Theology and Doctrine: The fact that all too many believers seem to be under the impression that "theology" and "doctrine" are of minimal importance can be laid in part at the feet of apostate so called "Christian" leaders like Paul Crouch. Many, many Christians today not only hopelessly misunderstand the terms theology and doctrine, but brush them aside as having little relevance to their religious life and practice. Others seem to think that these five dollar words are best left to those who have spent years poring over dusty tomes, or spent at least a year or two in in the halls of academia, and have a string of letters after their names.
Perhaps the words "theology" and "doctrine" gets Christians on the defensive, because they have been taught to believe that their faith must be based in the heart, therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Or perhaps they want no challenges to their shallow 'easy Christianity', which requires no intellectual effort, and allows people to coast along, never being stretched, or using their God given brains.
The fact is that both theology and doctrine are crucial to authentic Christian faith
How to Keep from Getting Spiritually Weird You've got to know doctrine. Sorry, there's no other way. That's the only way to be protected. And remember what I said yesterday if you want to build your faith? Build your knowledge, because knowledge under girds faith. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. You can't know what's theologically weird and avoid it unless you know what's theologically normal.
What basic and common sense rules should we apply to reading Scripture? Anyone can pick up the Book of Books and start reading. However, the Bible is not the product of human imagination, but God’s only written word to us - eternal life contained between it’s covers. This means that the Bible has to occupy a place of great prominence in our lives. Paying a professional to spoon-feed us one or more times a week is simply taking the easy way out and has had devastating consequences. The problem is that the Bible is not the easiest of books to read, understand, absorb and live by. However, we need to remember that obtaining Scriptural knowledge might seem like a daunting task, but it happens by degrees. So here are a few guidelines and a few extremely important warnings as to what not to do.
Context is Crucial
No Biblical author simply strung together a number of lofty sounding phrases disconnected from one another. Since each verse is an integral part of a particular point the author was trying to make, no one should read, much less base their beliefs on, stand alone verses. The reader can only be accurately informed by God's Word the way it is written… in its context. Understanding what the author meant comes not only from the words he wrote, but also by what the overall message of the chapter is intended to convey. But, since this takes a little more time, study and effort, most Christians are content with allowing a verse to be wrested from it's context, and used to convey whatever meaning the speaker/author wishes it to convey which, all too often, is nothing but a corruption of the truth. This perversion of Scriptures is done (whether intentionally or unintentionally) in order to persuade men that whatsoever the false teacher says is based on Biblical truth