The Exceedingly Great Importance of Doctrine

Is it just me, or has doctrine fallen on some really hard times?

I’m not trying to be funny here, honest. But an exchange I had recently with a friend started me thinking (again) about this issue. Take a look around today’s evangelical fishbowl and you’ll see people who are scared by doctrine, people who are annoyed by doctrine, and people who are flat-out indifferent to doctrine. Rarely will you see people with an earnest love for doctrine.

Of the three reactions named above, I find indifference to be the most unsettling. Why? Because indifference, as Carl Trueman observes, is the plague of modern Western culture in general and evangelicalism in particular. Because it is “at best the result of intellectual laziness, at worst a sign of moral abdication.”

Such indifference is on brazen display in comments like this one: Doctrine really isn’t all that important to me. I just want discipleship. I just want to become more like Christ.

Can anybody else say vague?

We need doctrine. Not because it saves us, but because it is important to understand the whys and wherefores of our Christian faith. Doctrine is teaching, and the crucial teachings of the church are the ones relating to truth about God. And this is unimportant… how?

“It is of exceedingly great importance,” writes Jonathan Edwards, “that we should have right notions and conceptions of the nature, attributes, and perfections of God.

It is the very foundations of all religion, both doctrinal and practical; it is to no purpose to worship God, except we know what we worship… It is impossible we should love, fear, and obey God as we ought, except we know what He is, and have right ideas of His perfections, that render Him lovely and worthy to be feared and obeyed.

Can anybody else say amen?

22 thoughts on “The Exceedingly Great Importance of Doctrine”

  1. Christ and Him Crucified reached bestseller status for one day because Amazon’s algorithm includes the free Kindle giveaways. As you know, it lays out the doctrine of the gospel. In America today, doctrine is as unpopular as bad breath and as shunned as the bubonic plague. The sequel, Nevertheless I Live is the practical application of that gospel doctrine. That should fare far worse than C&HC; nevertheless I write.

    Love you, brother. Thanks for prayers.


    1. Praying for you, Pastor Cardwell. I’m looking forward to reading Nevertheless I Live. Keep writing! “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9)

  2. Another amen!

    I had a recent conversation where the person acknowledged that there was a need for theology but then proceeded to put Christian living in a category completely separate from doctrine. It seems that many prescribe to “Just feel. Don’t think.”, but that’s courtesy of George Lucas not Jesus.

  3. LOUD SHOUT OUT “AMEN”!! Whoever believes on Christ and truly desires to follow Him must know the Scriptures!! As Paul told young Timothy in his second letter chapter 3 verse 16 ” All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”!! But, then he tells him a few verses later in chapter 4 v.3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”
    Thanks for this post Corey!!
    May you be blessed!

  4. Amen!!! I’ve seen many instances of bad doctrine destroying people’s lives, and sometimes driving them away from God. But you said it very well, so I’ll try not to start ranting.

  5. A hearty amen from the pastor of a Foursquare Gospel Church… too many in evangelical and especially charismatic/Pentecostal Christianity are setting aside doctrine for ‘feelings’, and the result is too many nuts and flakes in the church (and sadly, in some pulpits too!). Lord, give us preachers who are not afraid to preach YOUR WORD, and the precious doctrines that come out of the Bible. (As a side note, I have just begun a chapter by chapter sermon series in the Gospel of John which as it stands right now, looks like we will be going through it for a good 4-6 months. I love it!).

  6. I once commented on your blog a long time ago for a chance to win either the Captain America soundtrack or the SH: A Game of Shadows soundtrack, and since then, I have been quietly enjoying your posts quite a bit. But this is only too timely for me, and so I’ll give you your resounding “amen.” Amen! You speak my mind so eloquently, and I greatly appreciate this post. Keep it up, sir, as I look ever forward to future posts of such caliber!

    Blessings from your fellow Floridian brother in Christ.

  7. “The Gospel is what every theological category should be expounding when we do our theology.”
    Tim Keller
    ”Every sermon ought to be about Jesus. It doesn’t matter what passage, or if it’s the Old Testament or the New Testament,it should be Jesus”
    Tim Keller
    Check out this video. Keller’s message here is a result of his own soul searching and two major posts on The Christian Coalition site about, “The Decline of Christianity in America”, and what to do about it.
    He now has a roadmap for renewal called ,”Center Church”, and a renewed emphasis on Christ’s Gospel.
    You should read it too.
    This is the link to the video

    Thanks for putting your gift of writing and your power of the ,”pen”, to this one.
    God bless,

  8. I say, “Amen,” too. I love doctrine, and take it very seriously. I don’t see how one can BE more Christlike without some kind of doctrinal understanding.

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