Doctrine is defined as a legal principle, widely adhered to. It is a rule or principle of the law established through the repeated application of legal precedents. Common law, which lawyers use to refer to an established method of resolving similar legal issues as in “the doctrine of stare decisis” The primary purpose of following the doctrine of stare decisis is to help ensure uniformity and fairness in the societies or communities.
The definition of doctrine is applicable, as a matter of directing human governance in this world. It carries no Scriptural basis, necessarily. God’s Laws cannot be described as doctrines. Similarly, the teachings of Jesus cannot be described as doctrines. The teachings of Jesus are not sustained by precedence, but by truth, just as God’s Laws are truth.
The teachings of Jesus cannot be conflated with doctrines, implying the human effort to handle the problems of this world. Christianity requires no subtraction or addition to Jesus’ teachings. While, principally, the New Testament Bible carries Pauline teachings, their applicability ought to be evaluated according to Jesus’ teachings.
This is just as any other God’s servant, even in our time, cannot override the teachings of Jesus. Of utmost importance is that Jesus cannot be compared with anyone. I suppose the apostle Paul was one of the great leaders. But those religious gurus cannot be substituted for Jesus.
The pattern of this world, currently, is guided by doctrines. Some are listed as 1) the Deity of Christ, 2) Salvation by Grace, 3) Resurrection of Christ, 4) the gospel, and 5) monotheism. These are some, but more different perspectives on essential doctrines could be drawn, when viewed as necessary.
It cannot be over-emphasized that these doctrines need unpacking, for clearer understanding. According to www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Deity-Christ define the deity of Christ as follows:
DEITY OF CHRIST. The clearest and fullest expression of the deity of Christ is found in the Nicene Creed which was originally presented at the Council of Nicaea, a.d. 325. In the Eng. Book of Common Prayer the tr. appears as follows: “…one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made.” Outlined in this statement is every possible effort to make clear that Christ is “Very God of Very God.”
“The biblical teaching about the deity of Christ is a precious truth and foundational to the Christian faith. It has been called “the most distinctively Christian doctrine of all”—one that must be taught and preserved. With this in mind, Robert Peterson, Christopher Morgan, Andreas Köstenberger, Steve Wellum, Gerald Bray, Alan Gomes, Ray Ortlund Jr., Stephen Nichols, and J. Nelson Jennings have collaborated to develop a theology of Christ’s divinity across multiple disciplines.
Other than the Nicean Council, there are so many other Scholars, documented across the centuries, extolling the Deity of Christ. Jesus Christ is viewed similarly to how God is viewed. That is acceptable and true. However, those coming up with this conclusion are completely oblivious of the definition of humanity. In their state of being in God’s image, humans are not different from Jesus. This does not describe the nature of humans in their degraded state, due to their sinful condition.
The parable of the prodigal son, (Luke 15:11-32) provides a clearer illustration of the nature of humanity, as compared with Jesus. The appetite for idolatry is what leads humanity to find someone to worship, in Jesus. Jesus is Lord, in every sense of the word, but is not our Creator. See [The Prodigal Son parable and the mystery of Men]
One can commend the effort of the Nicaean Council, and the rest of humanity in their effort, in attempting to establish the truth about Jesus. However, on giving that commendation, one keeps asking, how necessary it is for people to engage in such efforts? Jesus stated that it would be impossible for those of this world to ever recognize God. This suggests that engaging in efforts to know Jesus is different from knowing Jesus:
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:15-21 NIV).
This debunks the idea of the Trinity. Jesus cannot be known by outsiders, according to the description of His followers, as given above. There is nothing fantastic about: “…one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made.” Outlined in this statement is every possible effort to make clear that Christ is “Very God of Very God.”
True Christians do not need statements like the “Light of Light, Very God of Very God, etc” They are with Jesus and God. The human effort to know God remains a conundrum. But this cannot be the case with God’s Children. They know God and Jesus, as dwelling in them.
“Salvation by Grace:” Once again, while this may be a necessary exposition to non-Christians, it is inapplicable to God’s Children. It disqualifies calling it a doctrine. Outsiders could imbibe on this, as something fascinating, but this carries no significance to God’s Children. It is factual, but it carries no bearing on God’s children.
The Resurrection of Christ is exciting. But what is the reason for calling it a doctrine? Jesus’ resurrection was proven with no shadow of a doubt. Why would Christians make it a doctrine? I suppose the clarification can be established on answering whether one would be a Christian or not? Only non-Christians can be understood when struggling with this reality.
The gospel is the Good News about God’s Kingdom. Its dissemination enables the drawing of multitudes into Christianity. Those believing are baptized, accordingly. The gospel is not a doctrine, but a reality. Again, Christians are those who would have no problem, but the unbelievers.
Lastly, Monotheism, is necessitated by, and affects those unsure of God’s nature? Doctrines are for those seeking to worship God, outside Christianity. To me, such people are not different from the Jews. They would be yet to establish the reality of Christianity.
Anyone claiming to be God’s Child based on following Church’s doctrines is automatically disqualified from being one. It remains to be God’s prerogative to deal with those who use Jesus’ name to establish doctrines so that they can control those following them.
However, those having become baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, do not need doctrines. They become God’s Children, to be directed by God’s Spirit. They are in direct communication with Jesus, without some need for an intermediary.
Interestingly, the Johane Masowe sect is known for telling its followers to discard the Bible. While there is some truth in that sentiment, it misleads people. Reading the Bible is necessary, to understand Christ’s teachings, before baptism. Knowledge, which is necessary to understand the teachings of Jesus, comes before conversion.
But, when having been united with God, knowledge flows freely, so that the understanding of Scriptural references becomes natural. That person becomes a new Creation, established in unison with God and Jesus. The old ways of looking at things would have been eliminated. Doctrines do not exist among those having been incorporated into God’s Kingdom.
The more the concentration on doctrines, the more the person is drawn away from Christianity. There is no difference between doctrines and law-keeping. One of the reasons why Jesus was crucified was His considered violation of the laws. The assumption was that Jesus was an infidel who did not go by the existing traditions at that time.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:30-32 NIV).
Generally, the problems that Jesus encountered with the Jews were doctrinal, in nature. They expected Jesus to abide by the Jewish laws. As far as the Jews were concerned, a person could not please God without maintaining Jewish doctrines. Jesus could not earn respect, only because He did not abide by the Jewish traditions.
They were not aware of the person they were dealing with. God’s children are similarly treated, even today. It is no longer the issue of breaking the Jewish laws. Christian doctrines have come to replace the Jewish laws. Christian doctrines, having supplanted the Jewish laws, have replaced the term ‘law’, with ‘doctrine’.
However, the more the doctrines are given credence, the more believers are driven away from the truth. This is just as the law-keepers of the time of Jesus assumed that law-keeping would lead them to God’s Kingdom. The same applies to doctrine enforcers; who behave similarly to how the Jews behaved. The effect of doctrines grants the opposite of what is intended.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4 NIV).
To effectively benefit from what Paul said in the above Scripture, one needs to substitute doctrine, wherever there is the law of sin. Paul was talking to those whose lives were controlled by the law. However, for the Gentiles, like all of us, the law does not apply. This was replaced by the doctrinal consideration, without the Spirit. Unlike the law, doctrines are enforced by traditions, as taken from the common practice of humanity.
What makes sin identifiable with the law, or doctrinal traditions, is that these serve physical humanity. The law/doctrines fulfil the requirements of the sinful nature. It is impossible for a person whose identity is that of God, to sin. Redemption is not possible through any other means, except through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The sinful nature is the prison-hood that Jesus also carried, leading to His crucifixion on the cross. It could not have been possible for Jesus to die after being condemned if He had not existed in sinful nature. It is the sinful nature that requires food, clothing and any other physical condition that is necessary to sustain the physical existence.
“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:9-11 NIV).
These are the Scriptures that discard the idea of the doctrine of Trinity, for those careful enough to analyze such Scriptures. God’s children are not in the realm of the flesh, anymore, but are in the realm of the Spirit. As soon as the person is brought into the realm of the Spirit, he would have become God’s child. That person is not different from Jesus, who is idolized by those yet to receive the Spirit.
Only those who are still fumbling in darkness are emotionally charged, desiring to remain under the doctrinal dictates. God’s children understand such people but are not affected by their behaviour. Jesus was also not affected by their behaviour, as He understood them, while they could not understand Him.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope in a simple conversational tone.
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