Friday, May 29, 2015

Doctrine and Piety

Here's something that I recently read in some book or other:

        sound doctrine is the soul of piety…

One of the things that stood out to me as I read it is that there are lots of Christians who are not persuaded that it's true.

Part of the problem might be definitions. So, what is piety? That's an archaic and useless word to too many Christians. But it's just trying to communicate this thought: a body and soul fully given to working at following Jesus and doing that in a way that shows. That doesn't sound so archaic. And isn't it what Jesus calls for from all who profess to be His disciples?

But then there's this thing 'doctrine'. Why would anyone think that knowing doctrine is important? That sounds so academic. And it is academic if by 'doctrine' you mean something like the infralapsarian view of the order of the decrees of God. But Jesus is Lord is also doctrine. So, while infralapsarianism has little to do with piety, embracing the Lordship of Jesus and all that it means has everything to do with piety. And someone who fails to embrace that doctrine cannot follow Jesus well - or maybe at all.

But, according to the quote, it's not just doctrine that's important. It's sound doctrine. And here the point being made is that there is a difference between doctrine that is correct in what it is saying and doctrine that isn't. Caesar is Lord is also doctrine. But it's not true. There are those who embrace modern variations of that doctrine. And their lives show it. They need to embrace sound doctrine, things like Jesus is Lord.

There are too many Christians who do not see the importance of sound doctrine when it comes to developing piety - or to say it differently, the importance of knowing the truth of Jesus well so that they can follow Him well. God disapproves of that opinion. That's why He had the Bible - with all of its various doctrines - written.