I was talking to a missionary friend about doctrine the other day. He said it’s something he’s been struggling with lately as he visits churches here in the States. He’s had a couple of churches tell him that they’d only be willing to support him if he and the pastors he supervises preach the doctrine these churches believe.
Now, I’m not saying doctrine is a bad thing. It’s great… until it gets in the way of more important things. The little details that define denominations are not the Gospel that my friend is proclaiming. And when people in India are dying without ever coming to know the Lord, what does it matter what they believe about predestination? The only thing that matters is that they are saved.
You can analyze the entire Bible and interpret it whatever way you wish, but there are certain truths that never change no matter how you look at them. As long as Jesus remains in the center of things, the other details are just details – and they shouldn’t keep anyone from getting involved in what God is doing around the world.
I couldn’t help but smile as my friend confessed that some of the driest seasons of his life were in seminary – with all that knowledge, all that theology, all that doctrine. It reminded me of the verse in Ecclesiastes that says, “Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” (chapter 1, verses 17-18)
You can know everything there is to know about Christianity and still feel as if you’re missing something because it’s not doctrine that draws us to the heart of the Father; it’s His unfathomable love and mercy. And while it’s important to know what you believe, you can’t let the little things separate you from other believers. God never intended for doctrine to divide His church. Don’t get so caught up in chasing the wind that you miss the miracle of what God is doing in this moment here and now.