People who don’t read the bible become victims of church doctrine. They also become brittle, easily broken by anyone who contradicts what they know (which isn’t much). They easily fall apart and panic- not knowing which leader to believe and which to follow. They can end up at a point in their life where they no longer know what they believe- and that can put them in mortal fear of death. There is no real strength in doctrine. Just empty brained obedience and chanting. Perhaps it once served a purpose- but that time is no longer. We are past the need for bread. We now need the meat.
Many have heard the word, ‘doctrine’, and have no idea what it really means. I saw a comment, once, from a woman who said, “There is one thing we do not question- and that is church doctrine!” I truly wanted to put my head in my hands. She had no idea what she was talking about. And that grieved me. Doctrine is exactly like the ‘for Dummies’ books. You know, like, ‘Calculus for Dummies’ or ‘SAT for Dummies’ or ‘WWIII for Dummies’. Doctrine is ‘The Bible for Dummies’. It is the shortened, crystallized summation of the copious, overflowing wisdom that is the bible into a series of error filled bullet points. The bible is already as short as it can be made. It can’t be shortened by a word. It already sums up all humanity in relation to God in one place! Not an easy feat. In fact, an impossible feat! The bible is a miracle of clarity and conciseness. To further shorten it is to err in understanding. Doctrine is always wrong for this reason.
Doctrine has been used by church leaders throughout the centuries to help people understand the basics of their faith. It has also been used to prevent heresy or major misunderstandings in the flock. But like all things made by man, it has also been abused in order to control the People and enrich the church. Doctrine and cults go hand in hand for this reason. Watching the history of doctrine and all the injuries that have arisen because of it, I can see why God admonished us from adding or subtracting even one word to or from the bible.
I suppose doctrine once had a valuable place in the church. When the early church began, the bible manuscripts were extremely rare. Many people were illiterate even if the manuscripts were available. The Dark Ages didn’t fare much better. Books were hand written and incredibly expensive. There wasn’t a bible for everyone so the priests had to give instruction to hundreds in a short amount of time. Perhaps the Bible for Dummies was needed then. But we are no longer in those days. It is time to grow up.
I believe that God has fully intended for the human race to proceed and grow in our knowledge of him and his Son exactly as we have. It might look like slow progress, but when I look backward, I can see the exquisite planning behind all that God has done. Everything from first selecting only one People from the earth with whom to form a deep bond to the persecution and expulsion of the early Christians out to the rest of the world- thus bringing God to everyone. Each step offered only so much information to digest. And when the people were ready for the next bite, God gave them another. First God gave the Law to condemn us and teach us that we needed a Savior. He gave us over a thousand years to truly get that concept and then, he sent our Savior. Ta-dah! Each knowledge step had its timing and its perfect purpose. God’s timing was calculated to introduce new knowledge to mankind at distinct points in history. I believe we are at a new point in that journey. Time to nix doctrine and time to digest the WORD.
We are now able to study the Word easily and without any cost at all. We have about 7000 years of hindsight. We have thousands of people who have read, analyzed and pondered the bible’s meaning. We are at the time of human maturity. This is what I believe. Men no longer have any excuse at all to be ignorant of the actual Word of God. And we may no longer use the Reader’s Digest version of the bible. Christ himself severely warned us to not add one word- not even one stroke of a pen- to the bible. Nor to take one out. I believe he meant this with all his heart.
Creating and following doctrine is the exact opposite of what Christ warned. It adds many words and pen-strokes to God’s Word. It contaminates the perfect Word with human understanding (ha!). Whole churches are being led into terrible sin because the congregation is not exhorted to read the bible. Because they do not know the Word, they can be told anything and they will believe. They put their trust into one man, the pastor or priest, instead of God. There is only one way to know God’s mind and heart- the bible.
This is how cults can succeed so brilliantly. They just tell the people what the bible says. And the people, too lazy to read for themselves, just go along- trusting in the charismatic leader. People of good will who wish to know God instead find themselves in cults without even knowing it. It is painful to watch.
It is time to put doctrine to bed. It is time to grow up and graduate from high school. It is time to truly understand. It is time to take responsibility for your own salvation. It is time to honor God with the time it takes to study his divine will.
Christians simply can’t have a real conversation about anything serious because most Christians have not read the bible. They are literally and completely ignorant of the true Word of God. How can a real discussion take place in this environment? It can’t. In fact, bad doctrine can’t even be addressed among Christians because they have no idea what the Word says on the matter! The result is a room full of Christians spouting one doctrine over another! The clever ones will use Google to ask which verses support which doctrine. Nonsense is the result! Every doctrine can be supported that way! In fact, that is what cults do! Only a full comprehension of the whole will ever due. A small scratch at the surface of doctrine causes the person’s entire belief system to crumble. A mere whisper that threatens their shallow, unfounded belief causes panic. Only fear awaits there- love of knowledge and truth must flee.
This is unacceptable at this time in our communal walk with God. Christ is returning and the ultimate test is about to be given. The Powerful Delusion is coming- it is already upon us. The bible warns us that even the elect will be fooled. Yes, most of you will be fooled. Satan himself is coming. And he knows the bible like the back of his hand. He knows how to twist and tweak it. He is lovely and beautiful. He will do good works. How will you not be fooled? Doctrine will fail you- you will be undone. You must be armed with the actual Word of God.
Now. Pick up your bible and read. Our Lord is coming. You must be ready.