Saturday, January 17, 2009

What Is Right Doctrine

What is "right" doctrine? Would it be possible that the list of "right" doctrines would be very, very short? After all, Paul did not stay for very long in some towns, but he left believers behind him (pagans, untaught in Jewish scriptures) who were expected to carry on with not much to go on.

I came across a really neat phrase which is probably well known to all of you, but was actually brand new to me until not that long ago: "generous orthodoxy." The concept is to have "in the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; in all things charity."

But still, what would be the essentials? My friend gave me a short list that her church, thirty years ago and more, felt was necessary to understand the gospel in its wholeness:

1) The inspiration of the Scriptures.
2) The virgin birth of Jesus.
3) The substitutionary death of Jesus.
4) The bodily resurrection of Jesus.
5) The second coming of Jesus.

It came to mind recently that on That Day Jesus will ask only one question: Do I know you?
That has really given me pause the last couple of weeks. Not "Do you know Me?" But "Do I know you?" He told the goats, "I never knew you." He told the foolish virgins "I don't know you."

That seems to put weight on the idea of "generous orthodxy." If it becomes clear that a person is known by Christ, has His indwelling Spirit, is, in fact, born again, then that person has been accepted by God into the community of believers. We will do well if we welcome that person too.

What's more, since every part of the body has something of worth to contribute to the body, there must be something this person will have too, even in spite of grave differences in doctrinal convictions. We would do well to receive what that person has for us, as well as share what we have for that person.

1 comment:

  1. What I believe is missing from your list is this;

    The indwelling Jesus through the Holy Spirit

    You kind of alluded to it, but it was not in the list.....To "know" Jesus, and be "known" by Jesus is to have intimacy with Him. We can have intimacy with Him because He indwells within us. His Spirit has redeemed our spirit and become the central guiding point to our lives.
    For an excellent description of this (IMHO), see David Flowers blog, The Centrality and Supremecy of Jesus Christ (, and specifically, his ebook 'Knowing Christ in Divine Order' (
    When I began my journey to know the Jesus of the New Testament, I found this simple truth to be foundational to getting to know Jesus intimately, and being able to fully function as a member of Christ's body.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts