by Johnny O. Trail
A sermon provided from an online church source seeks to expand the role of women in the worship assembly. It is incredible to consider the lengths that some are willing to go to legitimize unscriptural practices. The error contained in this series regarding the role of women in worship is legion in nature and space would not allow an adequate refutation of doctrines espoused by the one proclaiming the message. One or two comments deserve some attention.
In arguing for expanding the role of women, the speaker says, “Jesus saves and not our doctrine.” In another place, the same speaker says that we are “safe in Jesus not in law keeping.” The implication of these statements seems clear—doctrine regarding practice and observance of worship is not important. Students of God’s word beg to differ.
The word doctrine is defined as “a body of ideas, particularly in religion, taught to people as truthful or correct.” A simple one word definition might be “teaching.” The word of God has much to say about the importance of doctrine.
God expects His people to proclaim sound doctrine. In Titus 2.1 Paul says, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” The same Paul says in I Timothy 6.3-4a “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 …”
Paul rebukes those who would teach false doctrine and says that they lack understanding. The inspired writers of God’s Holy Word are never soft on false doctrine, and God’s people should not tolerate it either.
God expects elders to practice and teach sound doctrine. It is ironic to consider that the one delivering the aforementioned address is an elder in his church! One who would serve as an elder is given instruction regarding doctrine. Titus 1.9 says, “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.”
As people who should be aspiring to be servants in the church we need to learn what sound doctrine is so that we might refute false teachers.
God expects sound doctrine to be taught so that lost people might be saved. Paul makes it clear that the brethren at Rome were cleansed from sin and constrained to righteousness by sound doctrine. Romans 6. 17-18 says, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”
The word “teaching” in the ESV is rendered “doctrine” in the KJV. It was through the teaching of the gospel (indoctrination) that these brethren were saved from sin. Sound doctrine (teaching) is important for the salvation of lost souls. Sound doctrine places people into Christ (Romans 6.4) and gives them the hope of eternal life.
God expects faithful Christians to defend sound doctrine and stand opposed to those who teach error. II John 9-11 has much to say about doctrine.
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (KJV).
Whether this warning is about false doctrines relating to the deity of Christ (Gnostic teachings) or the body of scriptures purchased with His blood, the warning is still valid. If one argues that the aforementioned passages do not apply to doctrine in general, Paul’s admonition in Romans 16.17 solves the quandary. “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught.”
One who teaches false doctrine places an obstacle in the way of anyone who might render obedience and service to God. False teachers imperil the souls of their disciples.
God expects Christians to be strong in sound doctrine to avoid being carried away by false teachers. Ephesians 4.14 says, “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
To avoid becoming apostate, one must know God’s word. His word helps Christians maintain stability in an ever changing doctrinal morass. Mature Christians will study and seek to understand the teaching of scripture on any given topic to determine God’s will.
Jesus believed that doctrine (or teaching) was important for saving the souls of lost men. Matthew 28.19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you …”
Many individuals would still be lost if some person had not shared with them teachings (doctrines) about Christ. Without doctrine, one cannot hope to find out anything about Jesus.
If doctrine is not important and the only consideration is Jesus, what about false doctrines regarding His deity? Would this not be acceptable given the logic of “Jesus saves not our doctrine”? Surely, one can see the folly of claiming that doctrine does not matter.
God’s people should practice and apply sound or healthy doctrine. Healthy is defined as “in good physical or mental condition.” Doctrine should be in keeping with the will and desires of God as revealed in scripture. Any doctrine that contradicts the Bible’s teachings, whether it is about the role of women in the worship assembly or any other issue, should be rejected.