Doctrine Matters: Why You Should Come to Our Core Class
One of the things our family likes to do on summer vacation is to spend a day at a waterpark. We find a cabana where we can drop our stuff for the day, and we try to stay from the time the park opens until it closes in the late afternoon. We love the big waterslides, we love the lazy river, and we love the big wave pools.
Have you ever been in one of the wave pools at a waterpark? If not, imagine a huge pool (the one we have gone to holds 500,000 gallons of water!) where every ten minutes or so a loud horn sounds, and the pool begins to produce large swells of water. Up and down, you ride the waves. I’ve often experienced it while trying my best to hold on to one of our daughters (who is wearing a lifejacket!) only to find myself knocked around, tossed back and forth, and feeling a little weary when it’s all said and done. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that I should’ve said “we love the big wave pools.”
Big waves may be fun in the safe confines of a pool at the waterpark, but they wouldn’t be so much fun if you were caught in the same large swells in the middle of the ocean. It’s one thing for a child to be tossed by the waves in a waterpark while wearing a lifejacket and having her father close by; it’s another thing for a child to be in a raft, in the ocean, alone, and being tossed back and forth by waves and being carried by the wind further out into the sea. But that’s exactly how the New Testament pictures the Christian life that is not growing up to maturity.
RESCUE AT SEA
One image of the Christian life that is used in the New Testament that may surprise you is that of a child, one who is “tossed to and fro by the waves.” Ephesians 4:14 tells us that the Christian who is not growing to maturity in Christ is like that small child, on a raft, in the middle of the ocean. He is not only being “tossed to and fro by the waves,” he is being “carried about by every wind of doctrine.” He’s far from safety, and drifting further away by every gust of wind and every swell that knocks him around.
The doctrine that Ephesians 4:14 speaks of is false doctrine. The waves of false doctrine threaten to toss us to and fro, but verse 15 throws us a rescue line. The way we are protected from being tossed around by the wind and the waves is by growing to maturity in Christ. “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” And Paul tells us in this passage that this is the job of all of us in the church (v.16 – “the whole body … makes the body grow”) and it is the specific job of the pastor-teachers in the church (v.11–14 – “He gave … the shepherds and teachers … for the building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves…”).
Elsewhere, Paul instructs Timothy and Titus, pastors in their churches, to “teach sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1) and to guard against “anyone who teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness” (1 Tim. 6:3). So the way we are protected from being knocked about by false doctrine is not by avoiding doctrine altogether; it is by being equipped with true doctrine. Right doctrine. Biblical doctrine. The doctrine that grows us into “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
NOT IF, BUT WHICH
Some want to argue that we should avoid doctrine. That doctrine is for seminarians. That doctrine is for teachers. That doctrine is for academic-types, but not for those who just live with an everyday faith in Christ. But the truth is that there is no avoiding doctrine. The word “doctrine” just means “that which is taught.” We all have things we’ve been taught, that we hold to, that we believe about God or Scripture or the Christian Life. We all have doctrine. So the real question is not if we will have doctrine, but which doctrine we will have.
Therefore, the right doctrine – biblical doctrine – matters. The pastors need it. Our teachers need it. You need it. It is a gift of God’s goodness to keep us faithful in the Christian life, to keep us from being tossed by the waves of false doctrine.
That’s why I want to invite you to join us in our Wednesday Core Classes at Mountain Creek. This fall we have been covering The Doctrine of God, and even if you haven’t come to the first few weeks, I would love for you to join us this week.
As we study the doctrine of God, we’re looking at who God is and how he has revealed himself to us in Scripture. This class is a great way for you to grow to maturity by considering this crucial doctrine with us.
This Wednesday (October 6th) we’ll be covering the doctrine of the Trinity. Perhaps you have had questions about the Trinity in the past, or you’ve wondered why it even matters. Come this Wednesday and find out. Far from unimportant, the Trinity is a key distinctive between Christianity and other world religions and is a crucial doctrine for our faith. It is not overstating the case to say that our very salvation depends on the fact that our God is Triune.
The following week (October 13th) we’ll look at God as Creator, followed by a study of the important topic of God’s Providence on October 20th, and then on October 27th we’ll examine God’s Miracles (Have you ever wondered if they still happen today? Come to find out!).
This semester’s Core Classes run through November 17th, meeting weekly on Wednesdays at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary. Drop off your children or youth at their activities on campus, or come on over after you get home from work, and let’s study these doctrines together so that the only waves that knock us around are in the wave pool, not in life.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.