  “christian?”  Can a person who claims to be a christian be sincerely wrong in their beliefs and be deceiving themselves as well as others?

In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul says that the Bible is useful for doctrine (teaching).

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”

The first in this list is teaching.  The Bible is not only inspired by God but is our sourcebook when it comes to what we should be teaching.  It doesn’t really matter what other people say, it matters what God has said.

The apostle Paul teaches in the Book of Titus that one of the requirements for a Pastor in the book of Titus is that he must “hold to sound doctrine and also refute those who contradict it”( Titus 1:9).   Pastors must not only believe the Bible and hold to it’s truths but they must oppose those who contradict what it teaches.

There has been a lot of discussion and, unfortunately, conflict the last few years over what Baptists should believe and teach.  There has been a rediscovery of what Baptists have historically held to and a wrestling of whether that tradition should be continued today.  Is there a statement of Baptist beliefs made by Baptists themselves?  Many are confused about what they should believe as Baptists.  The purpose of a Statement of Faith is  to clarify a denomination’s positions on key doctrines of the christian faith.  To try and fundamentally change these positions is to create another denomination altogether.  Or, at the least, is to restate what another denomination has already determined to believe so that it would make more sense for one arguing these contrary positions to consider joining the denomination that is already teaching these doctrines as opposed to trying to change the already established doctrines of the Baptist faith.

Over the next few weeks, this series of blogs will be dealing with the content of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.  What does it actually say? This Statement of Faith was adopted by Southern Baptists at their annual meeting on June 14, 2000.  This statement continues and does not contradict a long standing tradition of Baptists expressing what they believe in a confessional statement.

What is a confessional statement?

A confessional statement is basically a summary of the most important truths of the Bible that are believed by a people.   The committee of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message sought to clarify what it was that Baptists believed as a witness to the World and for doctrinal accountability.

Al Mohler, who was on the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message said,  “For nearly 2000 years, Christians have expressed their faith and doctrine through confessions of faith. In many cases, the confession or creed emerged out of the defense of the faith against heresy and error. The believing church said ‘no’ to doctrinal error and ‘yes’ to the truth of the Gospel.” (an exposition from the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on the Baptist Faith and Message)

When speaking of the Baptist confession of his day, C.H. Spurgeon wrote:

“This ancient document is the most excellent embodiment of the things most surely believed among us. It is not issued as an authoritative rule or code of faith, whereby you may be bound, but as a means of edification in righteousness. It is an excellent, though not inspired, expression of the teaching of those Holy Scriptures by which all confessions are to be measured. We hold to the humbling truths of God’s sovereign grace in the salvation of lost sinners. Salvation is through Christ alone and by faith alone.”

He was saying that the Bible is our authority not the confessional statement.  The statement is a wonderful tool to express what we believe.  It helps to say, “Here is how we interpret the Bible.”  In that spirit and attitude, we will begin next time with a look at what we believe about the Bible as we look  at Article I of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.

Grace Life of Senatobia meets every Wednesday night in a Cell Group at the Senatobia Library at 6:00 pm.   Core group formation and Vision casting is underway with the prayer and goal that Sunday Worship will begin Fall of 2018

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