There was a time not too long ago when reason was regarded as one of the highest virtues, and a theologian was regarded as highly as a scientist.
No longer. Today, reason has been replaced by emotion. This attitude has even infiltrated the church. “Don’t give me dead doctrines and theology,” some will say, “just give me the Holy Spirit.” Though this sounds spiritual, it is highly foolish.
Of course, there is a place in our Christian faith for feeling, but not at the expense of sound doctrine. God is an emotional Being who created us as emotional beings, but He is also a rational Being who has constructed the universe by rational laws. We are to love Him with our minds as well as our hearts.
To underestimate the value of good doctrine threatens the essence of our faith. Without sound doctrine, we can never know if we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit or an unclean spirit. A lack of sound doctrine allows Satan, the father of lies, to exploit and destroy gullible people while they feel warm and fuzzy.
In the Christian faith, doctrine is based upon facts. Christianity is not an idea, but a historical faith. Its doctrines are based upon the actual work and consistent character of God through Jesus Christ and His people over 2,000 years of recorded time.
These works of God in history are recorded in the Bible for all to read. Doctrines are formed on the basis of what God has done in real people, not upon an enlightenment experience someone had on a mountain top.
The life of Christ, his death and resurrection lie at the crux of our faith. People saw, touched and spoke to the living Christ. They experienced His healing, deliverance and mercy in multiple ways. More than five hundred people saw Him alive after His resurrection. If these events never happened, all of our religious emotion is wasted.
Our doctrines regarding God, Jesus Christ, sin, salvation, prayer, truth, repentance, baptism, the Holy Spirit, the holy life, eternal life and death, the Great Commission, the church, scriptural inspiration—all these doctrines depend upon historical facts, not arbitrary decisions made by people who get emotionally “charged” by them.
In Christian faith, religious emotion is never the beginning or end in itself, but the product of what God does in our lives. We can know what is or is not of God only if we have sound doctrines based upon God’s workings in history that help us to discern genuine from counterfeit.
We develop sound doctrine as we regularly study our Bibles and its record of God’s work. Soon, we begin to sense that certain ideas in our culture are right while others are wrong. We become less likely to become cultural victims and develop a foundation for true transformation by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2).
The Bible and sound doctrine are profound gifts of God’s grace. Let us grasp them, thanking Him who has given His life to free us from the enemy’s lies. Let us also remember to pray and give so that hundreds of millions of people in India still without this truth will walk out of darkness and into His Light.