|Westminster Abbey in London|
When we parted company, I was saddened by her position which I have encountered many times over the years. People so easily say, "It doesn't matter what you believe so long as you believe in Jesus." But the question that comes to my mind is what DO you believe about Jesus? This is what doctrine teaches us, and understanding the foundations of our faith are critical to growth in Christ. It DOES matter what you believe.
|The Church of the Holy Ghost in Heidelberg, Germany|
Within the pages of the Bible, we have the fullness of God's counsel. The words of truth form the doctrine of our faith which is critical knowledge for the Christian. To say, "It doesn't matter what people believe as long as they believe in Jesus" is naive at best and at worst, makes us a target for Satan. According to another letter which Paul wrote to Timothy, we read: "Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth" ( 2 Timothy 2:15). In the same letter Paul goes on to write this about the Bible and hence the doctrine found in the Bible: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for gaining in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16).
Paul makes it clear that we are to study the Word of God and handle it carefully, but we also need to recognize that it is powerful in our lives. While studying the Bible on our own is important, we also must gather together in corporate worship which will help us stay the course and keep on the right track.
|The pulpit in the Church of the Holy Ghost|
Of course, sound preaching and teaching in our fellowships is key. This is where our faith can clearly be expounded. We may also wish to return to some of the practices of early believers who used a two year period of discipling new believers before they were allowed to join the church. When they came into fellowship, these Christians understood and knew what they believed. Church membership was more important to them and they looked forward to their time of fellowship with others. Finally, we, as believers, need to take time to be students of God's Word absorbing the doctrines of Christ.
There is no greater reward than the study of our faith (doctrines). When we do this in the context of fellowship, we will come to understand more quickly the grace of our Lord that saved us. Doctrine (our belief system) does matter and so does church fellowship. May we be found faithful in both. Selah!
Share your thoughts here. I welcome your comments.