Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 6, 1966
NUMBER 22, PAGE 11-12

The Doctrine Of Christ — Vs. — The Doctrine Of Men

Edd Holt

The doctrines of men are many. They are opposed to Christ and His doctrine. They gather not with Christ but scatter, (Matt.12:30). Because of them "the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the Land."

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING RIGHT IN DOCTRINE. You have surely heard it said that it makes no difference what doctrine a man follows, just so he lives right; as if doctrine had nothing to do with right and wrong. We are urged to be tolerant of all kinds of doctrines. Christ was tolerant of people but He had a controversy with the doctrines of men. We are to be like Him. While we love everybody we must "hate every false way." (Psa. 119:104). But you say "I do not like doctrinal sermons," Neither do I unless the doctrine is "the sound doctrine" of Christ. It may be that you were meant in the language of Paul, when he said, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim. 4:3,4). The spirit of the age says, "Give us something soothing — scratch our itching ears — give us what we want and not what we need." But our duty is to teach men their duty — what they need to know, whether they want it or not. (2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 24:24, 25).

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY about the importance of being right in doctrine? Well, first of all, Jesus tells us that a man's worship is vain who teaches for doctrines the commandments of men. He said, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt.15:8,9) "Vain" worship is empty and worthless, it does not please God. How can a man be saved if his worship is vain? How then can one be saved who teaches or follows for doctrines the commandments of men? We must be right in doctrine. Does this offend you? It offended the Pharisees when Christ spake these things. (Matt. 15:12), What shall I say? Jesus has said it for me: "Every plant (every doctrine or institution) which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." (verse 13). That is just how serious it is to be wrong in doctrine.

THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST SAVES. You have heard it said that doctrine can't save you, or that it has nothing to do with one's being saved. But that depends on what the doctrine is. Verily the doctrines of men cannot save -- they make void the word of God. But the doctrine of Christ has to do with our salvation. "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee." (1 Tim. 4:16). We must "practice what we preach" and preach the right doctrine -- and keep it up -- to be saved.

THE DOCTRINES OF MEN DESTROY FAITH. Those who teach them "serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom. 16:17,18). They do not accept the truth themselves and they hinder others from doing the will of God. (Matt. 23:13). Jesus called them "blind guides" and "leaders of the blind" -- both of whom (leaders and followers) shall fall into the ditch. Paul speaks of "Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already (a sample of false doctrines); and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Tim. 2:18). He blames the teachers of the doctrines of men with "divisions and offences" and "deception" (Rom. 16:17,18). He says, "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; (now note) he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions, and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness" or "that godliness is a way of gain" (A R. V. ): from such withdraw thyself." (1 Tim.6:3-5). Read that again, and again, and see what the Lord wants us to think of false teachers and their doctrines. But this is not all.

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy." (1 Tim. 4:1,2). Who are these "seducing spirits." They are men. The American Standard Version of the scriptures says, "some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies." These things have come to pass. The "doctrines of men" (which the Spirit calls "doctrines of devils") caused many to "depart from the faith." But it may be asked, "how can men be so cruel as to teach any kind of doctrine that "overthrows the faith" of men?" The Spirit says they do it "having their conscience seared with a hot iron." (verse 2). The Spirit goes on to name two of such doctrines: "forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats." This is strong language. It is in the language of the Holy Spirit. It is in the Bibles of those who teach and observe the doctrines here condemned as "doctrines of devils". But these are not the only doctrines that cause men to "depart from the faith" and which keep so many from the faith.

THE DOCTRINES OF MEN MAKE VOID THE WORD OF GOD. Jesus said, "Ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition." (Matt. 15:6). The King James version says, "Ye make the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." From the entire reading of Matthew 15:1-13 we see that the doctrines or traditions of men "make void the word of God" "make the commandments of God of none effect" -- make "vain the worship of those who teach or follow them, and are destined to be "rooted up". It is no marvel therefore that "the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land".

Soldiers were taught to fight the dictators whose hands had been put to "destroying the Bible" we were told. But we are expected to "bow and scrape" in the presence of "the clergy" whose unholy hands have been given to marking "VOID" across the Bible by their doctrines and traditions! And what do we do about it? We sleep! Indeed, the inhabitants of the land slumber. They have been lulled to sleep by the smooth and fair speech of false teachers -- the fumes of peace pipes set on fire by hell. (Rom. 16:18; 1 Tim. 4:1, 2). What shall we do? "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Eph. 5:14). "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (the doctrine of Christ) receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." (2 John verses 10 and 11). "Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them", said Paul to those who had learned and obeyed the doctrine of Christ. (Rom.16:17,18; and 6:17,18). "From such withdraw thyself." (1 Tim. 6:5). We are charged to "teach no other doctrine" than Christ's, "neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying." (1 Tim. 1:3,4). Let us not be led astray from the New Testament by "Pied Piper preaching". "Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your soul." (James 1:21). "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." (Col. 3:16).

YOU CANNOT HAVE CHRIST WITHOUT HIS DOCTRINE. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9,) "Whosoever" means "rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief; doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief." Yes, and mother, dad, preacher or priest! "Whosoever" "goeth onward and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God." That, gentle reader, is how serious it is to be wrong in doctrine. It is just that serious to go beyond the New Testament -- which is the doctrine of Christ.

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ," (Acts 16:13), "repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2: 38). This is the way to get into Christ. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal. 3:27). But you must "abide in the doctrine of Christ" in your everyday life, and worship, if you would have God and Christ now and the home eternal with them after a while.

-Montgomery, Alabama