What is a doctrine?
WordWeb defines doctrine as… “A belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school”.
Noah Webster defines doctrine as… “In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles. The doctrines of Plato are the principles which he taught. Hence a doctrine may be true or false; it may be a mere tenet or opinion.”
The Net Bible speaks of doctrine….
Net Bible Mark_7:7 They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.'
King James Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain G3155 do they worship G4576 me, teaching for doctrines G1319 the commandments G1778 of men.
Strong’s #G3155 - folly, that is, (adverbially) to no purpose:
Strong’s #G4576 - to revere, that is, adore
Strong’s #G1319 - instruction (the function or the information):
Strong’s #G1778 - an injunction, that is, religious precept:
Injunction 1. A command; order; precept; the direction of a superior vested with authority.
Precept 1. In a general sense, any commandment or order intended as an authoritative rule of action; but applied particularly to commands respecting moral conduct. The ten commandments are so many precepts for the regulation of our moral conduct.
Mark 7:7 and Matthew 15:9 are the only locations in Net Bible, both Old and New Testament that contains the word ‘doctrine/s’ which in a modern understanding is “A belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school”.
According to the Strong’s Greek Dictionary Mark 7:7 and Matthew 15:9 would read something like this…
They ‘revere or adore’ me ‘to no purpose’, teaching as ‘an authoritative belief’ the ‘moral rules’ of men.
What are the moral rules of man? What are the moral rules of God?
Here on the C&MA web site, in particular, each participant should have a knowledge of the Spirit of the Scriptures in order to able to make any distinction between the doctrines of man and the doctrines of Jesus Christ, which are presented here.
The discussions that have been going on in the Deeper Life Forum for some years represent two or more different doctrines. Currently the issue is in regard to holiness. Since the doctrines conflict, they cannot both be the doctrines of Christ. The doctrine of Christ is pure Truth. It is our responsibility to find it as Jesus illustrates in many of his parables regarding the Kingdom of Heaven or of God.
A “holiness” that which is represented as a good tree that cannot produce bad fruit, as a pure life without the flesh, self, or sin being in control. (Always doing what you know is right to do).
On the other side there seems to be the idea of a possible ‘sanctification’ that never arrives at real purity or blamelessness in this life here on earth. Believing that a human cannot mature to the likeness or image of Jesus Christ. Some seem to have the belief that Jesus’ life cannot be our example to follow, that man cannot ever mirror His character. (Mortal man is a sinner and bound to sin until the day he dies. Here is part of the exact quote, “Just because I believe man, while on this earth, is a sinner…”)
These two doctrines are only part of more involved teachings or doctrines that are in opposition to each other and have been around for thousands of years, in one form or another. Much of the New Testament contains letters written to the churches defending the Truth and warning against false teachers, apostles and prophets.
Since the current two doctrines, under discussion, are opposed to each other they cannot both be correct or purely Truth. One must be wrong and the other correct or they may both be in error, as the teachings of man, rather than coming from the mind of God.
I am reminded of the Wisdom of Solomon regarding the two women who claimed the one living baby. How does someone discover or find Truth, real Truth?
Jesus tells us that in the last days false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even those closest and most special to the Lord.
The idea has been put forward, that since there is no desire to change, on either opinion or doctrine, that believers should just be friends and agree to disagree.
Is compromise the best choice? Is that idea from the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Satan as an angel of light? Does the Bible tell us that we should compromise for the sake of “love or friendship” especially on the ideas of sin and the importance of a believer looking like Jesus, because they are a new creation and the Spirit of Christ is living inside their body, as a Temple? How can Light have fellowship with Darkness?
Light is understanding, revelation, exposure and pure openness. Dark is confusion, covering up, hiding, and deception.
I would like to attempt to shed understanding to a very widely misunderstood portion of Scripture, the first chapter of First John verses five thru seven.
“Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.
If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
I could stop there, and I believe the case proved for the need of real Christians to live only in the Light and to be free from sin. When something is made clean, the dirt is all washed away. The Light removes all darkness. There is no darkness in the presence of pure Light.
I will not stop there but go on to a verse that does not seem to agree with the entire rest of the letter in many translations. You cannot be free and clean from all sin while at the same time be a sinner, as many people read and preachers teach. Listen to how the Net Bible reads…
“If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
The Strong’s definitions of the Greek words used here say it this way….
“If we say that we
have (to hold… as possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition) no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Most likely, the idea of having the ‘ability of sinning’ or the fact that we were ‘born with a nature bound to sin’.
All the rest of the letter carries the message that a child of God does not sin after being cleansed from the sins of his past life in the fleshly bondage to the sin nature.
After we have been cleansed, the fruit of our lives represents the sum total of the influences that we surround ourselves with and daily feed on. We can either return to the darkness and sin or move forward into the Light producing more and better fruits of righteousness. James also speaks of those that are double minded or two spirited. They have a foot in the world and a foot in spiritual things. It does not work.
I would like to wrap this up with a little bit of common sense reasoning regarding sin; rebellion, disobedience, missing the mark, doing what you know is wrong, darkness, etc.
I would consider most people to be in agreement that God has angels/spirits that do his bidding and can and do influence mankind. In a similar way Satan has his angels/spirits that do his bidding and also influence mankind.
Both good and evil have varying amounts of influence or control according to the will and submission of the individual. The demoniac demonstrated the power of 1000 demons living within his human body.
Christ is knocking on the door of people’s lives today. Is it not possible that the man, totally surrendered to God, with the Spirit of Christ living within his body, could and should, demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit in his life (more important the fruit of the Spirit)?
Will not the thoughts that are whispered into the mind, either good or evil, not be reflected in the speech and actions of the listening subject as an overflow of the heart?
The Word says, “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”
On the subject of sin, Paul asks the question, “What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
I believe that we can agree that Paul was influenced by the Holy Spirit.
Do we have an example of an Apostle that was influenced by Satan?
I believe that Judas would fit that description as he was known to help himself to the money bag that he carried. It would appear that he did all that the other apostles did in the way of demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit in delivering others from the powers of darkness. The only difference seems to be that he had a problem. He yielded to the temptation of listening to a wrong (evil) spirit on occasion. Finally the Word says that Satan entered into him.
It must have been that spirit which suggested the scheme to get some easy money by identifying Jesus to the guards. What could it hurt; Jesus had removed himself from bad situations in the past?
We know that Judas definitely regretted what he had done, as he saw Jesus being lead away, but he could not take back the consequences of being under the influence of an evil spirit, or Satan, as the Word reports the occasion.
Jesus says that Judas was the son of perdition.
There are so many Scriptures that deal with the followers of Jesus dying to the flesh (the control of our senses; selfishness) or being dead to the power/control of sin. If there ever was eternal security, Judas should have had it, by the life he lived with Jesus Christ.
You must decide what foundation you want to build your life on. Hearing and doing the Word or hearing and ignoring what you hear. Bound by the sin nature for life or set free and bound to the righteousness of Christ in you. Faithfully obeying the Spirit of the Word of God living within or covered by a type of faith, in a grace, that bears no fruit.
Spirits definitely have the power to whisper in our minds and influence our beliefs, our speech and actions. Which spirits would want us to have life; God’s or Satan’s? Which spirits would like to see us deceived, bound and devoured?
Would it be the Holy Spirit or demons that want us to feel free to sin, when the temptations are overwhelming? Which spirits would like to see us bound to serve the flesh and sin?
On the other side of those doctrines, which spirits would encourage us to be free from the bondage to sin; to not be friends with or conformed to the world; to know the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ that we might be salt and light to a world of darkness?
Like it or not you daily choose the spirits you will serve! The battle is in your mind and it is spiritual. God is Spirit and we must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. “If you love me, Jesus says, you will keep my commandments.”
…their ‘heart, that is, the thoughts or feelings (mind)’ is far from me. They ‘revere or adore’ me ‘to no purpose’, teaching as ‘an authoritative belief’ the ‘moral rules’ of men. Mark 7:6-7; Matthew 15:9
(In this generation it is not so much the addition of moral rules as it is the removal of moral rules, along with the removal of the respectful fear of God regarding His rules.)
“And they saw that some of Jesus' disciples ate their bread with unclean hands, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they perform a ritual washing, holding fast to the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. They hold fast to many other traditions: the washing of cups, pots, kettles, and dining couches.)
The Pharisees and the experts in the law asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with unwashed hands?"
He said to them, "Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.'
Having no regard for the command of God, you hold fast to human tradition."
He also said to them, "You neatly reject the commandment of God in order to set up your tradition. For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever insults his father or mother must be put to death.'
But you say that if anyone tells his father or mother, 'Whatever help you would have received from me is corban' (that is, a gift for God), then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this."
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand. There is nothing outside of a person that can defile him by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles him.” Mark 7:2-15
I do not often speak or refer to books beyond the Scriptures, but I was reminded of a book which I read in my youth.
It is entitled, “The Heavenly Man,” the Remarkable True Story of a Chinese Christian, Brother Yun.
I mention it as an example or comparison of the difference in lives when there is a real passion for the Word and Truth. It is a very different life from those that have the Bible easily available and no real persecution for really living for Christ.