I have had a number of people tell me that the thing that turns them off about conservative evangelical Christians like me is that we seem so darned sure of ourselves. They say that when it comes to religion or moral/ethical issues we insist that our way is the only way. They point out that we claim to have a corner on truth and believe that Jesus and the Bible are the only way to Heaven. They don't like the fact that we are so stuck on the Scriptures and that we emphasize doctrine. For many people today, "doctrine" is the new 4-letter word. They say that they would be much more comfortable with a softer, more inclusive brand of Christianity that leaves room for people to believe whatever they choose as long as they consider themselves Christ-followers and seek the fellowship of the church. After all, who are we to judge others? We are all on a spiritual journey and we shouldn't be so rigid, thinking that we have cornered the market on truth.
This sort of thinking accounts for the fact that there are touchy-feely churches popping up everywhere and many Bible preaching churches are experiencing decreased numbers of attendees. Frankly, it's frustrating, though I understand the dynamics.
The following is a video from CrossTV Ministries (www.crosstv.com) produced by Mark Kielar that does a good job of putting this issue in perspective. Watch it and then I will make a couple of comments on the other side.
While I recognize that some Christians are downright nasty in the way they express their faith, that still does not justify us jettisoning the Scriptures as our rule of faith and practice. Doctrine is important. It always has been. The Christian faith rests not upon men's collective religious experiences or ideas about what is or is not true. Our faith rests squarely on the revealed Word of God, the Scriptures, that have been passed down to us.
The apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:4-6 speaks of the things that go together to make up the glue that binds Christians together: we are of one Body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Father. Did you notice that it said "one faith"? Paul was not talking about the Baptist faith or the Presbyterian faith. He was not talking about petty differences between denominations or different styles of music used in the worship service. He was referring to the fact that the Christian faith is grounded on God's revealed truth. In the Word He has told us what to believe, and it is our choice to believe it or not, but our belief or lack of it does not change or diminish the truth and relevancy of what God has revealed.
Jude urges all Christians to "contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). Doctrine is important. What we believe is crucial. One's religious sincerity and good intentions are meaningless if what he believes in turns out to be a lie.
There is a familiar old hymn entitled "My Faith Has Found A Resting Place" that says it best. The lyrics were penned by Eliza E. Hewitt in 1891.
My faith has found a resting place, not in device or creed;
I trust the Everliving One, His wounds for me shall plead.
Enough for me that Jesus saves, this ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him, He'll never cast me out.
My heart is leaning on the Word, the living Word of God;
Salvation by my Savior's Name, salvation through His blood.
My Great Physician heals the sick, the lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed, for me His life He gave.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.
Standing for the faith whether it's popular or not,