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Doctrines are essential, especially in a religion that is so "relational" as the Christian faith. With being relational, also comes up the issue of subjectivity and interpretation; people tend to interpret scripture based on their past and present experiences, cultural understandings, existing relationships and so on. And while that's not wrong, it could make us go off tangent without doctrines. They keep us centered and objective and ensure that what we are believing in is sound and not something fabricated from our own imagination. What makes sound doctrine? I think the Apostles Creed is a good standard to adhere to. Apart from that, I believe arguments over doctrines happen to be Satan's greatest weapon to divide believers! The father of lies follows a divide and rule policy that keeps us from spreading the good news. By turning our attention to the inconsequential things and keeping Christians so busy arguing, He ensures that they forget all about fruits of the Spirit and love and being salt and light!
Corinthians 2:14 tells us the natural man can not receive the things of the spirit, for they are foolishness to them because they are spiritually discerned. Until we put our complete faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross, that His blood sacrifice has paid our sin debt in full, we do not have the spirit in us. When we trusted Jesus to save us without works, then we get the Holy Spirit of promise. Ephesians 1:13 Unbelievers can not understand the things of God. And the great problem is that no one is preaching the gospel. Where you go to church are you hearing the gospel of all grace to save sinners? Or are you leaning how to live the Christian life without Him. There are many unsaved people believing they are saved by works instead of grace. When Jesus said you will know them by their fruits, He was talking about false teachers that are preaching another gospel. The fruit of the gospel is the gospel. That Jesus blood sacrifice saves us from all sin. That it is a free gift from God, not by any works we could do. Ephesians 2:8-9 Romans 11:6 Galatians 1:8-9 Paul said that any one that perverts the gospel message by preaching another gospel than the gospel of all grace, will be accursed. So when we add anything to Gods grace for salvation, we have perverted the gospel. Any teaching that claims you can't be saved just by believing the gospel is a lie. If we have to do anything to be saved but just accept Jesus payment for all our sin, we are preaching another gospel. Any gospel that adds works of any kind to be saved is a perverted gospel. The problem with all of those things they lead us to believe we are saved by what we do instead of what Jesus did for us and so what we do because we love Him for saving us. Not to save us, that was done at the cross. Many are trusting in their works to save them and they are going to hell and do not know it because no one has told them the truth. What does the bible say. Corinthians 15:1-4 That Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, that He rose again, according to the scriptures. And if we accepted His free gift of salvation by grace, we are saved and can no longer be condemned. Unless we have accepted Jesus blood sacrifice for all sin, we are not saved and are headed for hell, and all the good works and keeping yourself from sin will not save you. Until we have some true believers in the church, that are saved by grace and not by works, then we would have agreement on other doctrines of the faith. We would show grace to others because we are not perfect either. Most believe if they do not commit adultery, steal, lie very much, abort their babies, and do good works, they are saved. Those are all things we should do if we are saved, but have no value is saving a sinner. Lots of people do and believe all those things, but they are still unbelievers because they have never accepted Jesus as their only savior. Jesus is outside most churches knocking on the door waiting for some one to invite Him in. But we are to happy with our self righteousness to hear Him knock. Salvation by works is a false way, and we can only be saved by grace.
"Christian Doctrine" is NOT at all divisive. Division in the "church" is cause by the different "denominations" which are a traditions of men. God calls these an abomination in His sight. The Apostle Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, tells us, in Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, Eph 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Eph 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the UNITY of the Spirit in the bond of peace. When you denominate something, what do you do? Divide it! We have Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterian, Anglican, Freewill Baptists, Church of Christ, Southern Baptists, Church of God, Missionary Baptists and it goes on and on. Many denominations tell us they have THE way of salvation. Can they all be right? NO. What they can all be is wrong! Denominations (find that in the Bible) are confusion created by Satan. 1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. The doctrine you ask about is divisive because it is of man.
In the responses herein we see references to doctrines of various importance along with some scriptural references, and that is good as far as it goes. I look at this historically in a couple ways. First a question: Why did Paul write to the Corinthians? Answer: Because false doctrines and pagan practices were present and growing in their midst. It had been their culture and it needed correction. So sound doctrine corrects false practice. Second, the early church was by and large pure by today's standard. When you became a Christian at that time you gave up everything, sometimes even your life. No fence walking. You were totally committed to faith in Christ. So the doctrine of faith in Christ produced commitment. The persecution of Christians was severe until Constantine declared Christianity the true religion. The day before there had been pagan temples and now they were to become Christian churches, and the church lost its purity and there became a means to assume power by corrupt men. Some good things happened, such as the biblical canon. However, some of the power that was assumed in the region was greater than that of the Caesars. For about 1200 years, the primary recognized church dictated the tenets of the faith through Papal bulls (letters) and edicts. Around the 1500's meetings were held, challenges were made to the church unheeded, and the reformation was born. Warnings of divisions were made by The Catholic church. On that note they were correct. For the reformers the idea of "sola scriptura and sola fide" was the lynchpin. The church of Rome considered itself and the Papacy above Scripture as the authority representing God and still does. All of that leads to a situation today of somewhere around 25000 to 35000 loosely termed "Christian" denominations. Although they would likely deny it the RC's have differences too in practice and beliefs. But the division of Protestantism to such extremes is indicative of a flawed understanding of the whole of the gospel that is a church founded and sustained in the person of Jesus Christ. The truth is in the scripture and sound doctrine is found there and only there. But men are seeking there own prestige and pursuing accolades of others. Consider this my friends. When we get to the book of Revelation Jesus dictates a letter to (THE) seven churches. The point I make here is not whether the numbered seven are literal or figurative. No, the point is that only two of them was good in his sight; Smyrna and Philadelphia. He also sites a couple for false doctrines and practices. The consequences are severe. It would appear from these letters that some churches and their adherents aren't heaven bound (e.g. I will spew you out of mouth) because they don't put Christ first and because they follow false doctrine. To be sure, it affirms salvation as a matter of the heart that trusts in Christ and lives in and for Him. Division is generally not good, but it has happened. Hermeneutically sound doctrine is essential to biblical understanding, but often is ignored. Correction needs to be administered in the church and the leaders need spiritual discipline and discernment. We won't settle it here. Ultimately, we are called to holy living and perfection and can only do that through relationship with Jesus Christ.
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