The Doctrine of the Church

The church Jesus built (Matt 16:18) has no human creeds, disciplines, manuals, catechisms, etc. The use of such constitutes “vain” worship (Matt 15:9). Nor does it uphold any teaching that originated within the church. I sense that there is no such thing as “church of Christ doctrine.” There is, however, doctrine from the Lord that the church follows. Consider what the New Testament reveals about that doctrine:

1) There is only one. Paul urged Timothy, “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Tim 1:3). Why? Because there is only one true doctrine. In addition to one true body, Spirit, hope, Lord, baptism, and God, there is only one faith (Eph 4:5). This suggests the need for unity in doctrine. To teach something other than the doctrine of Christ is to teach a perversion (Gal 1:6-8).

2) It is sound. Titus was instructed, “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). To be sound is to be wholesome, pure, and uncorrupted. The Lord’s church is careful not to add to or take away from the inspired Word of God. This is why we demand “a thus saith the Lord” and “book, chapter, and verse” preaching.

3) It is good. If Timothy would preach the truth, Paul told him he would be “a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (1 Tim 4:6). The doctrine Timothy followed was good because it was God’s power unto salvation (Rom 1:16). Today the Lord’s church continually holds fast to the same doctrine.

4) It is to be heeded. Great things result when one accepts the doctrine of Christ. The same cannot be said for those who heed the doctrines of men. Members of the Lord’s church consider personally Paul’s instructions to Timothy when he wrote, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:16). Only the doctrine of Christ can make that promise; no other.

5) It is to be obeyed. The Christians in Rome were commended for their obedience to the gospel in the first century. Of them it was said, “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Rom 6:17). Since they obeyed the proper form of doctrine, they were “set free from sin” (Rom 6:18). Obedience is the key to salvation (Hebrews 5:9). Thus, the Lord’s church emphasizes such.

6) It is to be abided in. John taught, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him” (2 John 9-10). As the ole fella’ said, “that passage says what it means and means what is says.”

7) It is not desired by all. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Tim 4:3). How tragic!

by David McPherson

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