By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
We live in an age of unprecedented escape from reason. Instead of folks making an informed decision regarding eternal truths by the use of the bible and reason, feelings and pragmatism rule the day. For many, they reject anything that they simply don't like and embrace ideas that feel right to them. Others will believe in most anything that seems, at the moment, to work. Of course biblical Christianity does include our feelings, and it does 'work', but to use either of those as the main criterion for determining our beliefs is a certain recipe for disaster, temporally and eternally.
Christianity works because it is true. It is NOT true because it seems to work.The latter makes our observations the final arbiter of 'truth' instead of God and His Word. None of our faculties should be allowed to operate autonomously from God. Yet that happens frequently when professing Christians have a supernatural encounter and mis-identify their experience.
How many times have I/you heard someone say: "That spirit must be good or positive, because it FEELS good and positive."? If God's truth/doctrine truly rules our lives, we would not make such foolish observations.
On a similar note, I heard Jerry Springer say in an advertisement regarding his tabloid TV show: "It is all so wrong, but oh so entertaining!" If we immersed ourselves in doctrine, then we would not want to waste our time in trashy entertainment. And in my opinion, Springer is one of the high priests of filthy entertainment.
Many Christians say that they don't care for doctrine. The reason given is that they think that doctrine is divisive or that they simply believe in Jesus and the bible.
However, the simplest definition of 'doctrine' is expressing the teaching of the bible! We are all theologians (not in the technical sense)--the issue is whether we are good or bad theologians. And that depends on whether what we believe (doctrine!) is consistent with the bible.
And when someone says that they simply believe in Jesus, my reply is 'which Jesus?' There are many false notions of who Jesus is. Who is Jesus? To answer that (biblically!) we have to wrestle with the dual nature of Jesus--He is fully God and fully man. That, my friends, is high doctrine!
Every denomination, or non-denominational church, has its doctrinal distinctives. That is fine, but what has given doctrine a black eye in many Christians eyes is when pastors or lay people camp on those distinctives. For example, I am Presbyterian and reformed in my beliefs. I was not raised that way but came to those beliefs by reading the bible. However, on Facebook and elsewhere, I have tried to not camp on reformed distinctives because that is divisive. Besides, I believe that the Lord has mainly called me to cultural analysis, and especially focusing on exposing the schemes of the devil--focusing more distinctly on the biblical view of the 'paranormal'.
In my opinion, the single most important need of the Christian community today is to re-capture a sense of God's holiness--which, of course, is doctrine. R.C. Sproul has written profoundly on this vital subject.
Regardless of our callings, we need to re-capture a love for truth/doctrine which is God honoring. We need to resist the spirit of the age which downplays both reason and truth. What we believe will effect where we spend eternity.
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.