Huge question, that unfortunately gets very little thought these days by many. Doctrine after all is just another word for”teaching.” In the biblical sense, it is what the Scripture teaches us about our faith and how we should apply our faith to everyday life. It helps to form our worldview. Doctrine is what we have been taught and or what we teach, in the end doctrine is what we believe. Take the doctrine of hell… most of that doctrine comes from Jesus Himself, written out in the New Testament. Take Matthew 7: 13-14; here Jesus teaches us that many enter through the wide gate and few find the narrow gate. Jesus warns at the beginning of this passage “Enter by the narrow gate.” Our Lord’s wish is that we do not enter though the wide gate (as in the gates of hell). Mark 9:42-48; there is no question as to the what our Lord is describing here. The sense of urgency in this passage is unmistakable…Hell is certainly a real place from the teachings of Scripture. So why do so many professing Christians think hell is not a real place? Answer: Their doctrine is not sound…what they have been taught is not sound and ultimately what they believe is not sound. These folks have allowed worldly pressures of acceptance, sincerity, relativism and such to nudge out sound biblical doctrine that is 2000+ years old. Sound Biblical doctrine stands the test of Scripture as well as Church history.
How about all the Scripture that describes Biblical doctrine itself? What are we to make of 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 1 Timothy 6:3-4 should put an end to the question why is doctrine so important. “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,”
What about all the nay-sayers that claim that doctrine is not important…I’ve actually had folks tell me that “all you need is Jesus and doctrine isn’t that important.” When I thank them for explaining their doctrine to me, they look so confused and then the light bulb goes off in their minds and they smile. Point is, everyone has doctrine and no matter how much you might think doctrine doesn’t matter…your thinking is transformed by your doctrine. Without doubt the Bible is very clear on the importance of doctrine in Titus 1:9 “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
All the Scripture quoted in this article has an underlining theme that is not written out per say, but none the less is still there. Words such as Scripture, the Word, teaching and doctrine all point to the Bible itself. Where do we get our doctrine from? The Bible. Where does the material come from that is used during sermons, Sunday school classes and Bible studies? The Bible. Everything points to the revealed Truth from God as written in the Bible. Maybe that’s the issue with the importance of doctrine…when doctrine doesn’t matter the Bible doesn’t matter. Everyone would have to agree you can’t have one without the other. You see…this is the rub. Apart from the Bible, there is no Biblical doctrine. In the end the only Truth we can ever know is the Bible, God’s revealed Word.
Ultimately, the Bible teaches us that our doctrine, our belief will determine whether we see heaven or hell…there is just no getting around it. If our doctrine and belief is that man was created by some far off extraterrestrial race and there is no god, well its hell for us. On the other hand, if we teach and believe in the doctrine of repentence and the doctrine of Grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ, we will have eternal life. God does hold us accountable to His Word. What we believe…and how we treat His revealed Truth. When it comes to the folks that say “doctrine is not important” John MacArthur said it pretty well. “I have in my library a book by the spiritual father of a quasi-Christian cult. It argues that structured doctrine and systematized theology are contrary to the spirit of Jesus’ ministry. The idea that Christ is anti-doctrine is a foundational belief of that cult. But no idea is further from the truth. The word doctrine simply means “teaching.” And it’s ludicrous to say that Christ is anti-teaching. The central imperative of His Great Commission is the command to teach (Matthew 28:18-20).”
until He come,