Faithful preachers are reporting more and more an attitude that has taken hold of many elders and members in the Lord’s church. That attitude is a dislike for doctrine and doctrinal preaching. There are several reasons why this has come to pass; one being a lack of understanding what constitutes doctrine. According to W.E. Vine, doctrine is “teaching, the act of teaching or instruction” (W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p. 331). To indoctrinate then is to teach, preach and instruct the word of God so that lost souls will be brought to a knowledge of the truth (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Peter 1:22) and so that the faithful will be strengthened (1 Timothy 4:6, 13-16; Titus 2:1-2). The fact is, every page of the Bible is filled with doctrine or teaching.
One reason why many dislike doctrinal preaching is because they think doctrine divides. This is a result of many brethren/non-brethren being confused on many doctrinal issues. This is due mainly to a lack of study on their part, as well as a lack of preaching where they attend. In actuality, to state that doctrine divides is to assert that the word of God divides. This, of course, is simply not the case. The unity of believers is based on the word of God (John 17:20-21; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-3).
A second reason why many dislike doctrinal preaching is because they think they have “outgrown” the need for what they consider the “milk of the word.” I am confident that many hide their true intentions—that being to reconstruct the church of our Lord towards a more moderate, less offensive approach. In other words, liberalism.
Another reason why many dislike doctrinal preaching is because they think love is lacking from the menu. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, love is the basis for preaching, period. When one warns, reproves, rebukes and exhorts it is because of true, genuine love (2 Timothy 4:1-2). When one declares God’s truth on what awaits those outside of Christ, as well as apostate brethren, it is because of love. The exposure of false doctrine (which may include naming false teachers, congregations and denominations) is because of true, genuine love. Those who want to remove doctrinal preaching from the pulpit need to look at the consequences of such actions:
1. The church will lose her distinctiveness as the one true body of Christ.
2. Instrumental music in Christian worship will be viewed a “non-fellowship” issue.
3. Denominational people will come to believe they are Christians, even though they have not obeyed the gospel.
4. The Lord’s people will soon believe that the church of Christ is merely a denomination among denominations.
5. The worship assembly will be turned inward instead of upward. Man’s likes and dislikes will take the place of worshiping God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
6. Biblical preaching will be replaced with a Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale, Joel Osteen type of psychological approach.
7. Those living immoral and worldly lives will feel very comfortable in their sins.
8. The mission and work of the Lord’s church will be turned toward the social gospel with all of its trimmings.
9. The appeal to biblical authority will soon be abandoned.
10. Open fellowship (accepting denominational baptisms) will be advanced and accepted.
11. Church discipline will be viewed as judgmental, unloving and anti-Christ.
12. Women will be given a greater role in the assembly and classroom than the word of God permits.
13. The qualifications of elders and deacons will be weakened so that just about anyone can serve.
14. Social drinking, dancing, mixed bathing and immodest apparel will become so commonplace that one cannot tell any difference between so-called professed Christians and the world.
The truth of the matter, my friend, is many congregations are being led by those who are not converted and love neither Christ, the church, nor the lost (Matthew 7:15-16). Strong, faithful churches of Christ have been, and will continue to be, loyal to doctrinal preaching. The warning of the inspired Paul quickly comes to mind: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). To abandon doctrinal preaching is to abandon Christ.
Rowlett, TX 75030
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