What defines a follower of Christ? In speaking with my more conservative friends, they tell me ‘doctrine defines who is, and is not, a true follower of Christ.’ I’m not there. You see, if doctrine defines who is, and isn’t, in the club, we dive into some pretty shallow water. Why? Because we need to ask, whose doctrine?
Over our history, many church have split over what one groups sees as a truer doctrine.
Does 1st Baptist Church of Home Town have a truer doctrine when compared to those heretics who split from 1st Baptist Church of Home Town to form, 2nd Truer Baptist church of Home Town?
In my view, doctrine divides, it’s simply part of the core of doctrine; it says, “We got it right, and everyone else is wrong.”
Doctrine falsely implies that anyone who thinks different, has a different view, is not standing on the true doctrine of Christianity. Doctrine causes one group to discount the other as heretics, false teachers. I believe doctrine is the new law, taking place of the old law. I get it, this is not a teaching the historical church believes is right; for them doctrine is central. Augustine of Hippo said, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
But there are a few problems with this, who defines what is essential?
Have you ever seen charity when doctrines clash?
Doctrine does not determine who is a follower of Christ, following the teachings of Jesus does. Given that, it is not how you view the Trinity, how you see the Bible, how you define the god-head, how you determine who is, or is not, truly saved. What matters is following the teachings of Christ; love the Divine with everything you are; love others with everything you have; forgive those who speak against you, or mean to harm you; remember that everyone has value, and that the Divine created all in love, with love, to share love. When we do this, we live the teachings of Jesus, and doctrine simply divides.
What do you think? Share your voice in the comments below.