I have heard this time and time again: Doctrine divides. And yes, that statement is true, Bible doctrine does divide. Even among Christians, there can be a division that is caused by the Bible doctrine we believe. The question then would be: Why take a stand?
In a previous article, I talked about the Baptist faith and the doctrines that led to the death of millions of Anabaptist Christians. While that was the past, many people today believe that such stands should be avoided and that we should put our doctrinal stand aside. Basically, we are commended to drop doctrine in order to get along.
While I am for peace and unity, I also understand that the Bible is a book that divides. From the very beginning, we find natural division made by God:
- Dark from light
- Water from land
- Male and females
This is a simple thought, but there is natural division in life. If that is the case, then there is a natural division from what people believe about the Bible. Even among Christians? Absolutely.
I understand that if a person has truly been born again, then they are part of the family of God. They are washed in His Blood. They are justified from the final penalty of sin. While this is true, there can still be people in whom their doctrine is incorrect.
When it comes to pure Bible doctrine among churches, there are grounds for separation in the following:
When the Gospel is perverted
The purity of the Gospel message is essential to Christianity. Without a pure Gospel, there is no Salvation. The message of the Gospel was the first message heard from the mouth of Jesus Christ:
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
This message included repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ, which resulted in the washing away of sins. The very nature of the Gospel takes a divisive position. For in coming to Christ, all other religious works and beliefs are left behind. In following Christ, sin becomes something we hate, rather than what we loved.
This Gospel gives new life in Christ, making the life prior to Christ a thing of the past. This new life is the result of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, God the Son. Either we accept or reject it. Nonetheless, it causes a natural division from our past life as we walk in newness of life.
When this Gospel is perverted, the souls of the hearer literally hangs in the balance. For if they believe a lie, then they are NOT saved no matter how sincere they maybe.
Paul was very clear on keeping the Gospel message pure:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
When the local church is contaminated
If a church loses the purity of the Gospel, other doctrines are normally introduced. For instance, if a church believes one can lose their salvation, then they normally require sign gifts as proof of salvation. That being said, this church now bases their salvation on a sinners works, and not the finished work of Christ.
Other church doctrines that can be contaminated are doctrines like baptism, communion, creation, man’s freewill, and so on. These doctrines are what keep a church pure. When the Gospel is perverted, doctrine begins to change.
This is why Paul, who considered himself a wise master builder in regard to the local church, admonished people to separate over Bible doctrine:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
1 Timothy 1:18-20
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
2 Timothy 2:15-19
Again and again, we see Paul admonishing to hold to the truth, while rejecting lies and the teachers of lies. Again, these lies revolve around the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When the Gospel is perverted, the rest of a church will eventually become contaminated. Therefore, as Paul writes local churches, he continually warns against false teachers.
On a side note, the only reason we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ is because we have the Word of God. I would take this thought a step further and proclaim that churches using corrupt Bibles will eventually be led to a corrupt Gospel. Therefore, our church separates from churches that are not only contaminated in Bible doctrine, but in the Bible itself. (I plan on writing a post about the doctrine of the inspiration & preservation of the Bible in a future post.)
So, the with all the previous thoughts, you must ask yourself, “Am I following God, even in Bible doctrine?” If not, then I suggest that you find a local church that is Independent Baptist and uses the King James Bible.
As far as how we treat people that are different, we must take a stand, but that doesn’t mean we have to be mean about it. Jesus Christ was the most confrontational person who ever lived. He presented people with a choice, and if they rejected Him, Hell was the alternative. Yet, He is known for His love.
Therefore, we aught to take our stand, but with a gracious heart. If God wasn’t part of our life, we’d be living the lie most people are living. We need to approach people with that attitude. Stand firm, and help people come to the truth like you have. Be direct when needed, just as Jesus rebuked people. Love people and speak the truth.
Lastly, when taking your stand, you must examine your heart. Why are you taking a stand on pure doctrine? Is it because of your circle of influence? Do you take a stand so others won’t mark you? Do you take a stand just to prove you are right? Do you take a stand just to prove people are wrong? If this is your motivation, then you are full of pride.
The reason we take a stand is keep the Gospel pure so others can be saved. We take our stand for Christ and His Glory. Nothing more, nothing less.
As this blog continues to help people preach, I want doctrine to be correct. Therefore, I am going to start writing articles on Baptist doctrine. Every few posts will be about a specific Baptist doctrine. I also want to interview other preachers in regard to doctrine. If you want to receive updates when articles are written, then please sign up for updates in the form below. You can also share this article on social media by using the social buttons below as well. Thanks!