After yesterday’s post, I want to look at the other side of the pendulum: Doctrine. Love is supreme, of that I have no doubt, but without a proper theological understanding of who God is, it’s impossible to articulate Who you love when you’re loving God.
Once someone is ready to hear the Gospel, can you properly articulate it? Do you even know what you believe? Where do you stand on issues such as predestination, the Trinity, the extent of the atonement, eternal security, etc? Do you understand those terms? I firmly believe, and I think I heard it from The Truth Project, that Christians have never been more intellectually lazy than they are now. We have a wealth of knowledge available to us through websites like Google and Wikipedia, but we seldom use those to explore Christian doctrine, do we?
Theology/doctrine is important! Many Christians simply focus on their “walk.” What good is going for a long-distance, multi-year voyage with out a proper map? Who would go sailing without a working compass (or GPS)? A fool! 1 Tim 4:16 puts life (walk) and doctrine on equal footing. You need both, or you’ll wind up lost or ship wrecked in your faith. For more specific dontrinal teachings, you can check out Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (RE: Lit) or the Mars Hill sermons series called “Doctrine.”
However, we can go too far in the other direction. When we know everything but cannot communicate it to people in a way they understand our knowledge is no longer useful. Or even worse, when we begin to use our knowledge to make ourselves feel or appear superior to others, you become a liability and hindrance to others ministering around you. 1 Corinthians 8:1 says that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Therefore, we must ensure that we are lovingly teaching those around us, not just trying to puff our chests out to impress others.
As long as our goal is to glorify God and share Him with others, we will be able to maintain a healthy balance of life and doctrine.