Step back in time with me for just a moment. It’s July 4th, 1776 and Continental Congress just finished signing the Declaration of Independence. Everyone is talking about it but you’re trying to mind your own business. Like the dinosaur on Toy Story, you hate confrontations. You’re quietly sipping your favorite beverage at some historic tavern, when the bartender looks at you and says, “So…where do you stand? With the English or with the rebels?”
“Neither,” you say, “I stand with the Declaration of Independence & Thomas Jefferson. That’s good enough enough for me.”
He says: “So you stand with the rebels?”
You say: “No. (Are you deaf?) I side with Thomas Jefferson & the Declaration of Independence. The end.”
He says: “You drink too much.”
His reasoning is simple: by siding with Jefferson & the ‘ole Declaration, you are adopting it’s stand regarding the English & rebels. There’s no way to side with a declaration without taking a stand alongside what said declaration declares to be true.
In our day and age, it’s popular to adopt an “anything goes!” approach to doctrine. When we talk about specifics of the Christian faith – such as God’s sovereignty, man’s depravity, local church, eternal security – I frequently hear people say something like: ”I don’t take a stand either way. I believe the Bible & love Jesus. The end.”
That’s awesome that you believe the Bible and love Jesus. However, you must realize the Bible takes a firm stand regarding a plethora of specific doctrines. While the Bible doesn’t force us to adopt names (Calvinist or Arminian! Trichotomist or dichotomist!) nor defend the bitter fighting surrounding different declarations of faith (You abdominal heretic!), the Word of God does encourage us to dig down deep into the specific doctrines it teaches.
Paul was overjoyed to tell the Romans:
“Ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you”. (Romans 6:17)
Knowing where you stand regarding the specifics of God’s Word is healthy. It’s also a sign of growing up. Hebrews 5:11-14 admonishes us not to be “dull of hearing” by contenting ourselves solely with the “first principles of the oracles of God”. Instead, we’re supposed to have our “senses exercised” as we dig into the “strong meat” of God’s Word. Sure, this might require tougher chewing and at times it’s hard to swallow, but strong meat strengthens our discernment, helping us “to discern both good and evil”.
Before you skirt the issue by saying “I stand with the Bible,” stop a moment and ask yourself: Does God’s Word draw a line? If so, on which side does the Bible stand? And then double-check you’re on the same side.
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