The major challenge confronting the body of Christ today is the subject of doctrines, we have suffered greatly from diverse kinds of doctrines that has brought the spirit of separatism, criticism and “our church is the best mentality” and because our generation has not taken out time to search for themselves what the bible says about doctrines, these doctrines thrives on believers ignorance. There have been great doctrines over the years passed on to our fathers from their denominations that they also passed on to us and they are greatly hoping that we pass the same to our children. All these years no one has bothered to find out how scripturally authentic these doctrines are it has become a tradition that must be passed on and not be questioned.
The fact that a doctrine has been in existence for donkey years doesn’t make it true, it is not the number of years it has been that authenticates a doctrine or belief , it is the word of God authenticating it that makes us believe it. The writings of this book is not aimed at attacking any personality, church or denomination, it is just taking the mirror of the word to examine what we have believed, so one should take any word personal or derogatory. The issue of doctrine is always a very delicate subject to treat because most people are emotionally attached to it and have believed it for many years, so the fear of “how can I adjust my belief” or “what difference does it make” and some are just like “ all these young generations, what do they know “. One bitter truth is this and we need to face it, God has called us to unity and no denomination has the sole right to the gospel, it is for every believer and we truly need to understand it is One Lord, One faith and One baptism, it is One Christ , One Holy Ghost and One Heaven. Praise God!
We are not propelling a new generational truth, it is just a call to get back to the word, and examine what we believe, the power of most doctrines is covering of the truth and avoiding any challenge to the decision, and “when ignorance becomes an institution, truth becomes rebellion”, so be open in your heart and receive the word of the Lord. God bless You.
THE POWER OF DOCTRINE
Doctrine has proven to be one of the most difficult subject to address in the Christian faith, because of the power it has over its subjects. It has been critically observed that even when the people receive the truth they are still bound to their doctrines, some are just so reluctant to adjust, while most of them consider what their fellow brethren will say. Most times it takes the bold-hearted to walk in the light of the truth not minding any criticism or opposition from the church or denomination.
It is more like the youths are much more open to change than the adults and the aged, because the youths are more dynamic and open in their hearts. There is actually nothing to fear, absolutely nothing to be afraid of, you will surely be criticized and persecuted even Jesus promised us that (Matt. 5:11-12), so it shouldn’t be a problem to a believer, remember it is God’s desire that his children walk in truth (2nd Jn. 1:4). When a believer is in a denomination with a wrong doctrine, it sorts of bound them and keep them religious but not spiritual. They celebrate how much they have been in a denomination, how many years they have served as women leader or man leader and celebrate positions in church without any drastic or radical change in their lives. Doctrines promotes religious spirit that makes people comfortable and ease at Zion, just waiting for heaven without any relevant impact on the earth. It gives people this hypocritical Spirit, and some a spirit of no other church can go to heaven except our church, please where is that in the bible ?.
Remember we are not naming any church here so if you belong to such a denomination this is just a spiritual education, just a spiritual enlightenment and not a condemnation in any way. Just think about it yourself, if only your church is going to heaven and I too say only my church is going to heaven and this other group say only my church is going to heaven then who will now go to heaven?.
Let us just give it a thought, if I say my doctrine is the best and you say same thing and the other group says their doctrine is the best then what is the bible for, is it to distribute doctrines to people, please let us wake up from our slumber, Christ is coming soon and he is coming for a church without stain, wrinkle nor any kind of blemish (Eph. 5:27).
The battle of the church now is no more with the devil but a doctrinal battle among ourselves, we now have denominational Jesuses , if there is a word like that but I think we understand the scope of my statement, the God of ……………………. , is my God, the God of …………………………………… , is my God , if you are not a ……………………………… , you are not serving the true God. This virus has affected our evangelisms that even the sinners are confused, if everybody claims it is his church that is going to heaven , then is it Church taking people to heaven or Jesus, or are there going to be sections for each churches in heaven and arranged according to denomination.
This ought not to be so, it was one Christ that died and it is one body that he is lord over. Observing the trend of things, we need to examine from the bible , how many doctrines did Christ release to the church ? and why is there so much separatisms over doctrines ?.
There is only one doctrine given to us in the bible, and it is the doctrine of Christ. Christ is the only message of the bible, there are no messages, just one message, Christ! There are however different topics under that message which includes faith, hope, love, the Holy Spirit, … and so much more. The topics don’t override the message because the topics are not the message but an amplifier of the message.
There are also different approaches to the message given to different men of God by the revelation of the Holy Ghost. The approaches they receive through the topics the Holy Ghost gave them to emphasize on is their personal revelation of Christ and their personal dealing with the Holy Spirit.
God is so wide, vast and inexhaustible that no one can truly exhaust even that topic given to him all his life so God raises other men to re-emphasize on it with a different revelation of the same topic. So we need to come to the understanding of this, no man can know all of God, that is impossible!
1 Cor. 13 : 9
For we know in part, and prophesy in part.
We know in part, we don’t know all, no man has that capacity, all he knows of God at best is just a part, so nobody has the monopoly of revelation. We understand that some men are extraordinarily graced but it doesn’t still edit the fact that it is a part of God they know.
Since no man can know all about God then he should give others the opportunity to reveal the approach they also received from the Holy Spirit. There is only way to the father and that is through Jesus, no pastor is the way to God, no bishop is the way to God, so none of them should be exalted above Jesus, because they all point to Jesus and are not the way. Even the Holy Spirit did not come to talk about himself so the Holy Spirit is not the message (Jn. 16:13) , the only message of the church is Christ.
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
The apostles preached no other doctrine than Christ, they never preached themselves but Christ alone.
Then Philip went to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
When Philip conducted a crusade in Samaria he preached Christ and Christ alone, no other doctrine.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the son of God.
Apostle Paul preached Christ in the synagogues, so the only doctrine in the apostolic movement was Christ.
Every matter in scriptures is settled by the mouth of two to three witnesses, so we can doctrinally settle this case that Christ is the only doctrine of the church. To buttress our point further, I will add more witnesses.
Paul in one of his epistles to the church at Corinth describes what the message of church should be, Christ !
2nd Cor. 4:5
We preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord; …
The message is not us really, we are only conveyors of the message, the message is Christ and that is the focus. Even though we are to speak about ourselves it should be Christ in us, which is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). We can see here from Paul’s admonition to the church at Corinth that people are not the message, we don’t preach people nor preach against people. We don’t exalt man than Christ, we don’t exalt a pastor or Bishop or Reverend than Christ to the point we don’t see Christ again. It is not wrong to appreciate or honor a man of God even Paul admonishes that men of God should be held in the highest regard and honor but they shouldn’t replace Christ before the people that he cannot be seen anymore.
So the doctrine of the church is simple, CHRIST, there may be different approaches and revelations people receive per time but the whole message must revolve around Christ. In the message of salvation, Christ is our savior , in prosperity and finance , Christ is the bread provider, in success Christ must be seen, even in the message of Hell , Christ is our deliverer . He has delivered us from Hell, all messages in the church should be revealed to the people in the light of Christ and that also includes marriage, Christ is our bridegroom. The Emphasis remains Christ.
Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthian church
1 Cor. 2:1-2
And I, brethren , when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Paul tells them he came just for one mission and that is Christ! He said he determined not to know anything except Christ, so it was a decision Paul made to discipline himself to know Christ only.
From what Paul said here, any message without Christ as central focus should not be preached in the church of God, the brethren should know nothing but Christ. The message is not denomination or church , it is just Christ.
When the focus of the church is not Christ that is when division, denominationalism , separatism and all of those things come in, because when it is Christ it doesn’t matter the name of the church you can freely fellowship there.
Division sets in a church or denomination when there is a misplacement of focus, when people starts peddling their individual interest rather than the interest of Christ, when churches starts placing their selfish interest over the interest of Christ. This is why some churches cannot partner with other ministries for open air crusade or city wide crusades because all they think of is what they will gain from it, it is all about how much will get to them, what will be their benefit at the end of the day.
LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus ;
There is a mindset a believer should have about this gospel we preach, it is not about us but about Christ our Lord, Paul admonishes the brethren in the church at phillipi to have the mindset of Christ, the mind that Christ had .
For Christ it was all about the father’s glory, it was never about himself, even though he was in the form of God ,he went through all he suffered because of the glory of the father, it is not about us, we don’t run these things, it is Christ that does and our mindset should be Christ and Christ alone. Christ should be the only doctrine and any other doctrine should not be welcomed among the brethren, any doctrine that glorifies self or church should not be welcomed, no matter the manifestations we see in such denominations, we need to understand that manifestations are only proofs of the gospel, they are not the gospel in themselves and should not be confused for the gospel, the gospel is Christ while the manifestations are confirmations of the gospel (Phil. 1:7). Manifestations cannot take the place of the message, the gifts of the spirit in manifestations in any ministry cannot take the place of the message, if not the people will get into heresy very soon.
1 Cor. 1:10
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of the lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment.
For it had been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas ; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Is Christ divided ? was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
Contentions come into a church when the focus is shifted. When the focus of the church is no more on Christ then division starts setting in, when Christ is no more the vision and the mandate then it is easy for division to creep in and rear its ugly head. Let us never forget, it is the body of Christ and anything we do must be centered around him, it is Christ that brings us united irrespective of our denominations, tribe, countries, and all that, the blood that was shed for our sins was a universal blood and not a denominational blood or a tribal Blood, we don’t have an Igbo Jesus neither a Yoruba Jesus.
When Paul Came to Corinth he observed the division and he was highly displeased because he knows that the vision has been shifted, some of them were saying I am of Paul, others I am of Apollos and some other group I am of cephas in the same church. Frankly speaking it is divisions like this that gave birth to some denominations not because God gave them vision to leave.
Some groups love the ministration of bro ………. , and believes he should be the new resident pastor, some love bro …………….. and believes he should be the pastor. So it is more like a political campaign, then one leader takes out his members from the church and forms his own movement. The church is not a club nor a political movement , it is the church of the living God bought by his blood and run by his Son ( Jesus Christ ), the head of the church.
When people move out of churches because of disagreement to form their own movement, they are not submissive to the head of the church (Jesus Christ our Lord). Yes! Some people have the leading to go and form a new work but since it is God that said go, he will also confirm, he is never an author of confusion.
NO OTHER DOCTRINE
1 Tim. 1:3
As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightiest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, …
There is only one doctrine and that is the doctrine of Christ, Paul observing the rise of some new doctrines gives timothy an instruction to stop those teaching other doctrines, it is not just an admonition from Paul , it is an admonition of the Holy Spirit to the church today. There should be no other doctrine preached anywhere but the doctrine of Christ, because only the gospel of Christ has the power to save (Rom. 1:16) and it is the gospel of Christ that reveals his righteousness (Rom. 1:17). There should never be a message that deviates from the central theme which is Christ, rather the message should amplify Christ.
It is very important that we know that the Holy Spirit is not even the message of the church, Christ is the message. The Holy Ghost only amplifies the message, he never came to speak of himself or glorify himself, he came to glorify Christ (Jn. 16:13-14). When the message of the Holy Spirit is preached, it should be directed back to Christ, because his message to the church is Christ and not himself. Any Doctrine that doesn’t point back to Christ is “another doctrine”, and Paul says it should be flushed out of the church.
Another doctrine has the capacity to lead the people astray no matter how innocuous it looks because it takes away the real (which is substance) and gives people shadow (fantasies) . Their concept and understanding of the gospel is simply the razz mattazz , they will never come into the realm that God has designed for them.
The doctrine of Christ has one soul aim which is to bring us into fellowship of his Son Jesus, (1 Cor. 1:9), it is about the fellowship, that has been the desire of God right from the foundation of the world. When Adam was created, it was all fellowship in the heart of God, and when he lost out due to sin, God brought Christ to restore back the fellowship.
The goal is not heaven, hell or all of that, it is fellowship, while it is very good for heaven to be on our heart but there is also an assignment on earth, there is a reason why God kept us here on earth, we must also put that in view. The message of heaven, hell and much more are sections of the message itself which is Christ, heaven should not overemphasized than Christ, because heaven is in Christ. Heaven should be preached from the light of Christ, hell should be preached in the light of Christ. All should lead to Christ, there are many church doctrines that has taken the place of the knowledge of Christ, and those doctrines should be pulled down else the people will never know Christ.
When doctrines are exalted above Christ, the church leaders becomes Pharisees. I know a pastor who has become a Pharisee in his denomination, he catches offenders of the church doctrine and gives them appropriate punishment, so the people live double lives, one in church and one outside the church. These ought not to be so, because Christianity is a life, it is what we live everywhere, no matter where we find ourselves.
WIND OF DOCTRINE
That we hereafter be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by every sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
There are several winds of doctrine all over the place, and these winds has not made the children of God grow and mature in Christ. When a believer new in the faith, goes to different services in different locations and hears different things preached on the same subject, things that are parallel to each other, the believer gets confused and hence cannot grow and mature, wind of doctrines has a direct and cumulative effect on the body of Christ.
It is very easy for this young believer to be led astray, for example, he was saved in a church that holds a strong ground against sin and unrighteousness and goes to another area and decides to attend church service on Sunday and from the appearance of the people in the church, he is wondering if it is a church or club, then he hears another message on sin that makes him feel very comfortable in sin, “they say , it doesn’t matter what you do as a believer, the gospel is in your heart”, then he is confused. What should I believe? This is one reason why God spoke through Apostle Paul that the church should have just one message, which is Christ and every other subject should be seen in the light of Christ and the word should be final say , not the opinion of men , or the convenience of men. Whatever the scripture says is final and should not be contestable in anyway. It all starts when people begin to claim they have a personal revelation to the body of Christ, the truth is that nobody is doubting what God told you, but let us put it to scriptural scrutiny before we accept it. Nobody should be too big to undergo this, his revelation should be subjected to the scrutiny of the word and if it doesn’t conform, it should be gladly thrown away. There are several questions to ask? Who is the message glorifying?, is it a word of fear, or exhortation? Is Christ the central theme of the message and so many more questions.
This will go a long way to limit the occurrence of wrong doctrines just put up by men to put people under unnecessary tension, fear, worries and makes them unable to grow spiritually.
Even Apostle Paul as anointed as he was, even though he received direct revelation from Jesus Christ , he still subjected it to the scrutiny of the word by the Apostle that had gone ahead of him.
But I certify you , brethren , that the gospel which was preached of me, is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
And I went up by revelation and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run or had run in vain.
In chapter one Paul tells us he received the revelation directly from Jesus Christ, but in chapter 2, he went up to meet the Apostles of reputation so he won’t run in vain. He took the message he preached for scrutiny by the Apostles that were before him. When people have gospels that they preach which cannot be questioned or scrutinized according to the word of God, then probably it is not from God. Any gospel that lifts people up in pride is not from God, it is easy to discern a wrong message if we take time to study God’s word by the unveiling of the spirit.
Wind of doctrine comes most times when believers separate from a church and establish theirs, making rules for themselves and claiming it is from God to keep the people under bondage and spiritual servitude. Even though a doctrine is to be formed there are spiritual principles that guides the formation of doctrines and we would discuss them extensively in other chapters of the book. Every doctrine should be formed in the light of the real message (Christ) and should only enhance the message. God’s purpose is for the church to come to the knowledge of the son of God (Christ), he wants us to know him deeply and affectionately.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
What a dream God has for his church! What we can see here is that to God it should be one message, one knowledge , till we become perfect (mature) up to the stature of the fullness of Christ. It simply means everywhere we go we hear the same message of the faith, it is called unity of faith. Most people in the body of Christ have the wrong idea in their minds about the unity of the faith, and these are well meaning, good and wonderful Christians, they believe that there should be only one church. Every church should close down and merge together to become one church. No! That is not what the bible is saying. What the bible is saying is that any church you find yourself, you should hear the same message.
There should be one belief about Christ, his death, resurrection, ascension and glorification, we should believe same thing about righteousness, holiness, heaven, hell and the rest of the other subjects. There shouldn’t be factions that believe this, and call it their personal revelation, then this other believe this and call it their own dealings with God and so forth, when every revelation is founded on the word then it shouldn’t be difficult to believe as long as you are a believer. No matter the angle you are picking it from, which is your revelation as long as it is from God’s word and it glorifies Christ then there shouldn’t be any trouble. The only knowledge God wants us to have is the knowledge of the son of God (which is Christ), then we can grow unto maturity and even to the fullness of stature of Christ. Once Christ is not the diet that the believer is feeding his spirit with then he cannot grow, he will be spiritually malnourished.
… the knowledge of the son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Any other doctrine aside Christ cannot produce spiritual growth, it doesn’t have the capacity to produce growth in a believer, so we cannot afford to allow another doctrine have a filled day in the church, it must be stopped. This calls for mass action, everybody has to take part in this, it starts first by understanding what the true doctrine is, and growing consistently in it.
One major threat to doctrinal balance in the body of Christ is “personal revelations” or “personal dealings”, while it is not wrong to have personal dealings, it is wrong to place the dealings above the word of God. All dealings and personal revelations should be subjected to the test of the word. Even Apostle John admonishes us to “believe not every spirit but we should test all spirits (1 Jn. 4:1)” , so why should a pastor be too big for his revelation to undergo scriptural test, diverse revelations coming from different sources has put big blows on the body of Christ. Most doctrines are formed based on the personal revelation of the founder of the ministry, the point however is that all revelations comes from the full word of God, Paul tells us that “we know in parts”, (1 Cor. 13:9), No man or woman of God has the full revelation, it is only a side of God and what he see should not counter what any other person sees because he too only saw a side of God, When people make personal revelations the full gospel, trouble is looming. Let us take a graphic example in the Old Testament to buttress our point.
And God spoke to moses, and said to him, I am the lord:
And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by name JE –HO- VAH was I not known to them.
The Lord revealed to Moses a deep truth in this conversation he had with Moses, God appeared to Abraham and revealed himself to him as God Almighty. Abraham knew God as the Almighty God, Abraham never knew there was more to God, but here the Lord is reporting himself to Moses that Abraham only knew a part of me, but I am revealing another side of me to you today which is JE – HO – VAH. Was it Abraham’s fault that he didn’t know God as JE- HO –VAH , No! it was God who didn’t reveal to Abraham that way. We need to understand that revelation is dispensational, and we can know all of God, there are some revelations of God kept for the coming generation. This is where most denominational ministers miss it, they prove to their Congregation that they know all of God and they don’t need to listen to another minister of God. If you tell Abraham that God is Jehovah, he can argue with you till tomorrow that it is a lie, but is it a lie ? No! It was only not revealed to him.
The truth to grasp from this is that God is too deep and vast that you only know what he reveals to you, there are some others things about God that you will need to learn from others that he also revealed himself to, this is why it is called the body of Christ and not the denomination of Christ. Everything God reveals to anybody is just a side or section of the Message himself CHRIST.
In other words, what you receive cannot be a doctrine that rules your church or that rules the body of Christ, because you must also put into consideration that this minister of God also received a side of God and that minister of God over there also received a side of God, if we all make what we receive doctrines that rule our churches and stands in the body of Christ, then there will be chaos and this is exactly the state we have found ourselves. Your revelation should be viewed in the light of Christ, and this minister and that minister, since they are all part of Christ, the only doctrine that stands is Christ and the revelations every minister receives is a sub-doctrine ,and therefore an amplifier of the message himself Christ. It is easy to accept each other’s revelation knowing fully well it is a revelation of Christ the central message then believers won’t have problem attending believers conferences because every minister is revealing a side of God we don’t know yet, and we can appreciate each other’s ministry , gifts and callings, then Christ is glorified. Nobody is seeing his pastor or her pastor but Christ the head of the church. Jesus himself said, no one can know him nor the father except he or the father is revealed to us (Matt. 11:27) .The Gospel cannot be reduced to morality, then it won’t have the power to save anymore. Morality should be taught as a subject in the light of Christ, because it is not the message, if morality becomes the message then the gospel is not different from Islam because they also have a strong stand on morality, or some other religions.
Christianity is not a religion, so it cannot be classified as one of the religions, it is a life that produces the character of Christ (our life style), it is Christ alive in a human vessel, divinity at home in humanity, even though morality is a very important subject it doesn’t and shouldn’t take the place of the message “CHRIST”.
As a matter of truth, a believer that is still indecent in her dressing has not understood who she is in Christ, once the believer comes to an understanding that she is an ambassador of Christ, then she must portray herself in her conduct as Christ’s ambassador. When a lady exposes sensitive parts of her body and comes to church, the question is not if she is saved but if she is sane, because she should know there is a difference between a church and a club.
CHRIST THE MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
The bible which is the constitution of the universe contains only one message, and the message is Christ, one Author who is the Holy Ghost. The message of the bible must be properly understood by every believer to avoid confusion in their understanding of scriptures, the only message of the whole bible from Genesis to Revelations is CHRIST, the bible contains no other message once this is understood then it becomes easy to understand the bible but until we understand this we have a long way to go.
It simply means anytime we read the Old Testament we should look for Christ in any statement, conversation, story, events and so on. Everything written in the Old Testament was pointing towards Christ, the Old Testament was a foreshadow of Christ while the New Testament is the substance of Christ himself.
HOW DID CHRIST BECOME THE MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.
In the beginning Jesus was called the word of God, the word of the Father, there was no Christ in the beginning. It was the sin of Man in the garden that brought Christ out of God, Christ was a mystery that came out of God as a solution to the sin of man. So in the beginning he wasn’t Christ, he was the word and lord but not Christ , and had man not sinned there wouldn’t have been Christ because Christ came as a solution to the sin of man. Some may be asking so what is the difference and who is Christ.
Christ is the man God, or the God man that means 100% man, 100% God, because man sinned and there needed to be a remedy for the sin of man, God brought Christ out of himself to be the propitiation for the sin of man. The revelation of Christ coming to the world came as a response to the sin of man back in the garden, God by himself pronounced the coming of Christ right in the presence of Adam and the devil.
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The seed of the woman is Christ, and God told the devil straight away that the seed of the woman will bruise thy head. Right after the fall of man in the garden, the only message the holy Ghost inspired the prophets was about Christ, “Christ is coming, he will die and enter his glory”, all the prophets spoke as they were inspired of the Holy Spirit, that became the only message. Some people lived the message as their life, some acted out the message in various events of their lives, some spoke out the message as inspired by the Holy Ghost but Christ was the central theme of the message of the Prophets, the law and even the psalms. It was just Christ alone, and no other message, and they spoke this message till he appeared on the earth in human form. Many believers have not seen the message of the old testament that is why they have most times being confused by some series of events in the bible, everything that happened were prophetic to be fulfilled in the New Testament.
One basic thing to understand is that the Old Testament cannot be understood on its own by reading it alone, it must be read in the light of the New Testament for better and accurate understanding, this is because the message in the Old Testament is concealed. The old testament is called the mystery while the new testament is the revelation of the mystery , the old testament is Christ concealed, the new testament is Christ revealed, the old testament is the foreshadow of Christ, while the new testament is substance or reality of Christ himself.
What is sound doctrine? Sound doctrine is a doctrine based on correctly divided word of truth and seen from the light of Christ. The emphasis of a sound doctrine is Christ himself, its purpose is to lift up Christ and not man, traditions, culture, morality and so forth. What makes it a sound doctrine is that it brings the saints into maturity and edifies the body of Christ, so the ultimate goal of a sound doctrine is for the edification of the body of Christ. This however can never happen until the doctrine is contextually, rightly and correctly divided according to the rules of scriptural interpretation, Paul admonishes the church to preach nothing less than sound doctrine.
But speak you the things which become sound doctrine ;
That aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
Tit. 2:1 (N.I.V)
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.
It is a command for ministers of God to teach what is appropriate for sound doctrine, no matter the manifestations of the spirit which includes miracles in a church or denomination.
If the core ministry of the ministry gifts is to teach sound doctrine then we must of necessity be able to discern a doctrine that is not sound. It is important to note that a doctrine may be good but not sound, it is not about the intention of the doctrine but the end product, there are many doctrines that are good and serves good purposes but since they are not sound have led to more factions, divisions within the body of Christ, Paul calls such doctrines the “doctrines of men (Col. 2:22)”.
HOW CAN WE EXAMINE A SOUND DOCTRINE ?
A Doctrine can be examined to be sound or not if we understand the rules of scriptural interpretations. So we can examine any case doctrinally to see if it can stand as a truth in the body of Christ using the principles of scriptural interpretation.
LAWS OF SCRIPTURAL INTERPRETATION
- Law of 3 witnesses
This law states that any matter is settled scripturally and doctrinally if it has minimum two to three witnesses. (2nd Cor. 13:1). No scripture stands alone, every scripture comes from the stem of another scripture, so for proper doctrinal examination, every scripture stands as truth when we have minimum of two to three witnesses. Even in the law of Moses before a person can be put to death, there must be a testimony of minimum two to three witnesses (Num. 35:30 , Deut. 17:6 , Deut. 19:15). It is best we have one from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament, it makes it a balanced case in scripture.
- Law of Contextual Interpretation
This law states that no scripture should be lifted to mean anything, it must be understood contextually, so for proper doctrinal examination it is best to understand the context of which the writer is communicating the message. So we may have to read some verses before or even start from the beginning of the chapter, we need to put it at the back of our minds that scriptures were not written in chapters and verses, they were written as letters in a scroll, so chapter and verses are the editorial work of the translators for better understanding and any word italicized is not in the original manuscript, it was the translators that added it for better understanding. It is important we put all this in view for our examination of a doctrine.
- Law of non- imaginative interpretation
No scripture should be interpreted with our imagination or intellect, scriptures were not given for our minds to absorb but for our spirit. There is always a great temptation to interpret scriptures with our imagination but as simple as the scriptures appears, we would be wrong if we do that, scriptures should only be interpreted with scriptures by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Most of the wrong doctrines came into being by the neglect of this law, so we need to correctly divide the scripture with other scriptures as the Holy Ghost inspires, remember that the problem is not just the division of scripture but the right division of scriptures (2nd Tim. 2:15).
- Law of no Neglect
No scripture should be neglected but all scriptures should be correctly interpreted. It simply means a doctrine cannot stand if there are other scriptures negating what the doctrine says. So when examining a correct and sound doctrine if we are able to find any scripture that negates what the doctrine states even after three witnesses, we cannot neglect it we have to correctly interpret it. Some New Testament preachers are most times guilty of sidelining some scriptures, calling it Old Testament; that is wrong. We cannot neglect any scripture because all scriptures are given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we need to correctly interpret it in the light of Christ before we can declare it as a sound doctrine.
- Law of legality
Legality simply means the boundaries in the constitution of the universe that can never be crossed by any being in the universe. Legality bounds the creator and the creature, legality keeps the integrity of God intact. God in his omnipotence cannot break the law of legality, it defines the boundaries of God who is the creator of the world, legality is the highest law in the realm of the spirit that explains what we cannot understand by all the laws we have mentioned earlier. When there is no clear explanation to any case legality is the last law that either redirects our search or explains why some things cannot be. For example, when man sinned even though God loved man, God couldn’t just tell man to go and just forgive him right away. Man has broken the legal grounds of the constitution so God has to redeem man also through the legal grounds of the constitution, which is simple reason God had to wait that long before he came himself as a man to pay for sins. According to legality stand, man sinned and only man can pay, Angels cannot pay for him, and God cannot pay for him. So God had to be a man to be constitutionally legal to pay for man’s sins.
Therefore for any doctrine to stand as a sound doctrine in scriptures, it has to undergo the scrutiny of the laws of scriptural examinations and be found worthy to be called a sound doctrine. This applies also to all revelations any minister receive from God, it must be scrutinized before accepted . There is nothing called a personal revelation that cannot be scrutinized, no matter the vision, revelation , dream or encounter, it must pass through the scriptural examination.
2nd Pet. 1:20
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Every revelation of scripture anybody receives may be private but it is for edification of the body of Christ, it is for public manifestation, we therefore need to be careful of whatever we call our conviction, every conviction must be a truth that has been thoroughly examined, the word is final say and every dream, vision, encounter must be subject to the authority of the word. When believers start developing a mentality that “it was what the Holy Ghost revealed to me, I don’t care if it is in the word or not”, “it is a personal dealing” and all that they are gradually going into heresy. It is safe to stay on the word of God.
Let us examine thoroughly some doctrinal cases.
Doctrine of wearing of trousers for a lady is a sin
The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination to the Lord your God.
This is a major doctrine in the body of Christ and caused so much divisions and factions in the body of Christ, some denominations count those that wear trousers as sinners and they are going to Hell. Some even claim to have had revelations from God, and said God told them any one that wears trouser will go to Hell. Off course I am not kicking against the belief of any denomination, am just here to establish the truth, so it is fine what they believe and I will try to be as neutral as possible but viewing their statement doctrinally and within the borderlines of correct interpretation of scriptures.
Can this doctrine stand?
First thing to observe “ it has only one witness”, so this out-rightly strikes it out as a doctrine. Therefore it cannot stand as a doctrine in the body of Christ but someone is saying God revealed it to me that it is an abomination, well! Am not saying God didn’t reveal it to you, remember even God is subject to the word and cannot break the word so it doesn’t matter what you saw, the word has final say. Let us take a deeper look into the statement and state more reasons why it cannot stand as a sound doctrine.
The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination to the Lord your God…
When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not the blood upon thine house, if anyman fall from thence.
Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of the vineyard be defiled.
Thou shall not plow an ox and an ass together.
Thou shall not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of wollen and linen together.
These were some of the laws God gave Moses to lead the children of Israel, and in the law the condition to follow it is that every thing must be obeyed.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
This simply means you cannot obey one and disregard the other, then you are guilty of all. If someone tells me that God told him in a dream or vision that every lady that wears trouser is going to hell, then we must also put the other laws in the same scripture in perspective, remember we must be contextual.
So, every one that builds a house and doesn’t put battlement on the roof is going to hell, every one that plants two types of crops on his farm is going to hell, every one that plows two different types of animals (e.g ox and ass) is going to hell.
And lastly every one that wears a garment of two different materials (e.g linen and wool) is going to hell. You can see that it is a very serious case!
Remember you cannot pick one scripture and drop one, it will contradict the law of no neglect, my question now is this “how can there be two laws on clothing in the same chapter of scripture and you make one a doctrine and leave the other one”.
That is strange! The same way it is an abomination for a woman to wear a man’s clothing, it is an abomination for a man or woman to wear a cloth of two different materials. If everyone that wears cloth of mixture of two materials go to hell then who will go heaven, because I doubt if there is any cloth on earth today that is made of one single material. Also it is an abomination for a farmer to plant two different crops, e.g irish and corn on the same farm land, it then means all farmers are going to hell, because many of you plants even have up to five different crops on the same land.
Now you can see this yourself, nobody could fulfill the conditions of the law that is why Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it, now the law has been fulfilled in Christ Jesus, so if you are in Christ you are fulfilling the laws they couldn’t fulfill.
Since we have seen now that wearing trousers cannot stand as a doctrine, we need to correctly interpret what it means by revelation.
First of all we must understand that the Old Testament was a shadow, it foreshadowed Christ, so it wasn’t reality in itself, it was pointing to something (Christ). Paul tells us by revelation that the law was a shadow.
For the law was a shadow of the good things to come and not the very image of the things,…
A shadow can never give accurate description because it is always dark, you cannot detect colors in shadows. Christ is the message of the law, so we must see the law in the light of Christ, all the laws were not talking about things in themselves, it was pointing to Christ which is the message.
Wherefore the law was our school master to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The words “to bring us” was italicized in the king James, so for proper rendering, it will read this way.
Wherefore the law was our school master unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith
The law was our school master that was pointing to Christ, Christ was the message but it was shadowed in the law.
What was God communicating to Moses in that verse of scripture?
The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination to the Lord your God
This scripture is simply talking about Authority.
1 Cor. 11:3
But I would have you know , that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man ; and the head of Christ is God.
The head of the woman is the man, so it is a dishonor for a woman to put on the garment of the man, because the man serves as the priest over the home. Like it was an abomination in the law for a person to put on the garment of a priest also it is an abomination for a woman to wear the garment of her husband, it simply means she doesn’t respect him as the head, It is also a dishonor for the man as the priest to put on the garment of the woman, because priests are sacred in the law and should carry themselves in such a manner. The scripture is not talking about clothing but authority, honor and respect.
Doctrine of covering of hair is a sin
This has been a very controversial doctrine over the years in the body of Christ, we need to examine this case doctrinally to see if can stand as a truth in the body of Christ.
First observation: It has no witness in scriptures, it is a product of wrong interpretation of the bible. Paul never said it is a sin to uncover your hair, we are not taking any position on this case yet, we would observe the scripture commonly used to see what Apostle Paul was talking about.
1 Cor. 11:5
But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as she was shaved.
Paul uses the word head and not hair, some one may be asking what is the difference?
There is a lot of difference because Paul puts the two in perspective (hair and head) in his letter to the Corinthians, so we musn’t assume what Paul didn’t say. It is better we let scriptures speak for themselves, remember one of the laws of interpreting scriptures is that scriptures must not be imagined to mean anything, it must only be interpreted with scriptures because our imaginations may be wrong.
Can a woman pray with her head, yes ! it is possible, Paul explains it in the next verse that this is when a woman is shaved (either very low cut, or bald head).
So explain this contextually lets go back to two verses before verse 5, because Paul uses head two times in the same verse 5. So we to know which one is which.
But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as she was shaved.
1 Cor. 11:3-5
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man ; and the head of Christ is God.
But every man praying or prophesying with his head covered dishonors his head.
But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as she was shaved.
From chapter 3 we can see Paul giving us the authority chain, between the woman, man and Christ.
Head of Man = Christ
Head of woman = Man
So now let us examine verse 4
But every man praying or prophesying with his head covered dishonors his head.
Who is the head that is dishonored? Christ.
let us examine verse 5
Who is the head that is dishonored? Man (or her husband).
Another thing to critically observe from the context of which the writer is communicating the message to us is that the Man and the woman in question here are married, the issue is between husband and wife.
Let us use a simpler version to explain the point better.
1 Cor. 11:3 -5 (N.L.T)
But there is one thing I want you to know: A man is responsible to Christ, a woman is responsible to her husband, and Christ is responsible to God.
A man dishonors Christ if he covers his head while praying or prophesying
But a woman dishonors her husband if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head,…
If the doctrine even holds at all, the issue is between husband and wife, so my question is this “if a young lady uncovers her head in prayer or prophesying, who is she dishonoring ?” If as a young girl, you uncover your head, my question is where is your husband? Paul gives a detailed explanation of this in the subsequent verses, the only reason God wants a woman to cover her head is not because of him but for the angels (obviously the angels are attracted by women when they are shaven or have very low hair on their head), so Paul tells a woman to cover her head as a sign she is under the authority of a man to the angels.
1 Cor. 11:10 (N.L.T)
So a woman should wear a covering on her head as a sign of authority because the angels are watching.
Paul in this same letter tells us the difference between head and hair, because most people say Paul said cover hair, no he never said that, he consistently uses the word cover head, then he finalizes his statement in verse15.
1 Cor. 11:15
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given to her for a covering.
This is a very straight and plain statement, her hair has been given to her by God for a covering, Paul is saying the covering for the head is long hair and not scarf or any other thing.
Doctrine of Eternal security
The Doctrine of eternal security is an unbalanced truth in the body of Christ, it’s a truth pushed to the extreme.
First observation : The doctrine has three witnesses but we need to examine the witnesses to see if the doctrine can stand.
For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
The key word here for their doctrinal stand is “a saint is preserved forever”
And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand
My Father which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my father’s hand.
The key word here is “ they shall never perish and no man can plucked them out of my hands.
For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
The key word here is “perfected forever”.
With 3 witnesses it has passed the first test.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
Do we have scriptures that negates this claim? Yes there are! So we must carefully observe them.
SCRIPTURES THAT NEGATE IT
1st Timothy 4:1
Now the spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, …
He who overcometh , the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name from the book of life…
Take heed brethren, lest there be any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God
Not everyone that saith unto me lord, lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven …
We have minimum of four scriptures contradicting the claim that a believer is eternally secured, so we cannot neglect them , we have to correctly interpret them.
The word DERART is from the Greek word APHISTEMI which means to fall-away. Withdraw, to be removed.
Depart is the opposite of the word PHISTEMI which means to be established. The word APHISTEMI is used 7 times in the New Testament, 3 times in the gospel (the book of luke), 4 times in the epistles of Apostle Paul.
So if it’s possible to depart from the faith, it simply means it’s not possible to establish this doctrine. The word Overcome used in Rev. 3:5 is from the Greek word Nicao, which means to conquer or be victorious, and interpreting that word with scriptures by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
1st john 5:4-5
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ?
We can clearly see here that an overcomer is he that believes.
He who overcometh (believeth till the end) , the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name from the book of life…
So if a believer does not believe till the Jesus can blot out the person’s name from the book of life, this directly contradicts the claim of eternal security for a believer.
Also Jesus said “Not all that call me lord ,lord will enter the kingdom of heaven”. Those that called him lord , lord where once born again. Remember nobody can say Jesus is lord except by the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 12:3).
Surely all this tells us that a believer can lose his salvation.
Let’s look at contextual interpretations of the scriptural witness of the doctrine of eternal security.
Psalm 37:28 has got conditions attached, which is from verse 37 (which is to depart from evil)
Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
Jn. 10:28-89 also has conditions attached, if we start reading from verse 27
The conditions are, you have to be a sheep, you have to hear his voice and you have to follow him.
Hebrews 10:14 has conditions attached to it too, the condition is that those who are perfected forever must be purified from sin. It is called sanctification.
In conclusion, the Doctrine of eternal security is only true for them who are sanctified and detest iniquity, so eternal security is doctrinally established on the condition that the believers stays in the word.
There are many other doctrinal cases to treat, but we cannot treat all, this is one reason we put the procedures for examining a true doctrine and giving common examples. It is the joy of Christ that we walk in the truth (2nd Jn. 2:4), so it is so important we cross examine what we believe in the light of the truth of Christ Jesus.
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