Friday, October 13, 2006
Doctrine is a matter of the heart
On of the saddest things about evangelicalism today is the general aversion that exists to doctrine. I generalise of course, and thankfully there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.
Now, it is worth adding, that the word itself sends wrong signals when similar words do not. It sounds dry and dusty, not vital and refreshing. Doctrine is of course "teaching", and Christian doctrine is what the Bible teaches about x, y and z. But even that is too flat.
You read about Bible doctrine in hefty tomes. But you hear the same teachings in prayer, praise, and evangelism. Doctrine is found in the anguished confession of sin, and thank God, it is found in the sweet assurance of faith resting in the finished work of Christ. It is doctrine that brings comfort to the dying, and to the grieving.
What makes Bible doctrine glorious is that it comes from the Triune God, and it is supremely about the Triune God. It is his words about his work, his mighty acts of creation, providence and redemption. Without doctrine what grasp would we have of these things? How could we call on him? How could we sing his praises? Doctrine is a matter of the heart.
Here are some more thoughts on creeds from B. B. Warfield:
"A scientific statement of vital truth, originating in organic controversy, cannot possibly lack in spiritual quality. It is the product of intellect working only under the impulse of the heart, and must be a monument of the religious life."
"...these creeds are not the products of metaphysical speculation, as many who know infinitesimally little about them are prone to assert, but are the compressed and weighted utterances of the Christian heart."