One of the ways the “Christian” Left tips you off to their false nature is how they dismiss the importance of sound doctrine.
First, for clarity:
A man is not to be judged a heretic for speaking or writing an error – we all fall into this group. A heretic is one who continues in teaching falsehoods that strike at the basics of Christian beliefs. Stuart Brogden
But many people downplay the importance of doctrine, saying such things as, “All the theology I need is that God is love” or “I just want to follow Jesus.” They have a false idea of what doctrine is. It isn’t boring (at least it isn’t supposed to be). How do you know how to follow Jesus, or why you should follow Jesus, if you don’t have doctrine? Why on earth would you commit your life to someone without understanding Him or what He taught?
And yes, God is love, but that is just one of his attributes and not his complete definition. And what kind of love does this mean – a sentimental, pampering love or the agape kind of love where you have the long term best interests of the other person at heart and would willingly sacrifice for them?
There are countless false teachers in our churches today, and they do great damage to individuals and the church. We must know the truth well so we can spot them. Here is a great article by Charles Spurgeon about false teachers. Please read it.
Listed at the bottom of this post are just some of the verses pointing us to the importance of sound doctrine. Jesus expected the Disciples to understand his teachings. Also, keep in mind that Jesus spent much of his time rebuking the Pharisees for their false teachings, and a major part of the New Testament letters was devoted to corrections of errors in the church. If Jesus warned against false prophets doesn’t that imply that there are true prophets?
If anyone thinks these verses are taken out of context, please let me know. Some of my theologically liberal blogging buddies implied as such, saying I had selected them in a “willy nilly” fashion. However, they provided zero (0) examples. Perhaps they could start with the first passage, which actually contains the phrase “sound doctrine.” If I took something out of context it wouldn’t be the first or last time, but I am quite correctable and rarely make the same mistake twice.
One person mocked me for “actually believing that God cares for something called sound doctrine.” His position is self-refuting and un-Biblical. Sound doctrine is merely accurate theological teaching. Given two choices of God either caring about sound doctrine or not caring, he chose the latter while I chose the former. If God agrees with him, then he has properly taught God’s view. But that would mean that God cares about the proper teaching of not caring about proper teaching, and that he seems to think it is important to convey sound doctrine on the point of sound doctrine not being important. Indeed. It would also mean that God had to communicate his lack of caring about sound doctrine. Did He do that in the Bible (where?) or outside it?
Read a “few” verses – or the whole Bible, for that matter – and decide for yourself if God cares about sound doctrine.
Matthew 16:6 (ESV) — 6 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Matthew 16:11–12 (ESV) — 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) — 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
2 Timothy 4:3–4 (ESV) — 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) — 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.
Acts 17:11 (ESV) — 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
2 John 9 (ESV) — 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:1 (ESV) — 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Revelation 2:1–3 (ESV) — 1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
Jude 3–4 (ESV) — 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Titus 1:9 (ESV) — 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Romans 16:17–19 (ESV) — 17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.
Acts 20:28–31 (ESV) — 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.
2 Corinthians 11:2–4 (ESV) — 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
2 Corinthians 11:12–15 (ESV) — 12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Titus 2:1 (ESV) — 1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV) — 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Matthew 7:15 (ESV) — 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Acts 13:6–11 (ESV) — 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.
Jude (ESV) — 1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. 8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. 14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. 17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Also see Jesus’ messages to the churches in Revelation 2-3 and all the passages where Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their false teachings.