I recently learned that a church I formerly pastored has issued a new policy statement wherein the body said its unity was not based on an “adherence to a particular set of doctrinal beliefs.” They’ve chosen, instead, to embrace “a broad diversity” of opinions on scriptural interpretation and have expunged their Statement of Beliefs from their website. I continue to hear stories of other churches capitulating to the culture, embracing that which is not of God, and falling away from the faith once received. Heartbreaking devolution.
An article on Open the Bible succinctly delineates why sound doctrine is so important…”Sound doctrine will reflect God’s intent for His Word. It will judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12); be useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16); thoroughly equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17); be a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105); keep us on the path of purity (Psalm 119:9); give understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130); and grow our salvation (1 Peter 2:2). Paul speaks of and warns about unsound doctrine in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, which says, ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.’
“But, does it really matter what we believe as long as we believe in Jesus Christ? The quick answer: Yes. Because our faith is based on an incredibly specific message, modifying or distorting it can have detrimental and eternal impact. The gospel is the basis for our salvation, therefore we need to ‘watch [our] life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers’ (1 Timothy 4:16). Essentially what Paul is urging here is, ‘If you don’t pay attention to your life or what doctrine says, you will lose yourself and anyone who hears what you say.’
“Consider this generation of media overload coming at us left and right. Perhaps now, more than ever, we must watch carefully for doctrine that scratches ‘itching ears.’ Scripture warns that many false prophets have gone into the world (1 John 4:1) and are inevitable, so it’s critical to understand what false doctrine looks like and how we can respond.”