The late Vance Havner, long time evangelist and conference speaker, said:
“Plenty of church members are shaky about what they believe, while not many are shaken by what they believe.”
Every Christian is a theologian.
Every Christian is a theologian. When you simply speak something about God, whatever you say, you have become a theologian. Theologian is not a title or office in the church. Every Christian is a theologian. The question is whether or not he's a good theologian.
Today, you will sit at the foot of a theologian and what you think, desire, say, and do will be influenced by how he interprets life—and that theologian is you.
2 John’s message: People who say sound doctrine doesn't matter, only love, don't have either one.
1 Timothy 1:8-11, Jude 3-4 remind us: Wonky doctrine makes a mess of everything we do, not just the things we know.
Matthew 16:21-23 confronts us: If you get the doctrine of the cross wrong, you're in the grip of Satan.
Jesus said the devil is "a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). The devil specializes in unreality, untruth, unmeaning, unmaking.
So, something massive is at stake in what we believe, what we read, what we watch, what we listen to.
Why do we have to study doctrine? Can't we just love God? Who is God? As soon as you begin to answer that question, you're stating doctrine.
What you believe and how you live is largely shaped by whom you fear.
A lot of us would be happier in life and we’d be holier in life if we could get in our heads and in our hearts this one crucial bit of theology: God knows more than us.
Perhaps this is why the early church father, Augustine, said so boldly: "If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don't like, it isn't the gospel you believe but yourself."
Let me offer some practical reminders about why it is necessary to know what you believe and what you don’t…To know what is biblical and what is unbiblical.
1. Doctrine (what we believe and don’t believe) does not kill the church.
It is the lack of doctrine that kills the church. Every heresy has doctrinal and practical ramifications, and every heresy begins with even the slightest unbiblical, unorthodox view of God. Doctrine guards hearts from lies.
2. Christianity is so much more than getting your doctrine right, but it is not less.
You can have good doctrine and still be lost, but there are some doctrines without which you will not be found.
3. We are required to believe, to preach, and to teach what the Bible says is true, not what we want the Bible to say is true.
If you think your theology is original or that "no one has ever seen this before" you are likely either historically ignorant or a heretic. Be cautious of "new" theology.
4. Sound doctrine without love for Jesus Christ ceases to be sound doctrine.
If we choose doctrine over love, or love over doctrine, we create a distortion of New Testament Christianity, and the face of Jesus fades from our world today. But if we strongly lay hold of both doctrine and love together, we make Him visible in the world today.
5. True doctrine is necessary for salvation.
To "believe in Jesus" is OK… But which Jesus? Your answer is a statement of doctrine, and it matters.
6. Doctrine has often been taught in dry and stale and irrelevant ways and that’s to be pitied.
It should never be boring. It should radically affect all you do!
To know what you believe and why lies at the heart of your Christian experience, worship, and everyday living. Wherever we have opportunity, we must be willing to defend the faith, defend the truth, and defend Christ.
For a great start to know what we believe, we suggest the following link for starters: