Time and again the spell-check on my computer has alerted me to a misspelled word.
Imagine, though, a computer for religious writers and for preachers preparing their sermons, equipped with a doctrine-check and a heresy-detector. If the writer commits a theological error, the computer beeps a warning.
Sounds unbelievable? You’re right. There’s no such thing—as far as I know.
But what if there were? Can you imagine trying to program a doctrine-check applicable to everyone? Would there have to be a different program for each denomination? And since many churches have liberal and conservative factions, would there have to be a doctrine-check designed for each?
Is there a standard?
Who has the authority to say what is true doctrinally and what is false? Is there a right and wrong? Or is it all relative? Does each of us have the freedom to decide what to believe? Is there no standard?
Paul writes, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).
Also Paul warns, “. . . there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:7-8).
If there is no doctrinal standard, then what Paul says here makes absolutely no sense.
How do we determine the truth?
Even Paul was subject to a doctrine-check. When he preached at the Berean synagogue, the Jews there “were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Note the measuring stick the Bereans used to determine if what Paul taught was the truth.
Whenever we hear sermons from the pulpit or on TV or radio, and whenever we read articles such as this one, let’s do a doctrine-check, as the Bereans did: “to see whether these things were so.”
If what is taught matches up with God’s word, let’s believe it.
But if it doesn’t . . . .
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/
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