I worked with a young man half my age that took pride in the fact that he believed in no doctrine. He belonged to a non-denominational church, selecting it because members were not required to hold to specific doctrines as denominations are. It was not necessary to believe in Jesus as Christ to be a member of that church. He thought doctrine was divisive, that it caused arguments.
I believe he was very much in error. Here are my reasons why.
Strong’s defines the Hebrew word ‘leqach’ as “something received, that is (mentally) instruction (whether on the part of the teacher or hearer); also (in an active and sinister sense) inveiglement – doctrine, learning, fair speech.” The word is used in Deuteronomy 32:2. Zophar used that same word against Job in 11:4. Yet we know that Job’s doctrine, his belief in God, was pure.
Without a set of theological beliefs, how can anyone tell another the basis of their faith? How would they come to understanding, as laid out in Isaiah 29:24?
Christ had a set of beliefs that astounded. Matthew 22:33 and Mark 1:22, 27, the Greek ‘didache’, “instruction, the act or the matter,” of Jesus’ doctrine astonished those that heard Him.
Thus, doctrine is what is theologically or philosophically believed. The body of teachings that make up one’s doctrine is very important.
Look at the organizations to which you belong. Membership indicates agreement with their body of teaching. Members of political parties display the tenets, the platforms, and the beliefs of their party. (As an aside: I do hope that every reader is familiar with their party’s platforms – all of them. I do know of instances that when those platforms were read, changes have been made.) The same exists for our social organizations, sororities, fraternities, employers and most specifically, spouses. Disagreement with their basic principles ends up in separation.
Although 33 per cent of the world’s population identify as Christian, some of those (as I wrote in Nothing) do not hold the Bible as the basis of their doctrine. One such statement, “The way we live is more important than what we believe,” does not include in the equation that the way we live is bounded by what we believe. If I don’t believe that s specified company will be in business next month, I will not go to work for them. If I don’t believe that bank will care for my money, I will not use their services. If I do not believe that house is well built, I will not buy it. Our beliefs determine our actions.
Why, then, take pride in, take a stand that doctrine should be thrown out? Of course, I do not understand the splintering of Christ’s church, the divisions over the very doctrine He spoke so openly. I believe the “how” and “why” can be found in principalities and powers described in Ephesians 6:12.
I am not advocating questioning your doctrinal beliefs, but I am advocating knowing their base, their foundation. Follow Paul’s instructions to Timothy:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)
Know your doctrine – your body of beliefs – and know why you believe them.