The above is a common statement these days by not only denominational folks, but also our own brethren. The demand is made often in a very condescending way, giving the implication that those trying to know and teach the whole counsel of God are wasting precious time.
Doctrine is generally defined as “teaching”—instruction—that which is taught. How would we know the will of God with out the body of teaching (John 7:17), and from whom did it come? A third question; how do you separate the Master teacher from His teaching, His doctrine?
The doctrine of God is Jesus (John 1:1-14; Rom. 10:17). To know and follow the doctrine is to build your spiritual house upon the Rock (Matt. 7:24). Rejecting Jesus was and is rejection of the doctrine (Mark 7:7-9). It was Jesus who instructed that one would come after Him and guide them into all Truth (John 16:13-16). The Holy Spirit did just that and glorified Jesus revealing His doctrine contained in the New Testament, all of it (II Tim. 3:16-17).
Try telling about Jesus without the doctrine. Philip the preacher was sent to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:35) and the record says he started in Isaiah 53 “and preached unto him Jesus.” Baptism was part of preaching Jesus, because the candidate the eunuch himself, asked: “See here is water what doth hinder me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:36). If they had gotten that far, then it is understood that preaching Jesus included the church (Acts 2:47). It must of necessity include a changed life—purity—or else how could repentance have taken place (Luke 13:3)? John wrote about the love of God (I John 4:8). Would that involve His life and doctrine? Sure it would!
Inspired writers told of Jesus [doctrine] (I Cor. 15:3), His resurrection, His memorial feast (I Cor. 11:23-26), and His doctrine of morality (Matt. 19:9; Gal. 5:19-25). Jesus cannot be separated from His doctrine (II John 9-11); to do so is to remove one’s fellowship with God.
God, Christ and the Holy Spirit give instruction diametrically different to the appeal under consideration. The inspired instruction is to know as much of the doctrine as you can (II Tim. 2:15). The stipulations is, this is what will make one approved of of God. So the correct and scriptural appeal should be “more Jesus and more doctrine”, not less.
Too often it is the case that folks desire to be identified with Christ, but they do not want to accept His terms of living. Instead, they would desire to talk about Christ and do what they want to do. To get through the gates of Heaven, all must know, follow and do what the doctrine of Christ teaches (Rev. 22:14).
Northeast Church of Christ bulletin July 16, 2023