Is Biblical Doctrine Really that Important? Part 1

Many emphasise practice over doctrine. I saw this clearly a little while ago when I meet with some other pastors. We were all asked to share various aspects about ourselves and our ministries. I was shocked when I heard some of these men say, “at our church, we just try different ideas until they work.” I did not want to be controversial, but I said that I believe in the importance of expository preaching, and I went on to say that our church ministries should flow from this. My point was, lets not try what works, instead we need to be deliberate in what we do. Our ministry must be driven by biblical truth.

In recent times, I have been encountering numerous people who are emphasising application over doctrine. I believe that such thinking is illogical, because our practice and application come as a result of biblical doctrine, not the other way around. Priorities are given to results and personal experiences, and adhering to biblical doctrine is considered an old way of thinking. This raises an important question, is biblical doctrine really that important? If it is, what is its place in church life?

In 2 Tim. 2:19, the apostle Paul said, “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.’” In this context, I take the “foundation of God” to refer to the church (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15). Notice the two seals placed on this sure foundation, “The Lord knows those who are His” and “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” These two seals are biblical doctrines. Therefore, they drive what we do as Christians. If our practice is not in harmony with the true foundation, there are definite question marks regarding the validity of our foundation.

Also, consider the book of Romans for example. Paul spends 11 chapters discussing biblical doctrine, and then in chapters 12-16 he discusses practice. This is logical, truth must inform and determine our response. If we are going to be faithful and precise in our ministry, we need to begin with clearly defined truth, then allow that to determine our practice and application.

So then, is biblical doctrine really that important? My answer is yes! I have three noteworthy reasons why it is, (1) God has spoken, (2) right doctrine leads to right practice, and (3) right doctrine combats error.

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