Posted by: The Simple Guy | May 6, 2010

Dangers of Sound Doctrine 2

In the original Dangers of Sound Doctrine post I stirred up some controversy  So I thought perhaps I should clarify.

First, let me say I believe that it is vital to have sound doctrine.  I am not at all saying that we should settle for less than sound doctrine.  I am aware of the mess post modernism has caused in Christianity.

I believe biblical truth is vital and must be both sought and taught.  I believe a very important part of being freed from this life of sin and death is a correct understanding of the beautiful truths taught in Scripture.   But in all the heated discussion about truth that comes from conservative circles these days, I think we are in grave danger of missing something equally as vital.  Paul did not tell Timothy to just watch his doctrine closely.  He said to watch his life and doctrine closely.   (1 Tim 4:16)

In short, what I am trying to say is that we should not stop at sound doctrine and somehow feel we have arrived.   Sound Doctrine does not insulate us from grave error.  In Paul washer’s video (in the above mentioned post) he said,

“. . to grasp things intellectually is one thing, for them to become realities in our live is another . . you sum up all of correct doctrine as it is revealed in scripture, you still do not have Jesus.  This is pointing us to Jesus, showing us who Jesus is.  But it still doesn’t equate to a relationship, a living relationship with the risen Christ.  And that must be cultivated.  We ought to study deep.  We ought to pray long.”

Some would disagree with my statement (in the comment section of the original post) that

“The ones Jesus opposed most vehemently when he was here actually had pretty sound doctrine.”

I am not saying they had it all right.  Let me emphasize the word “pretty'” in the above quote.  Sure they had some things wrong.  But I think they probably had as many of the details right as many of us do.

Jesus said this about their teaching:
“Matthew 23:1-3 RSV
(1) Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,
(2) “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;
(3) so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.”

In summary:

I am not saying about sound doctrine “Don’t go there, it’s dangerous”  What I am saying is, “Don’t settle for that, there is more! – don’t stop there.”

You can have the teaching right, and the life wrong.  In my opinion that is worse than having the teaching wrong.  Because the wrong life inoculates others from the truth.  This makes them twice the sons of hell.

I am not advocating sloppy study or incorrect teaching.  I am advocating getting more than just the teaching right.  The demons believe in God, and probably have a clearer understanding of correct theology than most seminary graduates from XYZ Bible School.  But the correct theology didn’t do them any good because they didn’t act upon it.

Just my thoughts.  I welcome yours.

Craig

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Responses

  1. First things first: Thanks for clarifying things, Craig. I’m sorry for making such an abrupt entrance to your blog when you kindly entered my blog with encouraging words :\

    Second things second: I would definitely go to XYZ Bible School, on the basis of its name alone 🙂

    I have to confess, I just now watched the video on your 1st post. I can see what Paul Washer is saying, I think the way he words it, however, is what kind rubs me the wrong way.

    Wouldn’t it be more effective to just say:
    The purpose of learning doctrine is love from a pure heart, a sincere faith, and a good conscience – for the sake of proclaiming Christ?

    Or:
    If all Christianity is to you is an intellectual game and a means to an end, check yourself to see whether or not you are in the faith?

    I dunno :\

    What I still struggle with is the idea that the bible teaches a head knowledge/heart knowledge dichotomy (which is what it seems like Paul Washer is talking about, indirectly); I just don’t see it in Scripture. Paul says that if the Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. Can the lost parrot back what they’ve heard of the Gospel and show a working understanding of the propositions of the Gospel? Sure. But do they “understand” the Gospel as you and I do? Not at all. They subject the Gospel to their own worldview, they critique God’s love on the basis of their own understanding of what love should look like. So, they greatly misunderstand the Gospel and don’t, because they can’t, grasp it intellectually. They can grasp a subtly distorted copy, but not the real thing.

    I believe that Paul’s use of “understand” is unlike our usage, in that it shows that the head and the heart are inextricably woven together. Even the disciples, although they could probably retell the parables of our Lord with precision, didn’t understand them intellectually….or the miracles, or much of His private sayings…

    Sorry to veer away from the post’s topic.

    Ultimately, this is where I’m at: I try to remember the Lord’s words to Peter in Matthew 16:17.

    ““Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

    -h.

  2. Hiram,
    Welcome to my blog. I appreciate what you are saying and have not at all felt you were too harsh. I agree that we have a misconception of a head/heart dichotomy when before God this is not so. (James says that out of the same mouth cannot come blessing and cursing, etc.)
    I am having to run out the door right now, so sorry such a short reply. Will look again later and give what you said thought through the day.
    I hope your day is profitable for the Kingdom as well.
    Craig

  3. Craig,

    There is certainly a grave danger and tendency in us all to love “knowing about Christ” rather than “knowing” (experiential) Christ.
    Any knowledge that we obtain that does not stir us and move us to a greater love and zeal for our Lord and His work in this world is simply a profitless addition to our collection of abstract knowledge and a platform for pride.
    True knowledge, like true faith, animates. It produces godliness in our attitudes and fires our “want-to’s” in the direction of conformity to the Son.
    “Thy word is truth” points to, and reveals to us, the personification of truth, the Lord Jesus Christ.
    So, the acid test concerning all that God has given us is, how has it “moved us”?

    • “True knowledge, like true faith, animates. It produces godliness in our attitudes and fires our “want-to’s” in the direction of conformity to the Son.
      “Thy word is truth” points to, and reveals to us, the personification of truth, the Lord Jesus Christ.
      So, the acid test concerning all that God has given us is, how has it “moved us”?”

      Amen Brother!

      This is part of what I realized about the second “good son” in the story of the Merciful Father. Imagine living with the grieving father the whole time, but not “moved” by His sorrow for the lost son!

      Craig

  4. Hiram,
    You said:

    “Wouldn’t it be more effective to just say:
    The purpose of learning doctrine is love from a pure heart, a sincere faith, and a good conscience – for the sake of proclaiming Christ?

    Or:
    If all Christianity is to you is an intellectual game and a means to an end, check yourself to see whether or not you are in the faith?”

    You are probably right.

    I think we are on the same side here, and deeply cherish the same truth, but we are deeply disturbed by opposite extremes on either side of this truth.

    To me, the thing that has been horrifying lately is the realization that according to Romans 1:18 God’s wrath is against those who hold the truth, but do so in unrighteousness. You see, while we know, we do not honor Him, and are not thankful to Him. (vs. 21)

    It is so easy to look downstream of that error to those who do not know because their foolish heart/mind has been darkened and they have been given over to all kinds of disgusting things, but according to Romans 1, I am in more danger than they if I do not honor Him and am not thankful. I agree with you, if I can do this, I should seriously examine whether I am in the faith.

    I have been blessed to grow up with a veritable feast of sound doctrine. It is easy for me to be lifted up with pride because I know what is right, and ignore the fact that to whom much is given much is required.

    I realize that my experience is not the norm. There is a lot of ignorance out there about sound doctrine. But I must intentionally resist the effort to stick my nose in the air at the gross error out there and think I am somehow safe because of what I know. No, knowledge of the truth is either a blessing or a curse. If I know, I must act.

    I expressed it to Heather like this the other day. “For so much of my life I studied theology as though God wasn’t in the room! Theological study without prayer is to my relationship with God what pornography would be to our marriage. Simply self gratification at the expense of the relationship.”

    Not an endorsement of fuzzy theology, just a warning against the shortcut of bypassing the feast of a true relationship with the risen Lord for the junk food of cerebral stimulation.

    Craig

  5. Thanks very much, Craig, for your posts on this topic. In the Bible, sound doctrine is about how we live. See 1 Timothy 1:10 and Titus 2:1-10. Those who hang on to and propagate false gospels are condemned; so are those who live in ungodly ways.

  6. […] The discussion continued here, and here. […]


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