It seems like the study of doctrine in Christian circles is pretty polarizing. There are those churches who major on doctrinal issues, using classic Christian terminology and stressing the importance of knowing these key issues to faith; issues like justification, sanctification, predestination, foreknowledge - you know the drill.Hat Tip: Vitamin Z
Then there are those churches who would argue that kind of study does little to further real life change in the people. The people need something practical, something that’s going to help them hang onto their marriage, get through the recession, and parent their children. So they lean toward this “application oriented” strategy of teaching and preaching.
I think there’s a balance in the middle to be found, where one feeds the other and vice versa, but I also see how a group of people might find the study of doctrine antiquated, boring, and useless. And it’s because of the classic abuse of doctrine.
We have the tendency to use doctrine as nothing more than an arguing tool. We use it to be “right” in conversations, as a mark of spiritual superiority, or as a means of furthering our own arrogance which is already considerable enough.
In short, the fact that doctrine is falling out of favor in a lot of circles is because in a lot of circles doctrine has been abused.
It’s not supposed to be like that. Paul reminded Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5 that “the goal of our instruction is love…”
Love. That’s the end of doctrine. Anything else is abusive.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Love Corrects the Abuse of Doctrine
Found a new blog this week by a guy named Michael Kelly called Forward Progress and liked this post on The Abuse of Doctrine (and I agree with it).