Some falsely believe that Jesus did not emphasise a dogma or doctrine but the need to ‘just love people’. Oblivious to their blinded philosophy thus merely stating that, “no doctrine but Jesus” is in fact a doctrine in itself. Sure it sounds good and justifies the ashamed worker unable to rightly divide the Scriptures. Jesus didn’t have to teach doctrines because for one thing, he didn’t have to. The people he addressed pretty much already knew the traditions of Israel, its history, its laws, its prophets, its Psalms etc..
”Doctrine” and eventually “dogma” arose a century or two later, when Christianity had to define itself over against other religious or spiritual movements, such as Gnosticism (a kind of “New-Age” movement of that time), which some people might mistake for Christianity, but which Christians regarded as downright poisonous in what it taught and believed.
Thus “doctrine” became a kind of necessary unifying force in the Church; for if Christians were going to be prepared to die for their faith, they certainly had to know the basic principles of what they believed and what they didn’t believe. For if we don’t know what we believe and why we believe it, how can we avoid being blown about by “every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14) and ending up in a worse place than where we started?
The Bible is very clear that the church should hold certain doctrinal truths, “a common faith” noted in (Titus 1:4; 2 Peter 1:1), “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). In order to preserve the “unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13), the apostles urged believers to uphold sound teaching (1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:13) and counteract false teaching and false teachers (1 Timothy 1:3; 4:1,6; Titus 1:9-11).
Sound doctrine is essential for exposing the false teachings of certain individuals (1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:17; 4:19; cf. Philippians 4:2, 3). Even John, the apostle of love, and Jude, possibly the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, also found it necessary to call attention to those who were departing from the teachings of the apostles (3 John 9, 10; Jude). The Christians in Berea were commended for subjecting the teachings of the apostle Paul to the scrutiny of Scripture (Acts 17:11).
The word “Gospel” means Good News, and the word “doctrine” means teaching. The Gospel is the whole and the doctrines are an explanation of what the Gospel is about. In other words, the more we understand about the doctrines, the more meaningful the Gospel becomes to us!
Therefore, those who truly understand the Gospel will not downplay doctrines, to do so is to minimise how much they will know about the Gospel. Could it be that those who are arguing for the “Gospel” at the expense of “doctrines” are simply trying to find a way to justify their opposition to some of our distinctive beliefs or avoiding to disclose their ignorance.
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