We’ve all heard them—the well-intentioned, but demonstrably unscriptural statements undermining and de-emphasizing biblical doctrine. It’s almost as if we have to apologize for using the “D” word. Like fingernails scratching a chalk board, clichés such as “doctrine divides” or “doctrine is dead” drive me out of my spiritual skin. I’ll admit it is a pet peeve of mine.
It is all too easy to expose this error among our less conservative brethren who seem to value unity over fidelity. But, consider this—we who proclaim the priority of doctrine are guilty of the same error when we fail to base every aspect of our practice, experience and fellowship on a foundation of biblical truth. We too are guilty of undermining biblical doctrine when we succumb to the pressure to follow a man, a ministry or our own rationalizations rather than submitting all other influences to the authority of God’s Word.
The New Testament often follows an instructive pattern presenting a doctrinal section followed by the practical outworking of that doctrine. The transition is often indicated by words such as therefore or wherefore. Examples would include the entire books of Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians and Hebrews. One of many examples is 1 Thessalonians 4:18, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” I would remind us that “sound doctrine” is both popular and important in Scripture. Others may shy away from the “D” word, but Scripture does not. Typical of many passages, Paul writes in Titus 1:9, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Let us not only make the “D” word a part of our regular vocabulary, but carefully live out every precious facet of God’s inexhaustible truth. After all, it is our authority, foundation and hope.
Written By Dr. Kevin Brosnan, Field Administrator with Baptist World Mission