All this talk of doctrine, so what exactly is doctrine?

Doctrine is any teaching or set of beliefs.

Generally though in the Church, doctrine is the teaching of Scriptures.  That can range from as simple as “Jesus Loves Me” to end times, eschatology, and everything in between.  So you can see there is a wide range of depth from simple to deep.  If you’ve ever taught a preschooler “Jesus Loves Me” then you’ve taught doctrine.  Nevertheless, it is very important to have right doctrine.  Doctrine also explains the meaning of the words we use in church such as salvation, regeneration, repentance.   The doctrine we at NCBC espouse for Salvation is different from the doctrine of the Mormon Church, even if we both use the same word Salvation. { see  Don’t really know anything about this site beyond this one page which explains Salvation in Mormonism.  So use caution.} If we don’t understand the differences we can’t effectively communicate with them.  Doctrine is necessary in order to have a right view of God.

A.W. Tozer said in The Knowledge of the Holy:

It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.”

According to John MacArthur:

Doctrine matters. What you believe about God, the gospel, the nature of man, and every major truth addressed in Scripture filters down to every area of your life. You and I will never rise above our view of God and our understanding of His Word.

Joshua Harris in Why We Need Doctrine:

Doctrine can never take the place of Jesus himself, but we can’t know him and relate to him in the right way without doctrine. This is because doctrine not only tells us what God has done but what his actions mean to us.

Often though we don’t realize how important doctrine is because we don’t recognize doctrine when we hear it or even think it.  Everyone, absolutely everyone, even an atheist, has doctrine as the foundation to their thinking and living.  Every culture has at its core doctrine. That is why “culture” is not morally neutral. The real question is what doctrine? Biblical doctrine or Satan’s doctrine?  There aren’t any other doctrines.

1 John 3:10 (ESV) By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.


Oh, we can label Satan’s doctrine by many different labels.  You’ll recognize these.

False doctrine






Notice how many end in –ism?   What does –ism mean?  A distinctive doctrine, theory, system, or practice.

But most doctrines aren’t so clearly labeled for us.  Wouldn’t that make things so much easier if they were?  Such that if when you read or heard an idea, up would pop a banner “This is Feminism“, “This is Socialism” or “This is of Satan”.  However, those are the easy ones to recognize.  The hard ones are those that you’ve been raised with or learned through out life.  Or even those that you hear as an adult and you think, “You know that does make sense, I see that, I see how that can be.”  Some of us have been taught false doctrine even in seemingly sound churches.  When we fill our minds and renew them each day we will get to the point where what I call “red flags” will pop up when you hear false doctrine.  Filling our minds with right doctrine along with the leading of the Holy Spirit will help us to see the false doctrine.

My mother was a single mom who had divorced several times.  Growing up there was a picture on our wall.  The picture said “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”  The picture showed a fish riding a bike.  Cute right?  She thought so.  But she didn’t realize she was teaching doctrine.  What doctrine?  The doctrine of Feminism.

It is very easy to be swayed by false doctrine by spending too much time with it.  How do we spend too much time with false doctrine?  Media of all kinds is one of today’s most insidious means of spreading false doctrine.  The music we hear, the books we read, the movies we watch and the TV we watch all impart doctrine.  Even the internet imparts doctrine?  Take a guess at whose doctrine is most easily found? ….  Satan’s.

Vance Havner said:

It is possible to fraternize with unbelievers until false doctrine becomes less and less objectionable.

If you have children or grandchildren are they spending time hearing Satan’s doctrine in their media choices?  At their activities away from you?  With their friends?

John Stott said:

Good conduct arises out of good doctrine.


1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV) Do not be deceived:  “Bad company ruins good morals.”


Are you hearing Satan’s doctrine so regularly such that you are becoming desensitized to it?

Everyone’s heard the frog analogy where you cannot put a frog in boiling water because it will jump out but you can put a frog in cool water and gradually turn up the heat and it will stay right there.  We do the same things to ourselves, maybe a movie or TV show has one instance of using the Lord’s name in vain and then a few weeks later the next movie might only have two or three objectionable words.  Before you know it we have become desensitized and we don’t even notice them unless some else points them out to us.

For the full series of posts in order click below:

Renewing the Attitudes of our Heart Series



4 thoughts on “Doctrine?

  1. Wow..I never thought about all the other “worldly” ideas being doctrine too…even false doctrine…being from the devil!!!!! My eyes continue to be opened…
    I am so glad you are posting this! It is so good to read and remember that doctrine is not just for those men sitting on the pews after church! 🙂 Can’t wait to learn more..


    Berean Wife Reply:


    It is also scary to realize how much false doctrine is floating around for our children to innocently pick up. Posters, pictures, books, magazines – everything is full of doctrine of some sort or another. But then sound doctrine is just as easily taught. Like loving orphans is what you are teaching your children – just like Christ loves us.

    Berean Wife


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