Are There Doctrines Of The Church?
By David J. Stewart | October 2008
by David J. Stewart
I recently visited a website, operated by a deacon in a Baptist church, who stated...
“We don't put forth the great doctrines of the Church.”
That didn't set right with me for a couple reasons...
First off, there are no great “doctrines of the church.” What are we, Catholics? There are only great doctrines of the Word of God. The New Testament Church never put forth any doctrines. All Scripture is inspired (breathed out) of God... “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2nd Timothy 3:16). There are NO “doctrines of the church.” It is a dangerous thing to recognize doctrine as coming from any church.
The Doctrine of Christ Versus the Doctrine of Men and Devils
The Bible never uses the term “doctrines of the church.“ The only “doctrines of the church” are manmade commandments which corrupt the Word of God... "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). The Catholic Church is infamous for fabricating their own doctrines. Consequently, Catholicism is a prisonhouse of religion. Manmade TRADITIONS will lead you to Hell.
As believers, we ought to uphold the “Doctrine of Christ,” mentioned in 2nd John 1:9... “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” The “doctrine of Christ” is the teaching of God's Word concerning Jesus Christ. The word “doctrine” in 2nd John 1:9 is the Greek word didach and means “that which is taught.”
We also read in the Bible about “doctrines of devils” in 1st Timothy 4:1... “"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” Or we could say... “that which is taught by devils.” Certainly the teaching that abortion is acceptable is a demonic teaching.
And then there's the “doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” in Matthew 16:12... “Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Jesus earnestly warned the people to reject that which was being taught by the Jewish religious leaders. Today, 2000 years later, the descendants of those Jewish leaders are still teaching the same demonic doctrine of Judaism, rejecting Jesus as the Messiah.
In Hebrews 13:9 we are warned about “strange doctrines”... “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines...” The word “strange” here is xenov and literally means “new.” God is warning us to beware of “new doctrines” that are foreign to the Word of God. The entire premise upon which The DaVinci Code novel and movie were based is the strange doctrine that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a discreet sexual relationship which conceived a child.
There are thousands of similar bizarre teachings floating around society today. If you want to sell a book, just come up with something “new.” I tell you, we don't need anything new; we simply need the old proven paths... “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls...” (Jeremiah 6:16). Phooey on modernism. Phooey on new-evangelicalism with their “new” (neo) corrupt bibles, and their “new” Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), and their “new” methods of evangelizing the lost. We have the old, tried, and proven Word of God to guide us... “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2nd Timothy 3:16). We don't need the latest New York Times Bestseller. We have God's Word!
And then there is the “doctrine of Balaam” in Revelation 2:14 and the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans” in Revelation 2:15... “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”
Balaam was a greedy false prophet who in his time was equivalent to Billy Graham today. Balaam's ecumenical preaching caused God's people to sinfully yoke together with the heathen Moabites. There is much debate concerning the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans,” but we know that whatever it was, it displeased the Lord greatly (Revelation 2:6,15).
What is Heresy?
We've all heard the saying: “Everyone has an opinion...” Interestingly, the word “heresy” in the Bible comes from the Greek word hairesis. Here is what VINE'S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS (Page 303) states concerning the word “hairesis” ...
...“a choosing, choice”; (from haireomai, "to choose") then, "that which is chosen," and hence, "an opinion," especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects...
SOURCE: VINE'S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS; ISBN 0-7852-1160-8
The word “heresy” in the Bible simply means, “an opinion.” It is an opinion that is not God's opinion. Many of the doctrines circulating in today's churches are merely opinions, not based upon the Word of God. In John 5:39 Jesus commanded His disciples to... SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!!! It is dangerous to form one's opinions apart from the Bible. People who express teachings not taught in the Scriptures are guilty of spreading heresy. There are sincere people in every church, who attempt to help others by offering unsought advice. Unfortunately, much of this advice is heresy, even damnable heresy.
One of the biggest heresies circulating in churches today is that it's ok to divorce under certain circumstances. But Jesus taught to forgive 70 times 7 in Matthew 18:22. Jesus said that divorce only happens when a person's heart is hardened (Matthew 19:8). The Bible tells us to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). The mind of Christ is that He “will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). If we are to be Christlike, then divorce is out of the question.
Clearly, false doctrines were a big problem even in Bible times... “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2nd Peter 2:1). Any doctrine “of the Church” is a false doctrine. The Bible teaches that all Scripture is inspired by God alone (2nd Timothy 3:16). In John 5:39 Jesus commanded believers to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!!! Jesus didn't say to rely upon your church, nor pastor to educate you concerning the things of God. Again, there are NO great doctrines OF THE CHURCH!
Every Believer Ought to Proclaim the Word of God
“We don't put forth the great doctrines of the Church.” —spoken by a heretic
Second, it appears that the author of the preceding statement resents anyone having authority outside of the church pulpit. He is wrong in his thinking. Now, I'm an Independent Baptist; but I am concerned about some of the teachings I see emerging in Baptist churches today. The Word of God is the Final Authority of the Church; not men. When men usurp authority in a church, it then becomes a false cult.
Dr. John R. Rice has correctly stated: “There is no such thing as the 'Baptist Church'.” There may be “a Baptist Church”; but not “THE Baptist Church.” There are believers in other denominations, or no denomination at all for that matter. Men started denominations, not God.
I am unalterably opposed to following the works of John Calvin, Jacob Arminius, The Westminster Confession, Martin Luther, et cetera. All of these writings are of the Devil. As believers we are commanded to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES in John 5:39. We do NOT need for someone to outline what we should believe.
Every believer ought to proclaim the truth of God's Word; not just a 501C3 organization, a business licensed by the State called a “church.” Some people have the wrong idea that a church is a building with padded carpeting, pews, stained-glass windows, property, a choir, air-conditioning and an alter upfront. In Philemon 1:2 we read about a home church... “And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house.” Again we read in Colossians 4:15... “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.”
Most people have a false concept of what a church is Biblically. A group of believers does NOT have to be licensed by the State to be a church, nor do they need a building, et cetera; they simply need to assemble together in Jesus' name (Matthew 18:20). Say what you will, the local New Testament Church is NOT a state licensed “non-profit” (what a misnomer) organization.
The true Church is not an organization; it is a group of assembled believers. 1st Corinthians 5:4 states... “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is a genuine church. The Body of Christ is the sum of all believers; but this is not the same as the local New Testament Church. The Body of Christ will assemble for the first time at the Rapture. There is no “universal church” today. The Bible teaches local New Testament churches.
In some churches, members are taught to recognize their pastor as being an authority. I am not against having a strong leader, nor a pastor having a fatherly image; but churchgoers need to be reminded continually that the Word of God is the only Authority in the Church. Too many churchgoers all but worship their pastor, which is wrong. The result is apostasy, where ten thousand church members no longer believe that the King James Bible is inspired because their pastor turned away from the truth.
I don't put forth the great doctrines of the church; I put forth the great doctrines of the Word of God, of Jesus Christ, as every believer should do. It is not the church's duty as an organization to put forth the Doctrine of Christ; it is the responsibility of every individual believer, as a member of the Body of Christ. Again, the church is not an organization, although it may operate under the umbrella of an organization.
The deacon I mentioned earlier recognizes his Baptist church (i.e., an organization) as having the authority to put forth the truth, but not individual believers. This is wrong. In reality, every believer is a part of THE CHURCH (i.e., the Body of Christ). Jesus never founded a State-licensed organization called “the church.” Rather, Jesus saves those who believe on Him, and then they come together to form a local New Testament church... “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
Jesus is the Foundation of the Church; Not Peter
Jesus Christ Himself is the Foundation of the Church (1st Corinthians 3:11). Peter is NOT the head of the church and never was. Jesus Christ is the “Rock” (Greek, “Petra”) upon which the New Testament Church is built. This is made abundantly clear by Peter himself, in 1st Peter 2:7 ...
“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.”
Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone, the Foundation, upon which all Christianity is built. It is blasphemy to teach that a mere sinful man, such as Peter, could be the head of the Church. This is typical Catholic brainwashing. The name “Peter” in the Greek means “petros” (i.e., a small stone or pebble); BUT, Jesus is referred to as “Petra” (a large rock or mountain) in Matthew 16:18. In the original Greek Jesus said, “Thou art Petros [a little piece of rock], and upon this Petra [bedrock] I will build my church.” Clearly, Jesus was NOT speaking about Peter, because Peter was only a small stone.
Every believer is a member of the Body of Christ, and when two or more of those believers come together in Jesus' name, a local New Testament church has formed. The Authority of that church is the Word of God, Jesus Christ.