“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive” (Romans 16:17-18).
“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3).
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).
Not long ago I came across some books by a particular *author. In his books, as well as on his website, he describes himself as an author, philosopher, and storyteller. He boasts of overturning traditional religious notions and ideas. One of his desires, by his own admission, is to do away with Christian doctrines. He claims they are distracting and divisive. This reminds me of people who say, “Don’t give me doctrines, just give me Jesus!”
No doubt this man is intelligent, as his showcase of academic achievements reveal. Nevertheless, his desire to eliminate Christian doctrines is not only wrong, it reveals his own ignorance of the matter. While it is true people do allow secondary doctrines to divide, it is also true that primary doctrines will divide! Truth is offensive and divisive to those who do not desire it.
Doctrine simply means “teaching.” Thus, there are teachings that are in accordance to the truth, and there are teachings that are not. Does it all really matter?
Does it matter if Jesus is, indeed, God and the only way to heaven? Does it matter if hell is real, and whether or not it is eternal? The importance of these doctrines are more evident, but what about the doctrine of the virgin birth? If Jesus was born simply in the same manner as us, He would have our sinful nature—leaving us without a Savior!
The Bible supports the importance of sound doctrine, and the apostles declare that purity and godliness are in accordance with sound doctrine. So, does doctrine matter? Absolutely. To jettison doctrine, truth is cast off along with it. To cast off truth, one must also throw off Jesus and His teachings! While the author I mentioned shows himself to be quite smart, beneath all his theological verbiage you will find that he is simply promoting his version of unbelief.
*The reason I do not share his name is twofold: first, in no way is my intention to slander the individual, and second, I do not desire to advertise his works.