In 1997 it was "Unity ..by means of.. Doctrine" Today's apostasy wishes for unity by means of "tearing down walls" ..of Doctrine. They think that doctrine is so divisive, so they wish to get rid of it. But Paul warns, "note those who cause divisions and snares, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them" (Rom16:17) True Christian unity occurs when everyone is "speaking the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be completely fitted togther in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1Co1:10) After all, "Can two walk together except they are agreed?" (Am3:3) And how is agreement achieved? Unless through the teaching... doctrine.
So what? Big deal! So, the Bible teaches things, and we agree on them. How does that affect my life? According to the dictionary "doctrine" includes 'teaching', but that is the last definition. The primary definitions have to do with: Body of principles presented for acceptance or belief. Also: Rule or principle of law, especially when established by precedent.
What are laws all about? Things that we -do- or -don't- do. Often laws are established by (as the definition says) 'precedent'. What have others done? How have other courts ruled over similar cases? In free societies, at least in this country, judges are elected, thus indicating their 'acceptance' by the populace who vote for them, based on the 'belief' structures of that society. If judges are appointed to higher courts, the ones who appoint and approve are the president and legislators who, ultimately were elected by the populace. If people complain at judicial appointments, well, they voted for those who made the appointments. Ultimately, the supreme law of the land reflects the values and beliefs of the society.
So, what the Christian must decide is: -WHICH- doctrine do they hold to? And then, once that is decided, 'how' is it known that they are abiding by that doctrine of choice?
Last month we observed that Faith ("I believe") must have an "object". Is faith in -self-, or in -God-? And these two are actually related. If we claim to have faith in God, then what are God's doctrines? And how do we know we are part of that faith/doctrine?
A quaint expression we use around here regularly. Dogs bark, ducks quack, cats meow....and Christians -behave- like Christians.
"And Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves....and all the crowd was astonished at His doctrine" (Mk11:15-18)
A sorcerer was trying to thwart the Gospel message, so Paul commands: "now, lo, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind...and immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw WHAT HAD BEEN DONE, being astonished at the DOCTRINE of the Lord" (Ac13:6-12)
And this began at least as far back as the early 70s. I've shared this before, but it fits here again. After two years at Bible school I transferred to a secular university to pursue a music degree. But also immediately looked up one of the college "christian" groups for fellowship. As I would attend the Bible studies, everybody was allowed to "share". There was no real 'teacher' as such, but more like a 'discussion leader'. Along with everybody else, my contributions were welcomed...UNTIL I would stray from their pack mentality, and tried to bring the group's focus back on the Word of God, what it -SAYS-, and how that should, in "application", affect THE WAY WE LIVE. Any such notions caused them -all- to bristle up and give me the label as "JUDGMENTAL". Now mind you...I did not point fingers at any of them individually and tell them -you- need to "change your behavior". I would just put this out there 'generically', and perhaps mention a couple of specifics that characterized those times.
The characteristic of those times: it was the height of the hippy movement, activists rebelling against our involvement in Viet Nam with riots here and there and sit-ins at various places, and the scandals of Nixon and Watergate. It was about smoking pot, doing LSD, and free love. In such a climate, so-called "christians" were letting their hair grow long (I never did), wearing the provocative fashions of the day...and even after these 'studies' where I was labelled "judgmental", I happened upon a couple of "christians" (from one of these campus groups) sharing a sleeping bag on some occasion.
Now today, the lewdness and lasciviousness has worked its way, fully, into the church meetings and onto the platform. So, when they have brought the world into the church, is it at all surprising that they wish to "tear down walls" of doctrine. It would be surprising if they didn't want to do that. And they have watered down their Scripture 'translations' to reflect their immorality.
If we don't have doctrine, then nobody can tell me "how to live". With no authority it then becomes, "Every man did what was right in his own eyes" (Jdg21:25)
But Moses had chided Israel: "You shall not do as we are doing here today; every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes;" (De12:8)
Remember: "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but Jehovah ponders the hearts." (Pr21:2)
How do we know what is right in God's eyes? Doctrine. And when Paul exhorts Titus to teach "sound doctrine", how does he continue to build the related context? -WORKS- The rest of Titus ch2. For details, please read it. But let's look at the highlights...
God never accepts us "just as we are" with "no need to change", but the Salvation Jesus offers is "-from- all lawlessness (not to remain 'in' it)...-unto- good works (the "new creation" 2Co5:17)" (see also: Eph2:8-10, Ga5:19-26, Eph5:1-12, Col3:1-25, etc)
And if today's apostasy seeks to "tear down walls"; well, what they are unwittingly admitting to is that they are seeking to, among other things, rip these exhortations out of the Scriptures.
But Paul exhorts the preacher to: "Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you." (vs15)