I personally consider doctrine to be of paramount importance in deciding upon a church home and it disturbs me that many, many people today do not base their decision on this whatsoever or consider it inconsequential. God has called us to hold fast to what we believe.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (II Timothy 3:10-17). Now if you don't BELIEVE it anymore, that's one thing. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not saying things like worship or ministries offered or things like that aren't important, but I just can't imagine being a part of a church where I was not on the same page as far as core doctrines.
I realize one should not stereotype people (and I make such an effort not to do that) but I think some --though not all -- of this thinking comes from those who are referred to as emergents or postmoderns.
Take Rob Bell, for instance. His teaching is often classified as postmodernism. He does not believe that all answers can be found in “Scripture alone”. “Brickianity” is the term he uses to describe churches that emphasize doctrine. He says that doctrines should be more like springs, helping people jump joyfully into God.
That sounds good but truly I think it's a load of crap.
There are many, many (too many to count) people I am personally associated with who I know are Pentecostal believers who are now attending churches and even becoming members, lay-ministers, and even full time staff members at churches that are not Pentecostal, hold a belief in eternal security, and much more. I have to shake my head and say, "how?" Okay, so if you truly do not hold Pentecostal beliefs, fine. If you truly believe in eternal security, great. If you truly believe whatever it is that this particular church espouses doctrinally, wonderful. I'm not talking about those who honestly agree with those doctrines. If you don't hold these doctrines, then please by all means do not "hold fast to them." But if you do, what in the world are you doing becoming a member, a lay minister or staff member of a church who doesn't hold fast to the Biblical truths that YOU believe in YOUR HEART?
I do ask myself HOW they can manage to walk away from their true core beliefs, and compromise as such - but I don't have to ask WHY. In most of their cases, they state why.
It could be that this happened to be the church that offered them a paying job.
Their kids like the youth group there.
They like the "relevance of the messages"...
or "talks" as some call them. LOL
They believe in "the vision of the pastor"
The media is out of this world
The worship is hot
3,000 people can't be flocking there for nothing...
yada yada yada...somethin' must be working for them....etc. etc.
have we really gotten to a place where doctrine counts for so little? What is doctrine? The definition of doctrine is a set of beliefs. So when people walk away from that are they essentially saying, "my core beliefs don't matter. What does matter is this hot music." Or, "my beliefs don't matter. What does matter is, my kids think the youth group is phenomenal. Or, "what I really believe in my heart doesn't matter - as long as I'm getting paid."
I do not merely speak of those who agree with my doctrines, but those who also believe differently than I do. I believe if you are a Baptist and truly - honestly - hold the core beliefs that Baptists hold - then to become part of a fellowship that does not believe as you do, would be compromising your beliefs. Why do any of us sell out so easily? Why do people so quickly trade what they BELIEVE for what they FEEL?
I have read articles by postmoderns that say that we need to be "humble" and have an open mind to question everything we believe. Well yes, I certainly believe we should be free to question and search out what we believe. Absolutely. But there comes a time when you must be convinced of truth. And I haven't read a bunch of scripture that says, "hey folks, just be flexible from day to day in what you believe..." but instead I read a whole bunch of stuff calling us to STAND FIRM. In throwing out doctrine and staying 'flexible' from day to day on what we think the Bible is saying, I don't see that as humility but stupidity.
No, I'm not talking about just visiting another church. I'm not talking about "fellowshipping." Please don't misunderstand. I'm talking about becoming an intrical part - a member of a church or staffer.Emergents or postmoderns many times want to downplay (or in some cases do away with) doctrines because they "cause division". The fact is, we must STAND FOR SOMETHING or we'll FALL FOR ANYTHING.
The church in America is not in trouble because we are holding too tightly to scripture. We are, in many cases, falling apart because we aren't holding on tight enough.
Again, I stand amazed that many believers are becoming members or even staff members of churches where in their heart of hearts, they do not agree with the core doctrines of said church (and don't give me the crapola that "well, they are non-denominational"...LOOK AT THEIR STATEMENT OF FAITH or their "what we believe" part of their website or church brochure. Most end up having to post this because enough people ask for it and they can't be so ambiguous anymore to just call themselves a "follower of Jesus." or a "disciple".) If what we believe is so unimportant, then why go to church at all? The thing is, when people who feel like I do on this issue bring anything like this up, you will sometimes quickly be dismissed by people who say, "Oh, it doesn't matter - we're all going to be in heaven together anyway!" While we may all be in heaven together, and praise God for it, does that mean these issues mean absolutely nothing on earth? I don't think it can so quickly and easily be dismissed.
Does it line up with the tenets of faith that you believe?
If some people have truly changed WHAT THEY HONESTLY BELIEVE, then it's not so much the issue I am thinking is there, but if not...if they still hold certain biblical truths in their hearts yet walk away from serving in a fellowship that espouses those beliefs...it's very difficult for me have any respect left for them at all.