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Section 7... Living The Faith... The Biblical Christian/
The Christian And Knowledge/ Theology and Doctrine.

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The Christian and Knowledge:
 Theology and Doctrine.

Carol Brooks

One commonly held belief in much of the modern church is that faith is based in the heart therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Thus all too many believers pay little or not attention to '"theology' and 'doctrine' believing that these have little or no relevance to their religious life. They couldnít be more wrong.

Emphasis Mine In All Bible Verses

Introduction

Theology
Definition

The Scriptures
'Knowing' or 'Experiencing' God

Doctrine
Definition
Sound Doctrine
What We Believe Determines Our Actions
Salvation Is Based Not Only On Faith But Whether Or Not We Live Righteous Lives
The Consequences of False Doctrine
Does Sincerity Count?
Are Some Doctrinal Issues Less Or More Important Than Others?
Right Doctrine is Essential to Evangelization
Is Biblical Doctrine Too Difficult/Complex To Grasp?
 


Introduction

One commonly held belief in much of the modern church is that faith is based in the heart therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Thus all too many believers pay little or not attention to '"theology' and 'doctrine' believing that these have little or no relevance to their religious life. This has the advantage to presenting no challenges to their shallow 'easy Christianity' that requires no intellectual effort and allows them to coast along never being stretched or using their God given brains.

Not only are the words "theology" and "doctrine" widely misunderstood but brushed aside by many who do not recognize that both are crucial to saving faith. All Christians have theology and doctrine - the question is whether or not we learned good theology resulting in right doctrine, or whether we learned bad theology resulting in false doctrine.

Considering the many New Testament warnings about sound doctrine, one has to wonder whether those Christians who treat doctrine as minimally important actually read their Bibles.

Take for example Paul's exhortation to both Timothy and Titus about sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:6, Titus 1:9, Titus 2:1) and his warning in 2 Timothy 4:3 - "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires" (Emphasis Added)

Tragically our entertainment oriented, anti-intellectual, often lazy and superficial culture that wants everything including religion in pre-digested, convenient little packages is giving less and less heed to in-depth Biblical study and understanding which leads to right doctrine.

So why is right doctrine important? We need to remember that what a person does and how they live their lives determines whether or not they are saved - as the book of Hebrews unambiguously says 'Without holiness no one will see God'. However, practice (what a person does) is based on what they believe (doctrine). What they believe comes from what they know and understand about God (theology).


Theology

Definition
The word 'ology' is an informal word for an unidentified science or branch of knowledge. The subject is defined by the first part of the word. For example,

    Biology is the study of living organisms.

    Cardiology is the study of the structure, function, and disorders of the heart

    Psychology is the science that deals with mental processes and behavior

    Zoology deals with animals and animal life

Theos is the Greek word for God thus theology can be simply defined as the study of God. Christian theology however, is the study of God as defined in ...


The Scriptures:
All too often people express their idea of what God is like with no explanation as to how they come to the conclusions that they do. However, because no one has ever met God in person and is thus qualified to tell the rest of us about Him, our knowledge of God and His relationship to us depends solely on what He chooses to reveal. And He did so in His Word that very clearly tells us tells us that it provides a lamp for our feet and is sufficient for teaching, correction, and training in righteousness, and equips us for every good work. (Psalms 119:105  and 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Therefore, it is the Bible that must dictate our doctrine and practice. Knowledge of God cannot in any part come from human experience, ideas, or imagination. Nor can it be based on translations that stem from pre bias, misinterpretation and/or out of context Biblical text. See Context Is CRUCIAL

Although theology is routinely assumed to be taught exclusively in colleges or seminaries, there is no question that when it comes to their faith all Christians believe something - and the something they believe stems from whatever theology they have been exposed to.

As an example, Christianity's most basic beliefs ... that there is one God who created the world comes from Christian theology - the study of God as outlined by the Bible. The very gospel - that Jesus as God in human flesh died to pay the penalty of our sin thus saving us from God's wrath and giving us eternal life in His kingdom is nothing but 100% theology.

Thus, the question is not whether or not we have theology but whether or not we learned good theology resulting in true doctrine (what we believe), or whether we learned bad theology resulting in false doctrine. 

Christians who think that theology is best left to the pastor or other church leader are treading very dangerous ground by placing their faith and their eternal destiny not in the hands of the God of the universe, but in the hands of a fallible human. They coast along, never maturing in their faith, never digging any deeper than they absolutely have to.

If you do not scour the Scriptures yourself to see if all said pastor/leader is teaching is Biblical truth (note that a few out of context "proof texts" don't count) then how will you know if your church veers off course and starts teaching false doctrine? Where will you stand if your pastor decides that his church needs to join the 21st century and become a seeker-sensitive or purpose driven church? How many in the congregation who, without the benefit of sound Biblical doctrine, will meekly go along with his ideas. After all, he "should know about such things" and he does cite Bible verses in his arguments for the changes. See Context Is CRUCIAL

    Considering the astronomical stakes, are you willing to risk that you are being "tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming"?  (Ephesians 4:14 NASB)

Systematic theology, is an attempt to formulate an orderly, rational, and coherent, account of the Christian faith and beliefs. Since not all the Bible's teachings on any particular topic are all found in one place, humans have organized the teachings of the Scriptures by subject, collating as many of the pertinent passages as possible. Because this makes it easier to read and study Biblical doctrine in a more systematic way, it can be an extremely useful aid to learning the Scriptures.

However, it pays to remember that all works of systematic theology are, in the final analysis, based on the judgment and conclusions of one or more individuals. And, since even the best of theologians have been known to misinterpret and misconstrue passages all man's work has to be carefully compared with the Bible. The Scriptures themselves have to be the final word, regardless of how scholarly the work appears to be.


'Knowing' or 'Experiencing' God
Although emotions and feelings are an integral part of what makes us human it has to be noted that there is not a single example in the Bible of a godly person's beliefs stemming from their feeling, emotions, or experiences. On the other hand, the importance of "knowing" God is highlighted by (for example) the following verses

    Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. (Hosea 4:1-2 NASB)

    However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.  (Galatians 4:8 NASB)

    ... each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; (1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 NASB)

Not only is contemporary American culture doing all it can to dissuade us from using our minds but that trend has carried over into the church. We have substituted entertainment for solid Biblical study. Which is why, as said by Eric Schumacher

    .. books like "Experiencing God" are so popular, as opposed to "Knowing God". This is demonstrated in our Christian book stores which sell so many collections of inspirational stories, how-to-books, novels, and Christian-entertainment, instead of profound, concentrated doctrinal teachings! This is why the depth of so many church-goer's theology goes no further than a collection of Biblical sounding, pop-Christian slogans and catch-phrases. Their theology is summed up in 'Let go and let God!', 'Do your best and God will do the rest', 'You need to expect to meet God when you...' and 'What Would Jesus Do?', instead of "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4) [01]

Many modern day Christians assure us that we do not need to know God but merely need to feel His presence. Those who appear to do so are often believed to be spiritually superior. The fact that mystical methods so common in the church today bring instant gratification is more than enough to guarantee their success with an experience oriented generation that rarely seems to bother to question whether they are actually having an encounter with Jesus/God.

For example, when it comes to Contemplative Prayer few seem to realize that the reported feelings of God's presence is nothing more than the Alpha or "resting state" of the brain when its activity slows down and emits waves from about 8 to 13 cycles per second. This passive, non-critical and non-analytical state occurs when the person is truly relaxed or half way between being fully awake and asleep. It can be induced by meditation, certain rhythms - the repetition of a single word or prayer, music that is 50 to 80 beats per minute. Walking labyrinths or simply day dreaming can also induce Alpha, as can light hypnosis and biofeedback.

It is well known to teachers of various mystic methods - Buddhist meditators, Hindus, New Agers, Shamans, Witches and 'Christian' mystics alike.

See Section on Contemplative Prayer   and  article on Labyrinths  

Note: While the heart or subjective experiences can play no part in determining what to believe, emotions and feelings are an integral part of what makes us human. We, as people, are made up of body, mind, and spirit, therefore head and heart have to work in tandem.

If we turn off our heads, there is a very real danger of becoming spiritually weird, unbalanced Christians who are not on the path to salvation. If we turn off our hearts, there is a danger of a cold, sterile, religion bereft of any warmth.

While no amount of Biblical study and resulting knowledge should ever bar us from spontaneous feelings - no amount of emotion or feelings can be allowed to dictate what we believe. Without sound Biblical theology we are like rudderless ships easily blown off course by any passing wind.


Doctrine

Definition
The word doctrine has somehow become associated with suffocating laws that are designed to severely limit if not completely eliminate our freedom. This is as far from the truth as it gets. "Doctrine" comes from from the Latin doctrina which simply means instruction or teaching. (Perhaps the late Paul Crouch should have looked up the definition of the word before he opened his mouth and put his foot in it, blabbing about 'doctrinal doo-doo' on public television)

Simply put - doctrine is what a person or organization believes. The doctrine of the church is simply the body of teachings that the church holds to be true and therefore teaches.

Denominations and churches often use their own creeds or written statement of belief that others are expected to agree with. These creeds are often held up as a standard of orthodoxy by which others are judged faithful or unfaithful. Unfortunately, although church doctrine is supposed to be strictly based on what the Scriptures teach with no deviations whatsoever, this is often not the case. This does not mean that all traditions are based on false doctrine, but that many do not agree with what the Bible says.

See The Problem With Creeds

Sound Doctrine
The Bible makes it exceedingly clear that, on the one hand, there is "sound doctrine" and "purity of doctrine". On the other hand it speaks of strange doctrines, different doctrines that distort the gospel of Christ, and even doctrines of demons.

See Doctrines of Demons.
It is a tragedy of monumental proportions that so many of the practices in the 21st century church
are directly or indirectly derived from the occult.

Considering the many New Testament warnings about sound doctrine one has to wonder whether those Christians who treat doctrine as minimally important actually read their Bibles. God's word includes principles, teachings and commandments that no one can has the right to modify in any way. The three thousand souls added to the church on Pentecost continually devoted themselves "to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42) apparently understood this as many of us do not.

In 1 Timothy 4:6-7 Paul contrasted sound doctrine with "worldly fables"

    In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; (1 Timothy 4:6-7 NASB}

and said the people who contradict sound doctrine are to be controverted

    holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:9 NASB}

In 1 Timothy 4:16 Paul warned both Timothy and Titus to watch their doctrine very carefully making sure what they taught was pure and without flaw.

    Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.... Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching (didaskalia); persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4: 13,16 NASB}

    in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified (Titus 2:7 NASB}

Paul also

    urged the the Roman Christians to "mark" and turn away from those who were causing divisions "contrary to the teaching" which they had learned (Romans 16:17 NASB)

    instructed the Corinthians not to go "exceed what is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6).

    and urged Timothy to remain in Ephesus so that he could "instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines" (1 Timothy 1:3 NASB)  

And why is sound doctrine so important? Simply because...


What We Believe Determines Our Actions
An individual's 'right living' is determined by his personal convictions. To put it another way... what a person does (practice) shows not what they pay lip service to, but what they really believe (doctrine). A national survey of 2033 adults undertaken by the Barna Research Group, showed only 4% of adults have a Biblical world view defined by Barna as

    believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

In other words, relatively few people including devoutly religious people have a Biblical world view. What is truly horrifying is that only 9% of the born again segment had a Biblical world view. So what difference does this make? According to the report (All Emphasis Added)

     One of the most striking insights from the research was the influence of such a way of thinking upon people's behavior. Adults with a biblical worldview possessed radically different views on morality, held divergent religious beliefs, and demonstrated vastly different lifestyle choices.

     People's views on morally acceptable behavior are deeply impacted by their world view. Upon comparing the perspectives of those who have a biblical world view with those who do not, the former group were 31 times less likely to accept cohabitation (2% versus 62%, respectively); 18 times less likely to endorse drunkenness (2% versus 36%); 15 times less likely to condone gay sex (2% versus 31%); 12 times less likely to accept profanity 3% versus 37%); and 11 times less likely to describe adultery as morally acceptable (4% versus 44%).

    In addition, less than one-half of one percent of those with a biblical world view said voluntary exposure to pornography was morally acceptable (compared to 39% of other adults), and a similarly miniscule proportion endorsed abortion (compared to 46% of adults who lack a biblical world view).

    Among the more intriguing lifestyle differences were the lesser propensity for those with a biblical world view to gamble (they were eight times less likely to buy lottery tickets and 17 times less likely to place bets); to get drunk (three times less likely); and to view pornography (two times less common). They were also twice as likely to have discussed spiritual matters with other people in the past month and twice as likely to have fasted for religious reasons during the preceding month. While one out of every eight adults who lack a biblical worldview had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse during the prior month, less than one out of every 100 individuals who have such a world view had done so. [02]

The person who affirms all the right things about God but is complacent about doing the right thing has missed the most essential ingredient of their faith. In the Bible the words belief, believe, and faith etc. are never spoken of as merely head knowledge, but in the context of living what one believes.

See What is Holiness?

and

The Myth of Faith Alone

To put it another way..

Salvation Is Based Not Only On Faith But Whether Or Not We Live Righteous Lives
(As the book of Hebrews unambiguously says 'Without holiness no one will see God')

Even in this very liberal day and age, most Christians will agree that those who completely reject Jesus will be lost. However,  there are other factors that will keep professing believers out of God's kingdom. For example,

Calling Jesus "Lord" is Insufficient For Salvation
Jesus Himself said that not everyone who calls Him "Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven reserved for those that do the will of the Father (Vs.21). Mere lip service to Jesus as Lord will not save a person even if he or she were to perform miracles, drive out demons, and prophesy in His name. No one can accuse the Savior of ambiguity when He drew a sharp contrast between those who talk, and those who do.

    "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. "But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:46-49 NASB)

Both Jesus and John could not have made it more clear that to 'know' God and be in a right relationship with Him means keeping His commandments...

    "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15 NASB)

    Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. (John 14:23-24 NASB)

    "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:10 NASB)

    By this we know (Gr. ginosko) that we have come to know (Gr. ginosko) Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know (Gr. ginosko) Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know (Gr. ginosko) that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6 NASB emphasis added)

 At the last judgment, Jesus tells all pretenders to piety who claim to have done many works in his name, that He never knew them

Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew (ginosko )you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.' "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:21-24 NASB)

Obviously, Jesus does not form relationships with people who practice lawlessness - whose pious facade is skin deep.


The Consequences of False Doctrine
All the apostles knew that, unless repented of and forsaken, false doctrines would damn even a so called believing Christian. Thus, It is no wonder that they took an extremely strong stand against false doctrine (Paul going as far as to say that anyone who preaches a different one is cursed).  As the following verses show, false doctrine is anything but harmless. It spreads like leaven: damning, destroying, and dividing

    You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. (Galatians 5:7-9 NASB)

    Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. (Romans 16:17-18 NASB)

Certainly Peter did not mince words when it comes to Christians facing the judgment.

    For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17 NASB) Peter used the word apoleia (translated destruction) to speak of the fate of those who introduce heresies (another word for false doctrine)

    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction (apoleia) upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction (apoleia) is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3 NASB)

    The Greek word apoleia is derived from apollumi, which means to be fully destroyed, or die.

Referring to when Christ will return, 2 Thessalonians 1:8 says He will deal out retribution "to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

    dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 NASB)

 "Eternal Destruction" is a long way from the popular and completely misguided teachings about Hell. See What and Where is Hell?


Does Sincerity Count?
A common belief today is that provided a person is sincere whatever doctrine they happen to believe in is acceptable to God who will save him.

But is this true?

Zealousness Does Not Necessarily Save
The word "zeal" means devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal, and tireless diligence in its furtherance.

The Jews were very zealous in their seeking after God however, they relied their righteousness based on their works, not the righteousness of Christ available to them through faith. This prompted Paul to pray for their salvation, saying their zeal was "not in accordance with knowledge"

    Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:1-3 NASB)

Additionally, two cases from the New Testament make the point that someone can be sincere and religious but sincerely and religiously wrong.

Saul of Tarsus
Saul of Tarsus was a Jew who worshipped the God of his ancestors. He believed himself to be being true to that religion when he persecuted Christians. He consented to the death of Stephen, and began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, whom he would put in prison. (Acts 8:3). In his words...

    "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel (a highly respected Pharisee and teacher of the Law. Acts 5:34), strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. (Acts 22:3-5 NASB)

However, God was having none of it just because Saul was very zealous for Him. The Father knocked Saul off his horse, blinded him, and told him that he was persecuting God Himself which must have shocked Paul more than words can describe. Saul was then told to go into the city of Damascus where he met the devout Ananias who told Saul not to delay, but to

    Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.' (Acts 22:16 NASB)

This leaves the question of whether less 'serious' wrong beliefs are to be corrected?

Apollos
was obviously instrumental in founding the church in Corinth. as Paul wrote.. "I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth" (3:6). The book of Acts speaks very highly of Apollos, telling us that he was "mighty in the Scriptures", a "fervent" and "eloquent" man that had been instructed in the way of the Lord. He was obviously very courageous speaking out "boldly" in the synagogue. (Acts 18:24-25)

It is certain, that any modern reader of this passage would take Apollos to be a very "religious" man. However, Luke adds an interesting detail, one that we would be well advised to pay close attention to. All Apollo's positive qualities, all the instruction that had been given him, and all his zeal, had taken him so far and no further.

    Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:24-28 NASB. Emphasis Added)

Apparently Apollos was not aware that John's baptism was designed to point people towards Jesus and the baptism that His followers would submit to.

When Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos speak, they realized that there was a huge gap in Apollos' knowledge so took him aside and "explained to him the way of God more accurately". Unlike so many modern Christians, Apollos did not get on the defensive when he was told that he was wrong (or at least deficient) in what he was preaching. I am fairly certain that he did not claim that he was being insulted and call Priscilla and Aquila 'heresy hunters' or something equally derogatory. All indications are that Apollos learned, and then went from strength to strength becoming one of the founding fathers of the fledgling church, often working with Paul.

It is not enough to be merely religious. It is not enough to be sincere and zealous. It is not enough to have our 'hearts in the right place'. ... We have to be right in what we are religious, sincere, and zealous about.

It is not a disgrace or a shame for one to be ignorant of certain things, but it is a disgrace for a person to refuse to admit they may be wrong.


Are Some Doctrinal Issues Less Or More Important Than Others?
I am sure that (at least in a few instances) this may be true. However, we should note that in 1 Timothy 4:1 when Paul warned that "in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons", verse three shows that Paul was referring to more than what we consider primary doctrines. He warned against those who were forbidding marriage and prohibiting certain foods.

Although a wrong belief may seem harmless enough there may be unseen and far-reaching consequences. For example many Christians say that the timing of the "rapture" is a non-crucial issue. I beg to differ. Believing the wrong thing can at some point lead to a complete breakdown of faith. I can but imagine the shock, bitterness, confusion that will result when someone who staunchly believed they would be wafted away to heaven before the situation gets really bad finds themselves not only face to face with the anti-Christ but smack bang in the middle of the Great Tribulation. How many will fall away believing that the Bible lied to them?

How many will realize that it was not the Bible that lied to them, but that they themselves who were more than willing to "accept Jesus" if it wasn't going to cost them anything. Perhaps because they were perfectly content to have their ears tickled, they never checked what what the Scriptures said but cheerfully believed the baloney spewed out by authors of best selling novels and other proponents of Easy Christianity.

The Bible itself is very clear...there will be no rapture before the Tribulation. See The Rapture


Right Doctrine is Essential to Evangelization
The Pharisees who followed their own version of God's laws but believed they had a special corner on their religion were extremely zealous in trying to make converts. However, Jesus called them hypocrites and sons of hell, because they were converting people to their false beliefs.

    "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15 NASB)

Anyone preaching a different Gospel is accursed.

    I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:6-9 NASB)

Zeal for evangelizing must be accompanied by right doctrine. No one can adequately tell another about God's greatest gift to humanity unless they themselves have a Biblically accurate understanding of the Gospel.... God's grace, why salvation is necessary, how it is received, and how we can ensure we do not fall off the path.

The most fundamental and vital question that anyone can ask is what must I do to be saved?.. the answer to which is the crux of the New Testament. Yet there are no end of well meaning Christians who, in answer to that life and death question, will inform you that you have to ask Jesus into your heart. Unfortunately this is a meaningless phrase that is very far from accurately communicating the Gospel Message. Here is why we should never use this man-made phrase. Why NOT To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart

Besides which, the more a Christian knows, the better able they are to answer questions or counter objections that an unbeliever may raise. It is a shame to let our own lack of knowledge come in the way of proclaiming the good news of salvation to those who will shortly face God's judgment and death. Many Christians, who are not at all familiar with apologetics, believe that we are required to just "have faith".

However, when faced with an unbeliever or someone who teaches a different Gospel nothing can inspire confidence as much as knowing one has good, sound, grounds for believing what one does. See the evidence the Christian faith is based on HERE


Is Biblical Doctrine Too Difficult/Complex To Grasp?
All the information we need to realize eternal life is contained between the covers of the Bible. It is the the only place we can go to learn about God, how we can live a life pleasing to the Him and what that will mean for us when we draw our last breath.

The problem is that the Bible is not the easiest book to read.

In the first place it is not only very large (66 books with collectively over 1,000 pages) but is made up of several literary genres some of which are more difficult that others to understand.

This may be part of the reason that most Christians seem to assume that Scriptural knowledge has to be obtained through 'experts'. Many seem perfectly content to settle for the never ending pleas for money backed up with the usual "sow a seed and receive a hundredfold in return" hogwash, in place of sound, in-depth, Biblical study. Sadly many of them will never experience the confidence that knowing their faith is objectively true brings.

In fact, I suspect that paying a professional to spoon-feed them one or more times a week is simply taking the easy way out. That so many Christians do not really study the Scriptures for themselves but blindly rely on the teachings from the pulpit is one of the main reasons so that much of the church has lost it's moorings and has been cast adrift on the tides of strange and dangerous doctrines.

It is true that obtaining Scriptural knowledge seems like a daunting task but it happens by degrees. Remember how difficult it was when you first got behind the wheel of a car but, as you persisted and practiced, you gradually became more and more proficient.

So do not let anyone, not your pastor, not the elders in the church - ever tell you that because you have no knowledge of Hebrew or Greek, or because you did not graduate from one or the other seminary or Bible school and do not hold a theological degree, you cannot understand the Bible and need someone to interpret it for you.

See Bible Study - Some Useful (And Very Important) Guidelines. Helpful Hints and Golden Rules -
Some Things You Should Do And What To Avoid Like The Plague. HERE

Spiritual Babes
While there is no question that Jesus said (Matthew 18:3) that unless we became like little children we would not enter the kingdom of heaven, the childlike faith that Jesus commended is a whole hearted and unquestioning trust in God as our heavenly Father and Savior. It bears no resemblance to a childish and immature faith that Paul warned us about when he said

    Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:20 NASB)

Also See Carnal Christians

The author of the book of Hebrews was quite vexed with Christians who refused to proceed beyond the most basic of beliefs, and thus remained spiritual infants. In chapter 5, he focused on going beyond the "elementary principles" of the religion (Vs. 12-13), acquiring the maturity necessary to comprehend the sublime mysteries taught by the Bible (6:1-3) and the danger of apostasy (6:4-6). In his words...

    Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14 NASB)

What is truly tragic is that superficial Christians will never discover the many, many riveting facets of the Scriptures that leave one even more in awe of the God who planned it down to the last minute detail. For instance see

The Seven Feasts of Israel
The most complete description of the Jewish feasts is found in Leviticus 23 each of which have both a historic and prophetic significance. They celebrate a historical event in Israel's past but were also are a prophecy of future events four of which have already come to pass. It is important to note that the Feasts that symbolize a sequence of events were given by God in a set chronological order. Therefore the events that they symbolize will take place in the same exact order. I have read way too many interpretations of the Feasts that jump backwards and forwards between them in an effort to make them fit into pre-conceived end time scenarios. What we need to do is make the order of the Feasts our guideline to coming events instead of scrambling them to fit our ideas.

One other fascinating topic is based on John's seemingly cryptic words in Revelation 21:1 - "there is no longer any sea". See What And Where is Heaven? Part VI ... No More Sea?


End Notes
[01] Eric Schumacher. Theology and the Christian. http://contendforthefaith2.com/theo.html. Link no longer exists

[02] A Biblical Worldview Has a Radical Effect on a Personís Life
https://www.barna.com/research/a-biblical-worldview-has-a-radical-effect-on-a-persons-life/

Theology-Back

The Christian and Knowledge

www.inplainsite.org