Doctrines? Plural? Yes–in this age your choices are so diverse it is almost overwhelming. You have sound doctrine, and a myriad of winds and waves of other (i.e. false) doctrines.
If you abide in Christ the choice is clear: you love His Word, you grow in grace and knowledge, you hold everything up against Scripture, and you leave a fellowship that does not. You are committed to the local church and submit to its authority rather than believing you do not need authority. But again, because you are steeped in the WORD you will not submit to a local church if the pastors and elders are teaching contrary, or acting contrary, to the WORD.
Because you are committed to the local church you are not searching for a smorgasbord Christianity, you are not wooed by mega conferences and Christian celebrities and the wind and waves of subtle false doctrines. You are not church hopping to fit your current mood–you submit your moods to Christ. If a Christian celebrity walks away from the church believing he knows better and has found a new way, you turn to the WORD, rather than following your hero.
You read books that will encourage you in the faith, but you do not delight in books that do not stick to the WORD. You do not allow a little leaven, you throw it out. (Throw it out? But I paid money for that book! Yes, you would rather lose a few bucks than encourage others to be carried away by various false doctrines). When Jesus says something is not even fit for the dung heap, you believe Him, you are with Him, you do not amend His teaching.
Muse upon this passage with me, from Ephesians 4:12-15:
…to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ…
Go back and read that again, pausing to think about: building up of the Body, until we all attain the unity of faith, no longer tossed about by the waves and winds of unsound doctrine.
Waves of Unscriptural Teaching
Have you ever swam in the ocean? I grew up vacationing along the Atlantic Ocean. On a normal day, sunny, slight breeze, swimming with my dad just beyond where the waves break…floating on our backs, swimming, looking for porpoises… Take a glance and see you are just a bit away from where you entered; you still see the beach house. An hour later you glance again and this time, you cannot see the beach house. You get out, and walk, and walk, and walk. And my how thirsty you are become!
It is like this as you listen to the beautiful music flowing out of various “christian” movements. One song and you have not yet lost sight of the landmark, you still see the Word and delight in Christ. “An hour later” you glance back and realize you are in the New Age Movement, but it is so enjoyable that you don’t mind. You believe you are true to Christ, but where are you, really?
The Gentle Deceptive Breezes
Consider the dandelions, and imagine yourself blowing on the seed head. The seeds float into the breeze, separately, in many directions. Where will they land? Where will the wind carry them? Miles away for some. Every year my yard fills up with maple seeds from a tree very far up the street. Every year my garden has something in it that I did not plant, seeds carried here by the wind.
Where will the wind of strange doctrine take you? Sound doctrine keeps you rooted and grounded in Christ, strange doctrine though? Miles away at times, in someone else’s yard. We are carried away slowly and gently, drifting on soft breezes, enjoying the beauty of the passing yards thinking there is truth and beauty everywhere.
The Call, and our prayer
Let us no longer be childish, carried about by teachers of various doctrines that are not Scriptural. Let us be rooted and grounded in sound doctrine, a word given to us by the Holy Spirit (see here!), let us be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Ephesians 4:23) and “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:24).
photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash