Declare the whole counsel of God

You may have heard people say, “I don’t want to get all bogged down in doctrine. I just want to preach Jesus!” No doubt these folks are well meaning. They are excited about the Lord Jesus and want to preach and teach about salvation. What they may not realize is that is doctrine also.

The Greek word translated “doctrine” in our English Bibles is didache. We get our English word “didactic” which means “instruction” from a transliteration of the Greek word. When a person says they do not want doctrine, they are saying they do not want teaching. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens in some settings. Instead of Bible doctrine being preached there is a fulfillment of 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

Biblical literacy is dependant on the pastor and other teachers declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). How else will a person know that Jesus is mighty to save? Just taking the person of Jesus in Scripture will answer questions raised by the DaVinci Code and the Gospel of Judas.

Jesus was born of a virgin. This was a miraculous event. Every person with a human father is born with a nature inclined toward sin. Jesus did not have an earthly father. He circumvented the Adamic nature and came into this world as the “second Adam.”

Jesus lived a sinless life. Barna Research recently stated that 42 percent of Americans believe that Jesus sinned. If Jesus sinned, we have no savior. Only a spotless sinless person can be my savior.

Two years ago when the movie “The Passion of The Christ” was released, a Presbyterian pastor in the Dallas/Fort Worth area was quoted in the Fort Worth Star Telegram saying, “Gibson’s movie focuses strictly on vicarious atonement?that Jesus suffers in our place because of human sin. That is one of several understandings of the meaning of Jesus’ death, and I know for many Christians that would be a meaningful approach to the cross. But it isn’t the primary one for me.” Jesus’ bloody, substitutionary death on the cross for my sin is doctrine.

The bodily resurrection is also doctrine. Jesus literally rose from the dead. Jesus is coming again. Everything we believe about Jesus is found in the Bible. Preaching Jesus is important and it is doctrine.

On and on I could go about the doctrines of the Bible. Knowing who God is and his characteristics shapes our outlook on all things. This forms our worldview. Pastors and teachers must eradicate biblical illiteracy in the churches. It can only be done by continual proclaiming of the Word of God.

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention

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