LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, October 26, 2007

Doctrine Discerns

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith
(1 Timothy 1:5 – ESV)

They say “doctrine divides”, well I like to say it better, doctrine discerns. The Word of God discerns (Hebrews 4:12), its teachings discern, not our feelings as foremost or other qualities, but the Bible and its teachings, and we line up and mature and grow in our discernment as we grow in God’s Word, and then we can discern more accurately (Philippians 1:9-11).

That is why we have some people, who know the Word of God in truth, these people can instantly know if some things are wrong, because they see something that doesn’t line up with biblical teaching. It is not those who get a spooky feeling about it, but those who have renewed their mind and been trained over time to discern. It isn’t their discern-o-meter, or some overtly mystical thing, but that their biblically informed conscience is working well. Yes, it can start out like a “check this out further”, or “check” in our spirit, but our goal should be to go from the “check” or “something doesn’t seem right” experience to the “I know this isn’t right because” experience, and this can happen as we get to know true doctrine more clearly over time.

It is okay, and actually it is very good if we sense something isn’t quite right, and we can’t quite put a finger on it, and so we go and check it according to the Bible (Acts 17:11). It is a right thing to do to test things (1 Thessalonians 5:21), but we want to grow up in God’s Word so much that we know it so well that we can test things quicker and more accurately and we can put a finger on it immediately. So the test isn’t if something seems pure, good, or sincere, but if it matches correct doctrine. A love for the truth, that is what Paul was teaching Timothy, and that was what the false teachers were and always are straying from.

Not that these things are the measure of good doctrine, but that Paul was wanting Timothy to teach good doctrine, and so the love, etc. would be in accordance with godliness. Purity, conscience, and sincerity are not the arbiters of truth. True doctrine will lead to a love that is truthfully pure hearted, has a truthfully good conscience, and a truthfully sincere faith, a true faith grounded in truth. One can be loving, pure in devotion, have a seemingly clean conscience, and be sincere, but still be wrong. Paul isn’t saying that these qualities are what make up good and true doctrine. Paul is saying to stick to true doctrine, as he has taught, and then you will be loving out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

It is not that good doctrine issues from these qualities but good doctrine will issue out these, true love issuing from truth. Ask yourself; do a truly pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith come from us or from God, from being grounded in His truth or from our own efforts? Yes, we want sincere faith, a good conscience, and a pure heart, which will result in true godly love, and these are acquired through God Himself, and He relays these through the renewing of our minds by the truths of the Gospel, by true and right doctrines. We must learn to discern.

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Blogger jazzycat said...

Good solid teaching JD. Unfortunately, we are living in a time when everything including doctrine must be forced through a PC post-modern world-view in order to be validated. Satan is in charge of "PC truth" and we are living in a time when many Christian church movements (emerging as well as mainline protestant) conform to PC truth first and then salvage the doctrine left that meets the standards of the world. They are, in short, ashamed of the cross and penal substitution. They are self-proclaimed "followers in the way of Jesus" and doctrine is something they "deconstruct" and have a "conversation" about as they go about the business of constructing PC doctrine. If the people following these movements had the discernment that JD is talking about, then this would be immediately obvious. That is why discernment is important as JD has pointed out.

Our job is to not only to discern and affirm right doctrine, but also to refute those who oppose it. That is the Biblical model and while our love and compassion should remain solid, we have a duty to pursue, promote, and publish right doctrine.

The person who recently personally criticized the contributors to this blog should understand that, while I (for one) try to evaluate my writings and comments as to civility, I will in no way refrain or tone down my affirmation of sound doctrine and refuting those who oppose it. I am human, far from perfect and will err. However, I do not want my error on judgment day to be, “Wayne you were just to silent when my WORD was being perverted.” I will try to be perfect, but I hope that when I err it will be on the side of being too aggressive. Mary, if you are reading this, I hope you agree and I wish you the best and much discernment.

October 26, 2007 9:55 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

"It is not that good doctrine issues from these qualities but good doctrine will issue out these, true love issuing from truth."

This is a great series, JD! Keep it coming, please.

October 26, 2007 11:01 AM

Blogger Even So... said...

Now looking at the Emergent church or Emerging movement, and considering McLaren, lets look at three statements from his most recent book.

“Jesus in the conventional view has little or nothing to say regarding the world’s global crises.”

“This seed will, against all opposition and odds, prevail over the evil and injustice of humanity and lead to the world’s ongoing transformation into the world God dreams of. All who find in Jesus God’s truth and hope discover the privilege of participating in his ongoing work of personal and global transformation and liberation from evil and injustice.”

“Jesus took that message to the cross, an instrument of torture and cruelty that He used ‘to expose the cruelty and injustice of those in power and instill hope and confidence in the oppressed.’”

The problem is not that Jesus does not address global issues, He does. He addresses the most pressing issue of them all, the issue that subordinates all others, and the one issue that if addressed will indeed lead to other things being made right, but it is our primary issue to make His primary issue primary, it takes the lead, and it cannot be assumed or taken for granted as part of some larger purpose. The gospel IS the purpose.

October 26, 2007 11:59 AM

Blogger Even So... said...

The issue He uses to address all others is the most pervasive and problematic, our sin. He leads men to a relationship, reconciliation to God through His atoning death, and thee is enough work in that. There was a recent video clip that showed members of Solomon’s Porch (Doug Padgitt’s church). In it a woman pontificated about how, if Jesus were here today, He would surely be all about contending for issues such as the global warming crisis, etc. Of course this is not true. Jesus wasn’t as concerned about leading a revolution against Rome by politics or military power back then, and He wouldn’t be leading the parade against climate, political, or even social evil today. He would be concerned primarily today with the same thing He is always concerned with, doing His Father’s will which would be honoring His glory, and He would be concerned with men’s souls, not their social status. He would be concerned with the sinfulness of the planet, not the social injustice of it.

Jesus did not come to liberate us from our social situation, but from our sinful situation. When He comes in the Eschaton, then the world will be made right as He rules with a rod of iron. But in this age, He is not overturning government so as to bring in His kingdom, He is softening hearts and bringing people to God through Him, and they can begin to change the world, yes, but as light bearers, as agents of God’s glory declaring His righteousness and our sinfulness, not as cultural social or political crusaders.

October 26, 2007 12:00 PM

Blogger Even So... said...

In these diagnoses of how traditional orthodoxy, or whatever emergent types may want to call it, like modernist thought, Western presupposition, etc., are all wrong headed, we find a common thread. Here is the big bullet point: They portray us as victims instead of perpetrators. They see humanity as the victims of sin, and it is, but we are the cause of that. God is not dreaming of a better world, He is executing His plan to perfection, which included the execution of His Son. Acts 2:23, to my mind, dispels the emerging movement in one fell swoop.

October 26, 2007 12:01 PM

Blogger Even So... said...

Discernment is necessary or we will look at humanity as primary instead of God, and we will develop doctrine based around what the atonement does for us, instead of what it says about God and His glory.

October 26, 2007 12:04 PM

Blogger Even So... said...

Trying to reconcile the problems of this world and humanity by trying to get people to come together may be a noble sounding goal. However, if we try and combat these things, even underneath the supposed banner of Christ, while subordinating the Gospel message that all need to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ as secondary to the unifying and problem solving work, is to deny Him the primary place in our work. And it is humanism to suggest that we must come together first and then say we believe so and so.

We should not deny others our social action based on their religion, but we should never allow our social action to become the primary motivator for our action. The Gospel is to be our first love and primary reason for doing anything for humanitarian purposes. To do otherwise sublimates the message, in other words, waters it down, and it is washed away in a sea of subjectivity and human primacy.

This is why it will lead directly to other religions seen as being saving and having Christ save them without even calling on His name, which is already happening. This is what will lead to liberal Jews, Muslims, and supposed Christians to try and reconcile perfectly clear texts with their scriptures that tell them that we are not under the same God in practice. This is the way of the one world religion, and we as true Christians will be seen as the enemy of humanity.

October 26, 2007 12:32 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

"...we will develop doctrine based around what the atonement does for us, instead of what it says about God and His glory."

Wow! Something to think about!

October 26, 2007 12:33 PM

Blogger Even So... said...

Might as well turn all that into its own post...

October 26, 2007 12:34 PM

Blogger jazzycat said...

You said..... This is the way of the one world religion, and we as true Christians will be seen as the enemy of humanity.

This is a great example of discernment on your part. The train has already left the station on one world PC religion as we speak.

October 26, 2007 2:39 PM

Blogger Even So... said...

Indeed, it is just becoming more apparent...

October 26, 2007 4:34 PM

Blogger Only Look said...

Good post. The Spirit of Anti-Christ is indeed at work today. I find it ironic that those who preached the righteousness of God in such a poweful way in the past calling men to the truth that if you love the world then the love of the Father is not in you and all the other truths of 1 John being soundly one testimony that being saved and coming to the knowledge of the truth grow from the same seed are now being hinted at as being Anti-Christ while those who teach that those passages that clearly mark out what is Anti-Christ are actually saved people who reject the truth and that if we think they are lost we may be of the Anti-Christ. It is a troubling thing to see the spirit of Satan at work in such a powerful way today but it is only a sign that the return of our Lord Jesus Christ is not too far off. In fact, I heard just the other day from a preacher on BBN radio that in the last days the word spoken of in Daniel meaning being tested is one of a mental anguish and deeply psychological. IOW Satan will be assaulting the Psychy the most and we see it so prevelant today in how he is twisting truth and putting those who love truth into turmoil like barbed wired twisted in bush, but we can find hope in that our spirits burn aflame with the Spirit of God and one day that barbed wire will burn away and crackle like burning thorns.

October 27, 2007 10:19 AM

Blogger Marcian said...

Absolutely, JD. These days anything gained by hard work and rigorous personal application is passed over in favor of much lighter fare. In secular employment, personal Bible study, prayer, etc. I am as guilty as can be. Hard work doesn't come naturally to me, so I must press on to search out the riches of God's truth in His Word. This was a good read this morning.

October 27, 2007 1:02 PM


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