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Magazine - Christ is Coming Again - March 2014
‘The Importance of Sound Doctrine.’
It would be impossible to over emphasise the importance of sound doctrine in the life of a Christian. Right thinking about all spiritual matters is imperative if we would have right living. As men do not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles, so sound character does not grow out of unsound teaching.
It is the sacred task of all Christians, first as believers and then as teachers, to be certain that beliefs correspond exactly to truth. A precise agreement between belief and fact constitutes soundness in doctrine. We cannot afford to have less.
The apostles not only taught truth but contended for its purity against any who would corrupt it. Paul’s letters resist every effort of false teachers to introduce doctrinal vagaries. John’s letters are sharp with condemnation of those teachers who harassed the young church by denying the incarnation and throwing doubts upon the doctrine of the Trinity, and Jude in his brief but powerful letter rises to heights of burning eloquence as he pours scorn upon evil teachers who would mislead the saints.
Each generation of Christians must look to its beliefs. While truth itself is unchanging, the minds of men are porous vessels out of which truth can leak, and into which error may seep to dilute the truth they contain. The human heart is heretical by nature and runs to error as naturally as a garden to weeds. All a man, a church or a denomination needs do to guarantee deterioration of doctrine is to take everything for granted and do nothing. The untended garden will soon be overrun with weeds, the heart that fails to cultivate truth and root out error will shortly be a theological wilderness, the church or denomination that grows careless on the highway of truth will before long find itself astray, bogged down in some mud flat from which there is no escape.
In every field of human thought and activity accuracy is considered a virtue. To err ever so slightly is to invite serious loss, if not death itself. But in religious thought faithfulness to truth is looked upon as a fault. When men deal with things earthly and temporal they demand truth, when they consider things heavenly and eternal they hedge and hesitate as if truth either could not be discovered or didn’t matter anyway. Is this not simply a proof of unbelief? Unbelief is the cause of human carelessness in religion. The scientist, the physician, the navigator deals with matters he knows are real, and because these things are real the world demands that both teacher and practitioner be skilled in the knowledge of them. The teacher of spiritual things is required to be unsure in his beliefs, ambiguous in his remarks and tolerant of every religious opinion expressed by anyone.
When the Holy Scriptures are rejected as the final authority on religious belief something must be found to take their place. Historically that something has been either reason or sentiment. If reason, the prevailing doctrine has been rationalism, if sentiment, it has been humanism, and sometimes there has been an mixture of the two. The Bible is not quite given up, but neither is it believed and as a result there is an unclear body of beliefs where anything may be true, but nothing may be trusted as being true.
We have become accustomed to the blurred puffs of grey fog that pass for doctrine in modernistic churches, but it is a cause for real alarm that the fog has begun of late to creep into many evangelical churches. From some previously unimpeachable sources come vague statements consisting of a milky mixture of scripture, science and human sentiment that is true to none of its ingredients because each one works to cancel the others out. Certain of our evangelical brethren appear to be labouring under the impression that they are advanced thinkers because they are rethinking and re-evaluating various Bible doctrines, or even divine inspiration itself. They are far from being advanced thinkers, they are merely timid followers of modernism - fifty years behind the times. Little by little evangelical Christians these days are being brainwashed. One evidence is that increasing numbers of them are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe but their beliefs have been so diluted as to be lacking clear definition. Moral power has always accompanied definitive belief. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need right now to return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that lives and abides for ever.
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The Editor’s Letter.
My Dear Friends,
First let me wish you all a real sense of the Lord’s presence and blessing as you move out into a new year. By the time you read this we will be well into the year, but nevertheless may you know His peace and enabling in full measure. Secondly, I apologize that for the past few years I have entered an incorrect number, in Roman Numerals, for the edition volume. I find that time seems to pass faster and faster and in one sense this is quite alarming - where did that hour, day, week, go? But at the same time the faster time flies, the nearer draws the day of His return, blessed fact.
In the previous two editions we have very briefly looked at ‘Christ was Crucified’ and ‘Christ is Risen and Ascended’ and we now come to the wonderful theme, ‘Christ IS Coming Again’. How this should thrill our hearts and nerve our wills to live and work for Him.
May God keep and bless you, till He comes.
Yours in His Name.
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