Following on from my previous post, and also having read a newspaper column that give some grudging credit to Calvin for at least having some concern for church unity, I wonder about the doctrinal snobbery that has become so commonplace. On one political forum I frequent the mere mention that Romanist doctrine may be in error results in calls of bigotry and streams of insults, followed by aloof comments about papal superiority. This is not limited to the debate between major Christian denominations, but also extends to smaller things, like the way we should partake in the sacraments.
No doubt that some scholars and pastors are humble and faithful servants of the Lord, but others, while pretending to be humble, instead use doctrinal snobbery to belittle and attack. With tears in their eyes and quivering bottom lips they tell us of the evils of a specific doctrinal system, and proceed to joyfully espouse their own pet doctrines. Is that what the Lord has called them to do?
Sound doctrine is very important, but doctrinal snobbery is destructive, and causes many people to condemn all forms of doctrine, whether good or bad teaching. Doctrinal snoobery is down to nothing more than pride. Instead of being thankful for the opportunity to know and study more about God, the snobs sooth their ego’s by delivering doctrinal judgments to their unsuspecting congregations or students.
The Word is not silent on this:
1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,
1Ti 6:4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,
1Ti 6:5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
We see this many times when Christians discuss doctrine. Our old friend pride shows up, and with it the mind shuts down, and Spiritual wisdom is ignored. The Word says that this is malicious ignorance, and the result is depravation and conflict.
All doctrine should be tested with the Word, meditated and prayed over, and discussed humbly and respectfully among fellow Christian so that we may know the simple Godly truth, whether that agrees with our presupposed conceptions or not. Those conceptions are unfortunately many times formed by the absence of proper doctrine in early exposure to the Bible.
Study and construct doctrine with an open mind and an open Bible, pray for wisdom and reflect daily on it.