Doctrine Divides? No, Doctrine (and Creeds) Help Define!
John Samson, pastor of Faith Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona, recently posted on the importance of, and attention that should be given to, the Creeds of the church.
He says, in part:
"'Doctrine divides!' That's the popular belief of our culture today, as its sails on the shifting sea of modern day relativism. Our generation shouts out, 'It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere,' yet the Bible portrays a very different message.
We have to admit that doctrine does in fact divide. It divides truth from error, the true prophet from the false prophet, and the real Christ from the counterfeit.
Some say 'all I want is a relationship with God' not some dead creed or theology. I am all for knowing God intimately, but we need to know the difference between the real God and the many false ones. If someone wants to know Jesus, they first need to make clear which 'Jesus' they are referring to: the 'Jesus' of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) who is the spirit brother of Lucifer, the result of God the Father's sexual union with Mary?; or perhaps the 'Jesus' of the Watchtower organization (Jehovah's Witnesses) who is a created though highly elevated god?; or perhaps the 'Jesus' of Islam who was never the Son of God but merely a highly esteemed prophet, who was whisked away from the cross and never suffered death? Exactly which Jesus - for there are many out there?
. . .
Lets remember that the Judaizers in the Galatian church had many things right. They were probably very orthodox on a whole number of issues. They would no doubt affirm belief in the one true God, and that Jesus Christ was the long awaited Messiah. They wished to be included in the Christian assembly and I feel sure that they would have spoken about Christ with very affectionate terms. Yet, they added just ONE thing to the biblical Gospel (happened to be circumcision in their case) and the Apostle Paul pronounced the anathema (eternal curse) of God upon them (Galatians 1:6-9), calling them "false brothers" (Galatians 2:4) - not merely 'brothers who have a different perspective with whom we agree to disagree' but in fact, people who looked and acted like brothers, but who were nothing of the kind.
. . .
Many in our own day are able to speak favorably about God and about Christ, but exactly which god and which Christ? If they are not honoring the one true God, then they are honoring a false one, and the sad reality is that false gods cannot save for the simple reason that they do not actually exist.
In this ocean of change, there stands a bedrock that has stood the test of time. It is an ancient creed that offers a sure and safe haven, and is an anchor in a theological world adrift and deceived. Christians throughout the centuries have built their lives on it, believing that its statements are merely reflections of what the Bible teaches about God, His Son, Jesus Christ, His atoning work and the life the Holy Spirit brings to His Church."
Very well said, Pastor Samson. Thank you!
For more on creeds, please see my earlier post: Study of Church History: Critical and Essential.