Welcome to SmithvilleChurch.org


      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN


Doctrine About Doctrine!

The debate over the importance of doctrine among groups who claim to believe the Bible is not a new one. Revelation 2:1217 records Jesus' letter to the church of Christ at first century Pergamos. After commending them for their positive points, Jesus adds this rebuke in verses 14-15:  "But I have a few  things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent,  or else I wi I I come to you qui ckly and wi I I  fight against them with the sword of My mouth. " You don't have to have a Ph'd from a divinity school or a "theological cemetery" to conclude Jesus is not very happy about the doctrines being taught by some at Pergamos and apparently tolerated even by those who did not believe or teach the doctrines themselves. He is "against them" and, furthermore,  He refers to a doctrine which He hates! This is a side of Jesus many modem day believers simply do not want to accept The Son of God did not believe that doctrine is unimportant. He taught doctrine about doctrines.

Years ago I was invited to a fellowship group attended by people from a number of different religious groups. A short letter explained the group's philosophy. Among other things it said, "We represent a number of different churches and traditions. Our faith in Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit offers us a fundamental  doctrinal unity. Concerning peripheral doctrinal issues, we set them aside, accepting these differences  and agreeing to disagree that the world might believe that the Father sent His only Son to redeem it. " The doctrines they considered "peripheral" enough to set aside turned out to be things like baptism for the remission of sin and the oneness and unity of the body of Christ as taught by the Holy Spirit Himself in Scriptures like Acts 2:3 38 and Ephesians 4:4-6! Jesus said in John 7:16, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent me." The most compelling issue about doctrine is not whether it divides or unites people. The compelling issue is whose doctrine is it - man's or God's?! The doctrine that doctrine is not important is a doctrine - but it is not God's doctrine! Marlin Connelly once wrote, "Occasionally a Nashville newspaper reports that some religious group has moved to 'bring doctrine into line with modem  life.' Let us all, rather, be concerned about bringing modem life into harmony with the apostles' teaching (Acts 2:42)." God help His church uphold His doctrine about doctrine!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ