I attended a Christian concert recently where the singer said: "We should focus more on Jesus and less on doctrine.  Christ unites, doctrines divide." Even though this singer's Christian doctrines are solid, it seems to me that he and many others feel that somehow doctrine is the main problem in our day.  (It is very interesting that the New International Version replaces the word "doctrine" used in the King James Version with the word "teaching").

I have been in other settings in which presenters talked a lot about Jesus, but not the Jesus who is presented in the New Testament.  There have been times when I came to the conclusion that the Jesus who had been presented was so vaguely defined that he had nothing to do with the Jesus of the New Testament; rather, he was a Jesus constructed by the whims and the desire of the presenter.

In fact, I have come to the conclusion that if one wants to argue against the church doctrine, one has to argue against Jesus and Paul.  It is Jesus who says that anyone who loves him should keep his commandments (John 14:15).  In another place Jesus talks about the importance of his teachings – "teach them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20).  Paul talks about teaching the right doctrine which should be entrusted to others who can teach it (in the epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus). 

The vagueness of the doctrine practiced by some people was highlighted by Ann Holmes Redding, the former director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Seattle.  She publicly declared that she is both 100% Christian and 100% Muslim.  Sadly, her superior, the bishop of Seattle, the Right Reverend Vincent Warner thinks that Redding is right.

While it is true that Jesus is mentioned in the New Testament and in the Quaran, the doctrine of the church states that Jesus is the Son of God, true God of true God, and he is the only way to God the Father.  Jesus has the audacity to say: "No one comes to the Father, except through me" (John 14:6)   In the Quaran, Jesus is a prophet lower that Mohammed, and identifying Jesus as God is blasphemous.  According to people like Redding, Jesus calls us to love all the people, and on that all of us agree, but if we are focusing on love only, without presenting the teaching of Jesus on his person, we have the wrong Jesus. 

I do not think that there are any disconnects between the person of Jesus and his teachings.  I think that often the people in our day, like the people in the time of Jesus, find some of His teaching not according to their liking.  Other people are ignorant of the teachings of Jesus, and when they talk they project their ignorance, which is passed on as a new revelation.

That is why we find out that Jesus emphasized that his disciples should spread his teachings, and that is why Paul emphasized to his co-workers that they should study to show themselves approved by God in their teaching of the Christian doctrine.


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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...