Online Media: Current School of Theology Series
Online Media: School of Theology Archive
Excerpt from the first semester schedule, August 2012
(2 Timothy 1:13)
Doctrine is for every Christian, because every Christian is urged to love God with their mind as well as their hearts and souls (Matthew 22:37). Every Christian is a theologian.
For some, doctrine (statements of truth expressed in propositional form) is problematic. Some suggest that what the church needs is the Bible, not doctrine, as though these two are mutually exclusive. Others regard doctrine as the source of division and strife, seeing doctrinal disagreements as simply the viewpoints of opinionated and unloving individuals. And many have imbibed the spirit of our present culture, viewing truth as relative and being suspicious about all statements that claim to be "truth."
Paul, writing what turned out to be his last letter, urged Timothy to proclaim "the pattern of sound words" (2 Timothy 1:13). Scripture, he tells us, contains a pattern of truth. True, individual authors of Scripture say things in distinctive ways (John does not sound like Luke; Isaiah does not sound like Ezekiel). But, ultimately, the Bible has only one author—the Holy Spirit. That means the Bible cannot contradict itself. Everything—from Genesis to Revelation—is both true and forms a coherent unity. Thus there is a shape to the truth taught in Scripture.
Why is doctrine important? And why is it important for every Christian?
Three reasons rise to the surface:
1. Doctrine helps us to understand the Bible as a whole. What does the Bible teach us about vocation, recreation, money, relationships, or the gift of tongues? "Brothers, do not be children in your thinking… but in your thinking be mature" (1 Corinthians 14:20). If we are to understand what the Bible is teaching us, we need to understand the message of the Bible as a whole.
2. Doctrine helps us engage the world of unbelief. We are to provide a "defense" to any one who asks for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). Knowing the truth aids us in defending the Bible against the philosophies of our time that seek to undermine the Christian faith.
3. Doctrine helps us praise God. In fact, all truth is designed for doxology; its goal is to help us worship and praise God. When we take our eyes off that goal, doctrine "puffs up" and produces pride and factionalism (1 Corinthians 8:1). But when doctrine meets the heart, the result is always a song!
So join us as we begin a journey along the highway of truth.
I look forward to seeing you at Centerpoint on Wednesdays.
Derek W.H. Thomas
This page last updated June 3, 2015.