Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What is the Most Important Doctrine of the Church?

The most important doctrine or teaching of the church is none other than "JESUS CHRIST." Colossians 1:18b states, “……that in all things HE might have the preeminence.”

Many churches, in commendable study of the scriptures, sometimes begin to place their PRIMARY EMPHASIS upon OTHER TOPICS, or various aspects of scripture or doctrine. Obviously, every church should teach and proclaim the "whole counsel" of God's Word — but only as it relates to Christ. You see, JESUS is the FOCAL POINT of all DOCTRINAL TEACHING. He is the intersection at which all teachings converge. When ANYTHING ELSE begins to TAKES CENTER-STAGE — that is, when anything other than Jesus Christ, such as traditions, doctrines, or interpretations of doctrines become the primary focus — PROBLEMS and even DECEPTION can enter in.

I am reminded of the Pharisees who held such high regard for the scriptures. They EQUATED their INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE of scripture as the BASIS for SPIRITUALITY and ETERNAL LIFE. However, Jesus explained to them that the scriptures were NOT AN “END” unto themselves, but rather THE MEANS unto an end - to bring us to the TRUE OBJECTIVE which is Jesus Christ Himself.

He said to them, "You search the Scriptures, for IN THEM YOU THINK YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE; and these are they which TESTIFY OF ME" (John 5:39).

We live in an hour in which people frequently claim revelations of SO-CALLED DEEPER TRUTHS, which have sometimes served as a diversion away from the basic character and practical life application of Jesus Christ. Some claim that they now have so much "deep spiritual understanding," that they really cannot relate to those who are "less spiritual" or inferior. This is RIDICULOUS. Such persons may not realize that although Jesus was our highest example of spirituality, yet he was so humble, so down-to-earth and simple he could relate the deepest truths of God in practical terms that even the most unlearned person could grasp.

Any intricate, exotic teaching, regardless of how Biblical or spiritually deep it may seem to be, unless it lifts up Jesus Christ, together with His character or the practical truths and principles He taught, is PROBABLY IRRELEVANT to you as a Christian, and NOT NEEDED for your spiritual growth and development. It may even lead you ASTRAY into an attitude of intellectual arrogance, false spiritual superiority, or heresy. ALWAYS REMEMBER that TRUE DOCTRINE is CHRIST-CENTERED, SIMPLE and PRACTICAL. Paul warned believers from being confused by complicated teachings which would lead away from the simplicity of Jesus.

"But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is IN CHRIST" (2 Cor. 11:3).

Although Paul was an intellectual giant, trained as a Pharisee at the feet of the great Jewish scholar, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), he LIMITED HIS PREACHING to one basic theme: "For I determined not to know anything among you except JESUS CHRIST and Him CRUCIFIED" (1 Cor. 2:2). It is Jesus that has all the answers to life's problems. It is Jesus that changes men's lives. If we will simply proclaim Him to the world, men will be saved. Jesus said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself" (John 12:32).