I’ve noticed a dangerous anti-doctrinal pattern lately. There is an idea that’s becoming more and more familiar among my generation of professing believers. It’s the idea of simplicity; to not get bogged down with doctrine, and just keep it simple by only focusing on Jesus.
On the surface, the notion sounds biblically harmonious. What could be wrong with simply focusing on Jesus? It most certainly seems liberating to be free from the dividing lines of doctrine, but I believe there is a soul-threatening danger cloaked within it. And I believe that’s exactly where satan wants you to blindly stay.
The reason that biblical-sound doctrine is so vital to the believer is because without it, we are at the mercy of our feelings and our own instincts about who Jesus really is. If we don’t search the scriptures to know Him more, we simply won’t know who we’re following, or even how to follow Him. Here are a few examples of the Jesus that is followed when doctrine is removed:
- It could be the Jesus that you’ve created in your mind that strangely resembles you. This Jesus never offends you because He overwhelmingly and passively agrees with everything you think. The only biblical quote from this Jesus is “Judge Not!”. This Jesus never divides, and He never offends. He is only love; but not the biblical love. No, this type of love never calls out sin and never calls for repentance. It is the type of love that unconditionally accepts everyone the way they are without change. And because doctrinal truth to stand on is given up, the standard of truth for this Jesus is at the whim of cultural influences. This Jesus is restricted and bound only to how you believe He should be. Sadly, this is the Jesus that most people will believe in.
- It could be the Jesus that was created by God. This Jesus isn’t part of the Triune God, He is a creation. Better yet, He’s actually the Archangel, Michael, personified. This Jesus is believed in by over 8 million professing Christians worldwide. But Because sound doctrine is of no concern, there is no standard of truth to stand on to know that this is not the biblical Jesus.
- It could be the Jesus that turned out not to be the Son of God, but only a good prophet. This Jesus, while certainly performing miracles and signs, did not atone for anyone’s sin. He was a created man, in time, dying a natural death, according to the will of allah. Sound too farfetched? 24% of the world’s population believe in this Jesus. Thats 1.8 billion (and growing) people blindly following this false Jesus.
These are just a few examples of the many ways satan can deceive you if you are not grounded in scripture. Matt Chandler says it best: “If you’re not confident in the authority of the Scriptures, you will be a slave to what sounds right.” I believe that’s where many fall today.
Don’t despise doctrine
While biblical doctrine isn’t required for salvation, it is required for spiritual growth. You will never spiritually outgrow the Word of God. The Bible can be as shallow as needed for the new believer, and the theological depths can ascend far below what is needed for the battle-scarred saint.
You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
The more you immerse yourself in scripture, creating a sound-doctrinal truth to stand firm on, the more you can discern who Jesus really is—and who He isn’t. Remember, the enemy wants you to keep it simple; not wanting you to know who the biblical Jesus really is. Don’t buy into it.