Practical versus Doctrinal

Go read “A Disturbing Trend in Evangelicalism” at the blog Green Baggins. It deals with an issue that is very close to my heart: what is the relationship between doctrine and practice? Belief and behavior? Head knowledge and heart knowledge? This bloggers words are sorely needed.

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2 responses

  1. Brandon M. Fickle | Reply

    I hate it when doctrine and practice are portrayed as mutually exclusive. Often, they’re pictured as mortal enemies fighting for the allegiances of church members.

    The real relationship is that doctrine enables practice. Doctrine (understanding God’s Word, what it means, what it says, what it doesn’t say, who God is, who God isn’t, the attributes of God, God’s nature, the person of Christ, the work of Christ, the identity of man, the history of sin, the story of redemption, etc., etc., etc.) is the foundation upon which actions should be built.

    If your beliefs don’t drive and shape your actions, I’d question if you really believe it. (For this point, I’m referring to the people who proclaim God’ sovereignty – even over salvation – and yet still act like they don’t fully trust Him to fulfill His promises by inventing their own “pragmatic” means for sanctification, evangelism, church growth, or discipleship.)

    Similarly, if your actions aren’t driven from biblical truth and understanding, then they add up to be little more than just a bunch of stuff you’re doing. Of course God can use them for good, but you’re more likely to do harm to yourself and those around you through your well-intentioned yet misguided approach.

    We should all be scholars. From the moment the Holy Spirit regenerates our heart, we should aspire to learn everything we can about the glorious God who saves – especially since He has preserved a directly inspired Word for us. The washing of the Word will be a tool for the Spirit to reveal God to us more clearly. . . for us to understand Him more deeply. . . and for us to be molded to His image more perfectly.

    The actions, efforts, behavior, and practice that is driven from truth and intimacy with God (which includes knowledge and understanding of Him) will be much more fruitful, productive, rewarding, and meaningful than our best tireless efforts from our own imagination apart from truth.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. What I love is when we talk like this, some who do emphasize the practical over the doctrinal (even if only unintentionally) think we mean practical application is not necessary, then they start arguing for it. You’re right. It’s “both/and” not “either/or.”

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