What is doctrine, anyway? Isn't it something that unnecessarily
divides Christians and gives people something to fight about?
Shouldn't we just enclose everything under a banner of love?
Actually, doctrine is not only legitimate, it is crucial.
The Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:3,4, "For there will
be a time when they will not put up with sound doctrine, but
according to their own cravings, because they want to hear comfortable
things, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will
turn their ears away from the truth, and instead, be turned aside
to myths." There is a great deal of erroneous doctrine being taught today.
Many have substituted man's ideas for God's truth.
The following is a summary of the results of my doctrinal study and conclusions.
The Bible, God's communication to mankind concerning His Person, acts, and will, is a revelation from God. Revelation is the act of God by which He discloses Himself and His message to man. Throughout the ages He has used various means, of which Christ is the supreme.1 The Bible is the deposit of that particular revelation which is permanently necessary for mankind.2
All Scripture was originated by God and given through human authors whose work was superintended by the Holy Spirit, thereby assuring the absolute accuracy of the original manuscripts without resorting to mechanical dictation.3 By implication, it can be assumed that this divine superintendence extended to the early church councils which recognized, by means of certain criteria, those books which were authentic Scripture. Therefore, Scripture (the Bible) is the absolutely authoritative record of God's will for salvation and godly living.4
In the final phase of the process of God communicating to mankind, the Holy Spirit, due to man's fallen state and corresponding inability to comprehend the things of the Lord, illuminates the Scriptures for the regenerate and the unregenerate alike.5
1Gal. 1:12; Heb. 1:1, 2 22 Tim. 3:16, 17 32 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21 41 Cor. 14:37 51 Cor. 2:14; 1 Cor. 2:10; 2 Cor. 4:4; Jn. 16:8-11.
Throughout the Bible the existence of God is assumed.1 Although there are logical arguments for His existence, the responsibility for the proof of such must ultimately rest with the Spirit of God. God is described in Scripture by His attributes (characteristics or properties); His essence is inexpressible. He is the sovereign, holy, and loving creator and ruler of the universe. Among His other characteristics are unchangeableness (in essence, not methodology), timeless existence, unlimited ability, infinite wisdom, and unrestricted presence.
The Scriptural title 'God' refers to the one God who eternally exists in three coequal Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—"... the same in substance but distinct in subsistence [Ryrie]." This Trinity is not explicitly stated in Scripture but strongly implied in certain statements.2 It can also be inferred from ascriptions of deity to the Son and Holy Spirit.3 The term 'God' can also refer to the Father as distinct from the other two members of the Trinity.4 In this capacity He functions as the begetter of Christ as well as the sender both of Christ and the Holy Spirit—a matter of role, not essence.5 The concept of God as Father also refers to the relationship of God to the Saints—His children.6
1Gen. 1:1 2Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14 3Jn. 1:; Acts 5:3-4, 9 41 Pet. 1:3 5Jn. 3:16; 15:26 61 Jn. 3:2.
Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Godhead or Trinity, being of the very essence of God as well as sharing all the attributes of God.1 He is, therefore, infinite, eternal, and unchanqeable.2 He participated in creation and appeared, in His preincarnate state, as the Angel of Yahweh and apparently as other theophanies.3 His incarnation and works were prophesied in the Old Testament.4 In the incarnation, He retained the full powers and characteristics of deity, yet He gave up the full manifestation of His glory and became fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and was susceptible to normal human weaknesses, such as hunger, yet He was without sin.5 Through His substitutionary, sacrificial death on the cross, He has paid the penalty for all the sins of mankind, providing access to God through His blood.6 Through His bodily resurrection from the grave He has provided victory over death.7 He ascended into heaven where He intercedes for the saints.8 He will one day return to complete His subjection of all things to Himself.9
1Phil. 2:6; Isa. 9:6 2Jn. 1:1; 8:58; Col. 1:17 3Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; Ex. 3:2; Col. 1:15 4Isa. 7:14; 9:6; 53 5Phil. 2:7; Jn. 1:14; Matt.1:20-25; Heb. 4:15 61 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 1:7; 2 Cor. 5:18 7Jn. 20:20; 1 Cor. 15 8Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 7:25 91 Cor. 15:24-28.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit, or Spirit of God, is the third Person of the Trinity.1 This is proved by various implications from Scripture such as; He is one with God2 and is referred to as God,3 He has a distinct personality since He is capable of emotions,4 and He does works only God could do.5 His works include being involved in creation,6 the inspiration of Scripture,7 empowering Old Testament Saints,8 and indwelling New Testament Saints.9 He is responsible for regeneration,10 sealing,11 baptizing believers into the body of Christ,12 and convicting the world.13 In the Christian's life He gives gifts for ministry,14 and empowers the believer for godly living.15
1Matt. 28:19 21 Cor. 2:11 3Acts 5:3, 4 4Eph. 4:30 52 Cor. 3:6 6Gen. 1:2 72 Pet. 1:21 8Exod. 31:3 91 Cor. 6:19 10Jn. 3:5, 6 11Eph. 4:30 121 Cor. 12:13 13Jn. 16:8-11 141 Cor. 12:11; 1 Pet. 4:10 15Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16.
The existence of angels is affirmed hundreds of times in the Bible. These spirit beings1 created by God2 are generally called "angels" (literally "messengers"), but certain ones are called cherubim or seraphim. Certain angels rebelled against God—these are called fallen angels or demons—and their leader and prince is Satan.3
The duties of the elect angels include worshipping and attending God,4 ministering to the saints,5 announcing judgment on the earth,6 and assisting in the execution of judgment.7
The activities of Satan and the evil angels include plotting against and tempting the saints,8 blinding the lost,9 and deceiving the nations.10 Their activities against the believer can be resisted11 and should be prepared for.12
1Heb. 1:14 2Col. 1:16 3Matt. 12:24; 1 Tim. 4:1; Ezek. 28:12-19; Lk. 10:18; 2 Cor. 11:14; Eph. 6:11, 12 4Isa. 6:1-4 5Heb. 1:14 6Rev. 14:6, 7 7Matt. 13:39 81 Thess. 3:5; Eph. 6:11,12 92 Cor. 4:4 10Rev. 20:3 11James 4:7 12Eph. 6:11-13.
Man was created by God directly, on the sixth day of His creative activities,1 and was made in the image of God—probably referring to personality and reason.2 Man is composed of body, soul and spirit.3 Because man sinned in Adam, he incurred physical and spiritual death (separation from God).4 Man, therefore, is a sinner by nature5 and stands under the judicial condemnation of God.6
1Gen. 1:27; 2:7 2Gen. 1:26 31 Thess. 5:23 4Rom. 5:12; Gen. 2:17; Rom. 3:23 5Eph. 2:3; Rom. 3:10-20 6Rom. 1:18-32; Rom. 8:1.
Since God cannot sin,1 and sin existed before Adam ("entered" Rom. 5:12), it seems reasonable to assume that sin began with Satan.2 Sin can be defined as any thought or action which falls short of God's standard—which is His own glory.3 Sin entered the world through Adam's act of disobedience; mankind participated in that sin, thereby incurring physical death as well as spiritual death (separation from God).4 The resultant sin nature is passed directly to each child from his parents.5 Therefore, man stands legally condemned before God, even before his first act of sin.6 In addition man has a constitutional enmity toward God and tendency toward sin.7
11 Jn. 1:5 2Ezek. 28:15 3Rom. 3:23 4Rom. 5:12 5Ps. 51:5 .6Rom. 8:1; Eph. 2:3 .7Rom. 3:10-18; Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21.
All mankind stands under God's condemnation for sin.1 Deliverance from that condemnation is available only through Christ's work on behalf of the sinner,2 and cannot be accomplished through good works.3
Christ's provision for deliverance from sin was accomplished in His death on the cross. His death as a sacrifice for sins was predicted in the Old Testament.4 He died as a substitute for sinners,5 thereby accomplishing redemption through His blood,6 propitiation (satisfaction) of God's wrath,7 and reconciliation with God.8 Because of His death we can have our sins forgiven,9 be pronounced righteous,10 and be free from the power of sin over us.11
The condition for entrance into this salvation—which is freely offered to all men12 —is faith in Christ.13 Repentance (change of mind) is indeed necessary,14 but is included in the act of trusting Christ. No other condition is given in Scripture. As a result of fulfilling the condition of exercising faith in Christ, a person is regenerated, indwelt, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.15 Because salvation is by grace, the believer can never lose it.16
1Rom. 3:9, 23; 8:1 2Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12 3Eph. 2:8, 9; Tit. 3:5 4Jn. 1:29; Isa. 53:5, 7 51 Pet. 3:18 6Heb. 9:12 71 Jn. 4:10 8Rom. 5:10 9Eph. 1:7 10Rom. 5:19 11Rom. 6:6 121 Tim. 4:10; Jn. 3:16 13Eph. 2:8; Acts 16:31 14Lk. 24:47 15Tit. 3:5-7; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 4:30 16Rom. 6:23; 5:10; 1 Pet. 1:3-5.
The church is the body of Christ, composed of all who are baptized by the Holy Spirit into that body.1 It is primarily an organism and not an organization. The church began on the day of Pentecost with the beginning of the Spirit's baptizing ministry.2
The purpose of the church is to glorify God;3 its specific mission is to testify of Christ and make disciples.4 Other duties include mutual edification and care.5
The local church, the visible expression of the invisible body,6 is not given an inflexible organizational structure in Scripture. It is to be shepherded, ruled and guided by pastors, elders and overseers—which terms are interchangeable, emphasizing different aspects of the shepherding ministry.7 The emphasis in shepherding the church should be on serving and feeding, not on ruling.8
Two Scriptural ordinances have been given to the church: baptism and the Lord's supper.9 The Lord's supper is a symbolic memorial of Christ's death. The proper mode of baptism is by immersion in order to symbolize the believer's identification with Christ in death, burial and resurrection.10 Neither ordinance confers grace.
.1Eph. 1:22, 23; 1 Cor. 12:13 .21 Cor. 12:13; Acts 1:5; 11:15 3Eph. 3:10 4Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8 5Eph. 4:12; Rom.15:2; Gal. 6:2 61 Thess. 1:1 7Tit. 1:5 cf. 7; Acts 20:28 81 Pet. 5:1-4 9Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26 10Rom. 6:3-5.
The future for individuals depends on whether they are saved. The souls of the righteous go to be with the Lord,1 to fellowship with Him until the resurrection unto life when their spirits, souls and bodies will be re-united.2 The souls of the unrighteous go to conscious punishment in Hades until their bodies are resurrected so that they can appear at the White Throne Judgment to be sentenced to eternal punishment.3
The next event for the Church will be when the Lord comes to take it to Heaven to be with Him in the Rapture.4 This event will occur before God's wrath is poured out on the earth in the Tribulation.5 At that time God's program with Israel will be resumed, that is the seventieth week of Daniel will take place when God will execute judgment on Israel and the world.6
After the Tribulation, Christ will return bodily to the earth to destroy His enemies and subject all things to Himself.7 He will personally rule the earth for a thousand years; this is the Kingdom of God.8 At the end of this period Satan will lead one last rebellion, culminating in the final destruction of all evil as well as the heavens and earth. Then the new heavens and new earth will be established, which is eternity.9
12 Cor. 5:8 2Jn. 5:28, 29; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 20:4 3Lk. 16:23; Rev. 20:11-15; 2 Pet. 2:9 4Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52 51 Thess. 5:1-9; Rev. 3:10 6Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 3:10; chs. 4-18 7Acts l:11; Rev. 19; 1 Cor. 15:24-28 8Isa. 11:1-10; Rev. 20:2; Dan. 2:44; Lk. 19:11 9Rev. 20:7-15; 2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1-22:5.