As a pastor from a confessional denomination one of the more difficult tasks I regularly – even constantly – encounter is helping people past a distatse for doctrine.
I understand why so many are so often hesitant to embrace any system of doctrine. “Doctrine divides” is a commen lament. And, regretably, it is often an accurate one. I see many who are at odds with others over secondary principles. Another issue is that sometimes those who are the strongest proponents of sound theology carry rather “ugly” attitudes. Looking at life, and the church, with a singular perspective (as opposed to tri-perspectival) some assume that mere apprehension and submission to a system of doctrine is the only thing that matters. As one of my old pastors often said: “Their theology is dead right – but mostly dead.”
Of course there are other reasons to be considered.
The historical influence of the Second Great Awakening continues to infect large portions of the American church. One of the most significant effects is that many Christians, and a number of church traditions, are flarly anti-intellectual. Their faith is almost entirely “feelings” built aroud a few simple theological propositions.
And maybe the biggest hurdle is that developing a comprehensive understanding of a system of theology is, simply, hard work. Like learning anything, it is challenging and takes time and study.
Whatever the reasons for hesitancy, I maintain it is still important. In this brief video Tim Keller affirms the benefits of sound doctrine. In fact he asserts, I believe correctly, that everyone already lives out their theology…
If this so, it would seem important to think it all through.