As a Christian, I have often wondered whether church doctrine and Bible doctrine were one in the same. Is church doctrine Bible doctrine, or is it the doctrine of religion? The other day a young man shared with me some rather personal and private information about his life. I had never met this young man before. For him to share this much of his life with a total stranger told me that he had a serious problem and he was looking for the answer. After listening to this young man describe his complicated situation, I knew right away that no one could help him but Jesus. I told him not to lose hope because Jesus could help him if he would only ask. He rudely replied, “I don’t believe in your white Jesus. Your church doctrine has you confused.” He went on to say how he thought Jesus was just a fabricated story, made up by the white man to keep black people in slavery. I started sharing the gospel with him, but he turned a deaf ear to everything I said.
I wanted to help this young man, but I couldn’t reach him. It was evident in his angry tone that he was hurting. I will never forget the look on his face when he told me about Jesus. It’s as if he blamed Jesus for his misery. I often think of this young man. That day I began to re-evaluate my own life as a Christian.
Church Doctrine Syndrome
People want to know more about Christ and Christianity and they look to us Christians for answers. But instead of giving them answers about the God of the Bible, we give them church doctrine, which is a doctrine other than gospel doctrine.
Church doctrine syndrome is when your world revolves around the doctrine of your particular denomination. But is your church doctrine aligned with the gospel of the New Covenant? Those who have limited Bible knowledge are trying to understand God with their carnal (intellectual) minds. In doing my own self-evaluation of a Christian, it makes me wonder what kind of picture might I be painting for the rest of the world. Am I representing the God whom I serve or the religious doctrine that I adhere to?
Other Doctrines Bring Confusion
To the unbeliever, Christians appear confused. It is because Christians worship the same God in so many different ways. How could there possibly be so many denominations of the same faith? Before the Protestant Reformation, Christianity was mostly divided into two denominations: Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox. As Biblical truths began to be revealed, different denominations of Christianity were born. Each denomination adhered to its own doctrinal beliefs that were based on their spiritual leader. For example, those who followed Martin Luther gave birth to the Lutheran denomination. Followers of John Wesley gave birth to Methodists; those who followed John Calvin gave birth to Calvinists, and so on.
The Gospel is Bible Doctrine
Believe it or not, church doctrine and Bible doctrine are not the same. Church doctrine teaches the ideals of a particular denomination’s founder. Bible doctrine teaches the Gospel of Christ. Bible doctrine says that the gospel of Christ leads us to salvation (Romans 1:16). Salvation is a big word. The Greek word for salvation is soteria (so-tay-ree’-ah). It means to make whole; to deliver completely, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Soteria encapsulates every aspect of our deliverance, including health, wealth, peace, joy, and freedom from oppression. Because of the gospel, we understand that the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. That is why God tells us to live by our faith (Romans 1:17).
The Bible calls the church the mystery that was kept secret since the world began (Romans 16:5). The mystery of the church was revealed to the apostles while being hidden from the prophets who lived under the Old Covenant. The gospel is the New Covenant doctrine to the church which is made up of Jew and Gentile believers in Christ.
Preach the Bible
We are preaching church doctrine when we should be preaching the Gospel of Christ only. For example, when people inquire about healing, many believers tell them what Pastor “so-and-so,” said in his book, “The Seven Steps to Healing.” Whenever we experience financial difficulties, we turn to Pastor “so-and-so’s” teaching on “Five Ways to Increase Your Finances.” We have been hoodwinked by doctrine. Thus, we have turned from the truth to follow the philosophies of men.
If you’re going to talk about God, don’t quote what someone else says. Go to the word of God and search it out for yourself. God does not want us to be ignorant. After the resurrection, while on the road to Emmaus, Jesus told His disciples that they were slow to believe. Some of today’s believers are still slow to believe the truth.
Pilate asked Jesus, “Are You a king?” Jesus answered “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate responded, “What is truth” (John 18:37-38)? Truth is Jesus Christ. If you are a seeker of truth, you will discover Jesus. Bible doctrine teaches that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:16). When you know the truth, the truth will make you free (John 8:32).