It Doesn’t Matter What You Believe. Does It?
Someone recently said, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.” But you can be sincerely wrong. The gospel of John says that the Bible was “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (20:31). Because of the tremendous power to save and transform lives, there is a counter force (evil)—a power at work to distort truth; thus, Titus 1:9 tells us to “exhort and convict those who contradict” the Bible. The Bible was written so that people would know the truth. The truth about God, creation, sin, and redemption. God takes sound doctrine (e.g., a correct understanding of Him) very seriously.
Although it may sound like a legalistic term, sound doctrine simply identifies what is not false doctrine, and articulates a correct view of God. When Christian doctrine is challenged, the very essence of the gospel is being challenged…that should get our attention, especially in light of Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” The word accursed is anathema in the Greek. There is no stronger word available for those who turn from sound doctrine and promote another gospel—a perversion of the truth.
How do you feel when someone ruins your character and says things that are not true? Now imagine how God feels…sound doctrine is absolutely vital. Although we cannot fully understand the nature of God, we can gleam great insight from His word. Any teaching that contradicts His truth is to be anathema. For that reason, the answer to the question, “Can’t we all just get along?”, is a resounding no. Biblical unity is unity of doctrine, unity of truth, and unity of faith in Christ—not unity for the sake of unity.
When a person turns from God, it’s His truth they’re turning from. “Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God…Truth is the self-expression of God” (John MacArthur). Truth cannot be truly understood, or explained, without God as the source of all truth as defined in His word. Truth invites scrutiny; whereas, error runs from it.
When we challenge wrong beliefs we are not “attacking,” but rather, “contending” for what is right. We are to detest division within the church, and work toward unity whenever we can, but we must not confuse “attacking” with “contending.”
I’ve often found those who criticize the Bible are eager to debate…until they are challenged. Often, they decline or avoid discussing differences. Why? Because truth invites scrutiny; err runs from it. If they say that there are many Gods, the Bible says just the opposite—there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4).
If they say that God the Father is an exalted man who has a wife, through whom He procreates spirit children, the Bible says just the opposite: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). If they say that Jesus is our spiritual brother, the Bible says just the opposite—He is the Lord Jesus Christ; God almighty from everlasting to everlasting.
These false views are not be taken lightly. Recall again Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
Please don’t take this issue lightly. Serious err must be acknowledged and corrected. The Bible and the beliefs of other religions cannot all be right. They can all be wrong, but they cannot all be right. The Bible was not written “in addition to” anything—it stands alone. The apostle John, who walked with Jesus, said to test everything according to God’s Word (I John 4:1). That is the true test; anything else is just opinion and speculation. Having a correct understanding of God is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and error, light and darkness, heaven and hell. Choose wisely.