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The Importance of Correct Doctrine


The Importance of Correct Doctrine

1 Corinthians. 15:1-4
Paul is going to correct some error in Corinth about the doctrine of the resurrection and to teach such a great truth will mean that Paul will have to explain and expound the doctrine of the resurrection. In many sections of the visible church today, the preaching of Christian Doctrine is studiously avoided!

1. Excuses for Avoiding Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching.

  1. That Doctrine is divisive, and that therefore we should avoid it! Doctrine is very important to the Lord, for His Word is full of it! Correct biblically sound doctrine is God’s Truth, and unity without truth is false unity, for it is not based on the Word of God.
  2. That all that we need is a simple belief in Christ, and we should go no further! It is absolutely true that all that we need to come to Christ and be saved is a simple childlike trust in Him. But the Lord expects each of His people to GROW IN GRACE, and to learn more. 1 Cor. 3:2
  3. That doctrine leads to dogma, and dogma to intolerance! I would argue that doctrine does, without doubt lead to more certainty in the faith, and I would further argue that in this so called ‘age of tolerance’ what the church really needs is to be MORE CERTAIN about what it believes, and not less certain!

Paul had obviously encountered these arguments himself, for he opens this chapter with a rigorous defence of Christian Doctrine! Let us see:-

2. The Importance of Christian Doctrine!
Paul begins this chapter by making an important declaration – it could be translated “I make known unto you.” It is:-
* An exact declaration. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.

  • The Gospel is preached in its roundness! Now you will see in verse 4 & 5 that Paul’s idea of what comprises the Gospel is fairly all encompassing! In fact to declare the Gospel is far more than just telling people that they need to be saved! It is to declare the WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD!
  • The Gospel is precise in its reception! These people had received the Word, but they must lean on it, they must accept and believe it, they must read more about it and build themselves up in the knowledge of God’s word.
  • The Gospel is permanent in its rigidity! This great body of Christian Truth, this systematic theology, is the ground of the Christian’s security! Paul says ‘wherein ye stand!” God’s truth never changes, and that is the ground upon which we stand!

* An emphatic declaration!

  • Doctrine and the Christian Path! By which also ye are saved Correct Doctrine is linked to Christian persistence and growth! Without a knowledge of Christian truth, you simply cannot grow in the faith, as you are required to grow! Ephes. 4:14 The word ‘saved’ in 15:2 is interesting. It is present tense! Paul is saying, ‘you are being saved if you hold fast that word, that body of truth! Doctrine is the DYNAMIC of the Christian life! John 17:17
  • Doctrine and Christian Persistence! if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you Correct Doctrine must be held fast! Not just remembered, but adhered to! We must persevere in the faith, and in sound doctrine. Acts 2:42, 1 Tim. 4:16
  • Doctrine and Christian Pretence! unless ye have believed in vain Incorrect doctrine casts doubt on the validity of our profession of faith in Christ! 2 Tim. 3:10

3. The Implications for Christian Discernment!
Which doctrines are just a matter of personal interpretation, what we might call ’secondary doctrines’ and which are absolutely vital and non negotiable? In verse 3 and 4, Paul lays out for the Corinthians, the very basics of the faith. The doctrines which cannot and must not ever be compromised under any circumstances! 1 Cor. 15:3-4


  1. The Inspiration, Authority, Inerrancy, and Sufficiency of the Word of God! For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, “For I delivered unto you what I received.” This is the doctrine of REVELATION! Twice he says, “According to the Scriptures.” Paul accepted the revelation that God had given, and he accepted it without reservation.
  2. The Vicarious Substitutionary Atonement of Christ! Paul says, Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. The key word here is the word FOR. Jesus died FOR sinners! This doctrine of substitutionary atonement can never be compromised, nor can it be made the subject of debate or discussion.
  3. The Utter Sinfulness and Total Depravity of Mankind! for our sins. In this context this point arises from Paul’s teaching on substitutionary atonement. If men had not been sinners, Christ’s death on the Cross would not have been necessary. But we are.
  4. The Person and Work Of Christ! And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. (2 John 1:9-10) Paul is reinforcing some great truths. It was CHRIST who died! He literally died, and He actually and literally rose from the dead. We will guard every aspect of the person of Christ, ‘according to the Scriptures.’

As evangelicals, these are our boundaries! If we enter into worship or fellowship or even dialogue with someone, whether an individual or a church body, who does not wholeheartedly and without reservation accept those basic truths, then our fellowship with them is no fellowship! 2 Cor. 6:14 The basis of Christian fellowship is TRUTH, not compromise and the basis of true ecumenism is truth, and any form of ecumenism or fellowship where truth has to be compromised or suppressed for that fellowship to take place is an unequal yoke! Romans 16:17

© Bob McEvoy

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