Saturday, August 6, 2005

Doctrine

I was listening to a Desiring God radio program and heard something interesting.  There is a Christian Company in Australia that did massive surveys of people who called themselves Evangelical Christians and found that there was little if any difference statistically between these ‘Evangelical Christians’ and the non Christian world.  This might cause one to despair as Christians are support to be transformed from one degree of righteousness to another by the Holy Spirit.  But, they tried another survey.  This time they only sampled Christians who claimed to be Evangelical Christians and who were interested in doctrine.  Walla!  A radically different pattern of lifestyle was found than the rest of the world!  Surprising?  No.

Consider the reformers. Is it an accident that the reformers such as Calvin, Zwingli, and Luther were heavily interested in doctrine and spent much of their lives in danger because of their passion for doctrinal issues. Is it an accident that these me caused nations to be divided even at the cost of war over these issues.  Is it a surprise that they were willing to die for doctrine? If doctrine truly causes a radically different lifestyle than the reformers who sought change because of doctrines radically dangerous lifestyle makes sense!  Of course there were many people who sought theological revolution for personal profit, but I am talking about those who were interested in doctrine, they were different than the world, German Dukes seeking new power by reformation were worldly and not surprisingly cared little about doctrine.  Should it really be such a surprise that reformers were willing to kill for doctrine!  Consider Numbers 25:
While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, "Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel." And Moses said to the judges of Israel, "Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor."

And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.

And the LORD said to Moses, Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.


Here Phinehas is praised for his passion for the Lords will even in killing adulterers!  How much more great of a sin is it to teach and spread Hearsay about God’s nature!  Doctrine is not about stuffy intellectual knowledge it is about passion!  Passion for God, Passion for truth, passion for justice, passion for Gods commandments, Passion for revivals, Passion for the supremacy of Gods word in all things and for the joy of all peoples, Passion to face death, and passion to kill! (note: I recommend that you strive for all of these passions, by digging deeply into the scriptures through highly skilled theologians (the people interested in doctrine!) except the last one,  I really don’t suggest you do the last one, Please avoid the last one at all costs!)
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