I have often said, 'It's not about doctrine, it's about Jesus.' In saying this I was only half right. It's all about Jesus and it's all about Jesus who is the Christ of God. It's about what God has done for us in Christ and as a consequence, who we are in Christ. The Bible tells us to immerse ourselves in 'sound doctrine.' Doctrine for doctrine's sake is never sound doctrine. Doctrine that is arrived at through the Jesus lens and correctly teaches about God with an accurate interpretation of the word of God is sound. This is the apostles teaching.
'You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine' Titus 2.1 NIV.
Grace gives us space to get God and His plan for us right. Receiving the Holy Spirit and His anointing is not a reason to dispense with Bible study or casually dismiss theology. The end of praise and worship is not a signal that the Holy Spirit has now departed the building. The Spirit is just as much in the teaching as in the singing. In the new covenant the Spirit of Christ is in everything.
The neglect of doctrine and serious Biblical interpretation can produce people who will believe anything and whose life journey is marked by a series of misguided excursions down lane-ways not of God. The tenor of their life is confusion. They waste their own time and the time and effort of the unfortunates attached to them.
There is little to be gained in asserting that we belong to the Body of Christ, if what we believe is nonsense.
People can cling to their clothes of death because of pride, a smug satisfaction in a denominational identity, ignorance, arrogance and the attempt to preserve some status for themselves arising from 'what I have always believed.' Careers can be made from the marketing of false doctrine and the fake aura of leadership that surrounds the dogmatic upholding of fleshly anointed legalism. Unfortunately what many of us have always believed is a distortion and a lie that leaves us flapping in confusion instead of bearing much fruit. While the father of lies robs and steals, our Father of love gifts us with life and light. Much of this light is found in the Bible, which when read in the Spirit of Jesus equips us with wisdom, spiritual discernment and common sense.
'If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you' James 1.5 NIV.
Without sound Biblical understanding our discernment will be inadequate and we will easily be diverted by religious spirits and those motivated by the flesh. We will incline to the flesh and become fellows travellers of those actuated by the flesh rather than the Spirit. To neglect serious Bible reading is to cut ourselves off from the leading of the Holy Spirit. The book of proverbs extolls wisdom. In the new testament we are told that Father wants us to be led personally by Jesus and by those who are filled with His Spirit and wisdom. Wisdom comes from being attentive to how God has related to man throughout history. This knowledge is found in the Bible.
'All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness' 2 Tim 3.15 NIV.
WISDOM AND REVELATION
Joseph Prince's book, 'The Power of Right Believing' clarifies and exposes the power of the new covenant; of Father's new and living way of giving access to Himself by His Son. We can allow the new covenant to be a meaningless theological concept if we choose. We can ignore it if we want to. We can persuade ourselves that we are living in it when we are not. Or dismiss it as some do as 'a theology.' But it is not a theology. It is God's plan revealed in Christ and not of some private interpretation. It is what God has done for humanity.
'If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing' 1 Tim 6.3,4 NIV.
Yes, we may ignore the new covenant if we choose and continue in an amorphous mass of religion, distributing chicken bones of life instead of life itself. But the consequences are severe. We will have a distorted view of our Father, a diminished view of Jesus and an inadequate view of the cross. We will be in jeopardy of at least partially negating what Christ achieved for us and we will sentence ourselves to laboring for what we have already been given: Union with God and unrestricted access to our Father. One might hope that such confusion effects only individuals but the result of this robbery is much wider in extent.
STRUCTURES OF FALSE REPRESENTATION
Jeff Turner in Saints in the Arms of a Happy God writes,
'Eventually whole structures arise that devote themselves to brewing and distributing these doctrinal distillations to eager-to-drink disciples. Whole generations emerge from the wombs of these structures, fully possessed by and devoted to the false representations of God learned within their walls. All of us have been influenced by such ideas in one way or another, but trick ourselves into thinking that we just happen to be the ones possessing a pristine and perfect knowledge of God’s character, and then become quite enamored with our “knowledge and “revelatory insight. Like Abraham, however, many of us also eventually find ourselves in that moment where, as George MacDonald said, we stand horrified at the things we believed to be true of God. We find the doctrines we once thought so angelic to be utterly demonic, and the beliefs we thought so pure to be rotten to the core.'