1. Doctrine is the Enemy of Spirituality
2. We are Not Saved by Doctrine but by Jesus
3. We Must Choose Between Doctrine and Heartfelt Christianity
4. Strong Doctrine is Legalistic Pharaseeism
5. Doctrine Creates Dead Churches

 Doctrine  =  Teaching!

The doctrine of Christ  IS  the teaching of Christ  IS  the word(s) of Christ  IS  the truth from God  through Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-2,  John 1:17,  17:17)  and   thus constitutes the New Testament.

Throughout the history of the Lord’s church, from time to time, there are people who decide too much emphasis is being placed on the “doctrine of Christ” and not enough on the “person of Christ”.

Usually we are told that salvation and Christianity rests in and is dependent on the person Jesus  and not  in or on doctrine, thus spirituality comes from Jesus.

LET'S   CONSIDER   THESE   FALSE  STATEMENTS  WE   SOMETIMES   HEAR!!!

1. DOCTRINE  Is  the  Enemy  of  Spirituality

Without the doctrine/teaching of Christ – Christianity  and salvation and spirituality cannot exist!

John 8:31  Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples;  32 and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Act 11:26  …… they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.


To truly be a Christian (a disciple) one must  abide in Christ’s words (teaching/doctrine)

To be free (from sin) one must  “know”,  i.e.  have intimate relationship with (obey) the truth.

1 Pet 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth…

Many individuals and churches are embarrassed by the doctrine of Christ and more than a few sarcastically ridicule and label “sound doctrine” as “church of Christ doctrine”.

SOME  EXAMPLES

Sing (Vocal Music Only)

Lord’s Supper Every First Day & Only On First Day

Local church Is A Necessary Part of Serving God

No Salvation without Baptism into Christ

Many will not tolerate  “sound doctrine”.   They want “positive platitudes”.

2 Tim 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; ……  4  … they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

2. We  Are  Not  Saved  by  DOCTRINE  but  by  Jesus

This statement often gets “amens” and/or “applause”.

Various preachers and brethren build a wall between the person Jesus and the doctrine from Jesus.  The idea (stated and/or implied) is that we must accept one or the other.  They make it an  either/or  situation  >                                                               Either   Jesus   Or   Doctrine…...

This is a false concept!

The truth is we cannot truly accept one without the other. In fact, there is nothing we can know about the person Jesus except we learn if from the teaching (doctrine) from him. The problem is people want to remove the force and necessity of Bible Authority by making doctrine relevant.

1 Thess 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.                      

Col 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, ……


Instead of “sound doctrine” men want “their own precepts” which will expand the scope of UNION (not unity) with others; and to avoid telling individuals and churches they are not abiding in the “doctrine of Christ” and are not right with God.

Jesus dwells in our hearts by faith (Eph 3:17) which comes by hearing the word of God (Rom 10:17)

The person of Christ is not elevated above the doctrine of Christ they are inseparable – you can’t have one without the other!

There is no personal relationship with Jesus,  no “knowing him”, no  salvation without obeying his word (teaching, i.e. his doctrine).

1 John 2:3  And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;  5  but whoso keepeth his word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected. Hereby we know that we are in him:  6  he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked.

3. We  Must  Choose  Between  DOCTRINE and  Heartfelt  Christianity

We are told that doctrine is against heart-felt Christianity and to get involved with doctrine is to engage in academic gymnastics and analytical exercise….

This is a false statement!

In their study men may get involved in academic gymnastics, but I see more of this in attempts to avoid submission to the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Over and over Paul tells Timothy and Titus to study,  give attention to,  follow  and  teach,  “the sound doctrine”!

There is no Christianity, period, in the absence of doctrine!

Act 11:26  …… the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

John 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;


According to Jesus a Christian is one who continues (abides) in his word (doctrine/teaching) > No doctrine, No Christian!

Rom 6:16  … obedience unto righteousness?  17  … ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered;  18  and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.

4. Strong  DOCTRINE  Is  Legalistic  Phariseeism

Those who say such have no idea why Jesus condemned the pharisees > they think he condemned them for trying to keep God’s word so strictly, for being picky about God’s word.

This is not true – it is a false concept!

They were ALWAYS condemned for NOT keeping God’s word!

Matt 23:23  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Jesus insisted they keep the Law in the smallest of matters!

Jesus insists we keep / abide in / obey the doctrine from him.

Heb 5:9  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

2 Thess 1:7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,    8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 John 9  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Matt 15:9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.


Matt 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? & in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonder-ful works? 23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, & doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.  28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:    29  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Those who stress the person of Jesus and minimize his doctrine are the ones who ARE LIKE the pharisees!

Like the pharisees they are selective of the characteristics of Jesus they want to emulate, wanting to ignore some… Most want to ignore the Jesus who drove the money changers out of the temple (John 2:15-17), who upbraided the false teachers of his day (Matt 15:3-14; 23:13-39), and who on several occasions called for people to be cast into hell fire (Matt 25:41, 46)… He also told those who believed themselves to be children of Abraham, and thus children of God, that they were of their father the Devil (John 8:44).

5. DOCTRINE  Creates  Dead  Churches

“Sound doctrine” does not create dead churches!

The “doctrine of Christ” (God’s word) is the ONLY SOURCE of genuine life, vitality, and enthusiasm. Paul says the “law of (from) the Spirit” produces “life in Christ” – Rom 8:2

It is true, Jesus is life and light, but the only way to receive that life and light is thru his word.  Remember he said,  “…. the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)  and  Peter acknowledged  “thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

NOTE: Enthusiasm in a congregation can be just “hype”, “show”, “contrived externals” parading under the guise or mis-nomer of  “spiritual life”,  with sentiment and emotions reigning as the canon of faith while there is no true body life!

This is the case when doctrine is discounted or minimized.

Unless one is a discerner of spirits, true spiritual life can not be determined by  the “show” of   or  the  “lack” of external behavior.

The ONLY way we can “judge” spiritual life is by comparing activity (what’s done) with the doctrine (truth) from Christ.

ALL of these are FALSE Concepts or Ideas….

Doctrine is the Enemy of Spirituality
We are Not Saved by Doctrine but by Jesus
We Must Choose Between Doctrine and Heartfelt Christianity
Strong Doctrine is Legalistic Pharaseeism
Doctrine Creates Dead Churches

church of Christ - Bryan, Tx
“abiding in the teaching of Christ” - 2 Jn 9