THE IMPORTANCE OF APOSTOLIC DOCTRINE
By Apostle Richard Wright
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
Matthew 24:3-5 says, “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives,the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? And Jesus answered and said to them, See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many.”
I don't know how much clearer a passage of Scripture could be than this. Just like we believe that it takes all five of the ascension gift ministries to equip, unify and mature the saints to do the work of the ministry, it also takes all scripture in order for it to be adequate.
What is it that causes people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who move in the gifts of the Spirit and even declare a truth that they have been given...what is it that makes some of these people one day compromise and settle for anything less? (Does this ever happen?)
We see people doing this almost every day. This only tells me that many are still living by their feelings and not by faith in the Word of God. This also indicates that somewhere during the time of their equipping, there was a compromise that led to this inadequacy. Even though we think we believe the Word of God, we must constantly be checking ourselves and our teaching.
Now look at Acts 2: 40-44, “And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation! So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common...” (Remember that the words “teaching” and “doctrine” are the same.)
I believe the real key in the above passage of scripture is found in the two words “continually devoting”. When you study these two very important words, (“all scripture”), you really see where their hearts were and why they prospered in spiritual matters.
IS THERE DIFFERENT DOCTRINE FOR DIFFERENT CHURCHES?
1 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.” “In EVERY church”...Remember that the words “teach” and “doctrine” are the same.
This is where the apostles in the Bible and the apostles today differ...we aren't all teaching the same thing in every church! Many of today's apostles are not demanding reformation and are not dealing with the change the Lord is requiring in His Church. The character issues of ministries are not being dealt with and things in most churches are still very “religious” in nature and more oriented to that which man desires than that which God desires.
IS DOCTRINE IMPORTANT?
Should we know what we believe? Should we know why we believe it?
Compare Christianity with the cults on this issue. Most of the cults equip and train their disciples better than the true Church. Most cult members, including satanists, know what they believe and why they believe it more than most Christians. We need to be periodically passing out test papers on Sunday mornings in place of so many “hallelujahs”. It should be “checkup” time in the Church that belongs to Jesus. Once again: To adequately equip the saints, it must be with “all Scripture”, the whole Word of God. It is the doctrine of the Bible that grounds us and keeps us in the flow of the Spirit of God.
STOP HERE AND READ EPHESIANS 4:11-16
Notice the results as noted in verses 14-15: “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ...”
Notice where “every wind of doctrine” comes from...it comes from men.
I Timothy 4: 17 says, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the Word of God and prayer. In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness...”
These doctrines of demons are the deceitful spirits which are in our churches, leading the Church astray from the doctrines of God. These are the worldly fables that I call Christian fairy tales, and are found in abundance in the Church.
Now see I Timothy 6: 3-5, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”
The word “godliness” simply means “god-like-ness”. Did you ever wonder where all the controversy and disputes in the Church come from? Do we believe that strife, evil suspicions, and friction should be commonplace in our churches? Why are we afraid to do something about it? We need to find out where our people are in respect to their understanding of sound doctrine.
It's check up time: “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
Should not all ministries today receive this solemn charge? Do we not believe that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine? Just look at the word “endure” and this should tell us something. There must be a time of testing to find out if we will “endure”, because sound doctrine always seems to undergo a lot of testing by the religious community.
One of the Biblical qualifications for elders we find is in Titus 1:9, which says, “...Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” Now is the time, in the midst of this current apostolic reformation, to return to this truth. Elders must once again receive this charge to exhort and to refute. According to Hebrews 13:17, there will come a day when all leaders will have to give an account as to what they taught, what they omitted in their teaching, and what they let slip by their attention by ignoring that which may have caused confrontations.
Jesus said of the religious leaders in His time, “...But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” Everything in the Church is all in vain unless we know, believe, teach and practice the doctrines of God which are found in His Word. EVERYTHING!
THE SOURCE OF SOUND DOCTRINE
“So Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” (John 7:16-17) This is clearly the source of sound doctrine!
WHAT ARE WE TO DO ABOUT IT?
Romans 16:17-18 says, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”
Again, see 1 Timothy 4:1, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons...”
IS DOCTRINE IMPORTANT? Keep fighting the good fight of faith!