Guest Author - Dountonia S. Slack
How much false doctrine is enough before Christians take a stand for God’s truth? How many of us ask questions for clarification when we hear or read misquoted/misapplied Scriptures? And, are we really as eager to learn God’s ways as we proclaim to be? It is imperative that we examine the Word of God everyday to see if what we are being taught in church, on the radio, or this website is true according to Biblical standards, principles, and practices (Acts 17:11). Furthermore, if a conflict exists between what is being taught and the Bible, then a decision must be made to determine which side of the line one stands even if it means standing alone.
I am tired of hearing that doctrine does not matter. Doctrine (Greek: didaskalia) matters. It is "the act of teaching" (1 Timothy 4:13, 16; 5:17; 2 Timothy 3:10, 16) or that "which is taught" (Matthew 15:9; 2 Timothy 4:3). If we take away or add to the teachings of the Bible, we are left with false teachings. Doctrine is the standard by which all beliefs, actions, and behavior are to be judged. One pastor put it this way, “I can deal with a person who has bad behavior and sound doctrine, because the doctrine will eventually correct the bad behavior. But, a person with bad doctrine – his bad behavior will never be corrected through the false teachings he submits to.”
The inspired, inerrant, sufficient, powerful, living Word of God is the teaching the Christian must submit to. However, God’s message can be drastically changed with just a little falsehood. We should be so tuned-in to God’s truth that any non-sense mixed-in to the sermon/lesson/broadcast/conversation will raise eyebrows, stir our spirits, cause us to search the Scriptures, and humbly pray for wisdom and understanding. Then, after prayer, study of the Word, godly counsel, and examination of our motives, we have the responsibility, as we are guided and yielded to the Holy Spirit, to correct the wrong teachings with the right ones (2 Timothy 3:16). However, this is not a license to go out and fight for every trivial opportunity of wrong teaching. But, a call to stand for the teachings we cannot afford to compromise on such as the authority of the Bible, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, sin, and salvation to name a few.
Without a doubt, the Bible emphatically declares that there is only one way to God and only one way to heaven which is through Christ Jesus. Attending the “right” church, following/imitating the pastor or Sunday School teacher, and good works are not sufficient to ensure eternal life with our Heavenly Father. We must take upon His yoke and learn from Him (Matthew 11:29) because He knows the Father and chooses to reveal the Father to us. We simply cannot get to God without Jesus (John 14:6). Since Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14), by absorbing ourselves in the Bible with humility and a heart for God, we learn more of who Jesus is and what God requires of us.
Finally, it is important to note that there is a distinct difference between making an honest mistake when handling Scripture and purposefully misleading/bullying people with the Word of God under the guise of leadership. We simply cannot afford to get caught-up in dynamic performances and aesthetic packaging and forget to carefully inspect the content of the message for Truth. If there is just a smidgen of untruth, it should be rejected because we can quickly get comfortable with compromising the precepts of God in our lives to the point that the smidgen becomes a mountainous lump of false doctrine (1 Corinthians 5:6). Times are too dangerous to subject our spirits, children, and unbelievers to anything other than the pure message of God. Therefore, we must draw the line and stand on the side of Truth.