Seven Reasons Why Seeking Truth Is Better Than Spouting Doctrine

Truth is a center, drawing us in.

I once loved doctrine. It made me feel safe, secure, and best of all, right. Here are seven reasons I traded in the security of doctrine for wildness of truth.

1. Truth is alive. Doctrine is dead.

The pursuit of truth is like a birds in flight, in motion, free to alter course. Doctrine is like a bird in a museum. It has a stick up its butt and a Latin name. It may be beautiful but it’s dead.

2. Jesus didn’t teach doctrine.

No one accused Jesus of spouting doctrine. He got in trouble for breaking doctrines, not for teaching them. Jesus told puzzling stories that helped people take the next step. He presented life as a journey.

3. Truth is infinite. Doctrine is cramped.

To know all truth would be to swallow the ocean whole. The illusion of doctrine is that our existence can be reduced to a list of easily digestible propositions.

4. Truth is our universal center. Doctrine is a counterfeit.

We are all over the map, but everyone feels the same pull toward God, toward truth. Doctrine sets up a human counterfeit and claims it is the center for all.

5. Truth unites us. Doctrine divides us.

When we accept Truth as the center of the universe, then we are all in the same boat, drawn by the same center. Doctrine creates competing human systems in the place of Truth. These systems divide the world into warring factions.

6. Truth is free to all. Doctrine must be regulated by experts.

Anyone with two eyes can seek truth. Doctrine has been hammered out by experts, over the centuries. Your role is to be indoctrinated, not open your eyes and see.

7. Truth is unshakeable. Doctrine must be defended

Truth needs no one to defend it. It’s the other way around! It stands in judgment of us. Human doctrines must be defended against other human doctrines. You seek truth. You defend doctrine.

Conclusion

It boils down to this: Do I choose something tame that I can understand and control or something wild and beyond comprehension that controls me?

Anchorpoint is a place to put the focus on following Christ, not hammering out fine points of doctrine. You might also enjoy the the Curb Your Dogma podcast.

Note: You might point out that the Bible sometimes uses the word “doctrine.” This is a translation of the word didaskalia (διδασκαλία), which could also be translated “teachings.” Like the Master, the first followers of Jesus loved teaching, especially Jesus’ teaching. Sharing discoveries with each other is a great joy. This is not the same as indoctrination.

Christian faith in the first three centuries was extremely diverse. Most of the followers of Jesus during this time would be rejected by modern churches. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity wasn’t stated until the 4th century. That’s not to say that the mystery of the Father, Son and Spirit were not wrestled with by the first followers of Jesus. It just means that people were not divided because they had different ideas. There was freedom to pursue the truth in love.

When Rome adopted Christianity as a tool for empire building, doctrine became vitally important. The free pursuit of truth was replaced by a “set of truths” and everyone was required to be on the same page—or else. This unholy blend of church and state along with its bloodshed over rigid doctrines has been a sad feature of Christianity ever since.

The doctrinal spirit continues. Christians are not known for loving one another and pursuing truth. They are known for fighting and dividing over fine points of doctrine.

3 Comments

  1. Dave Prall on July 3, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Right on!

  2. Trysha Trotti on July 11, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Well thought out; beautifully stated; very profound. Thank you for sharing your insight.

    • Maury on July 11, 2018 at 11:55 am

      You’re so welcome Trysha. And great to hear from you!

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