One of the great ironies of church history is that in attempting to determine exactly what the written word says--as a sincere act of service no doubt--groups have developed around particular interpretations of the Bible. We name this with the dignified sounding word doctrine, and begin separating from others over whether or not they believe as we do. In the name of God who says His disciples are known by their love, we divide the people for whom Jesus bled and died intending to redeem them into union with Himself and with one another.
In the pursuit of our doctrines to establish the boundaries of fellowship, we hold huge portions of brethren to be wrong and not worthy of fellowship.
In the pursuit of holiness, we hold to traditions which become empty of meaning in the ritualistic practice and leave people cold and heartless but approved as members of our particular doctrine club.
Further in the effort to avoid disagreement, we have carved out territories of belief systems, whereby we do not have to deal with individual differences--we have been bitten once too often with the deep teeth of conflict and want to avoid the emotional pain. Instead we teach, “Believe thusly and you will be walking in truth,” which reduces the Christian walk with God for too many people into nothing more than being in the truth as evidenced by holding forth the doctrine club’s spoken and unspoken social expectations and assumptions.
Consequently, the hearers of doctrine become a people who are not given instruction and support in walking in the nature of Jesus. (Note I am not describing those who are hearers of the Spirit of God and are mixed in with the subject of this piece. This is the goat and sheep dichotomy.) The word Jesus is often frequently given as the rationale for what is done and taught, but the Living Spirit of Jesus is not active in the hearts of those gathered under the conditions described above. Such conditions are to the detriment of all individually and the development corporately overall of groups who seek only to behave according to a tradition. The end result is a hollow spiritual façade with little spiritual maturity in living out the nature of Jesus.
It has to do with how we see and hear. Ever wonder why God did not cause the Scriptures to be written from a more clearly developed outline, which spells out step by step how to live as a Christian?
Parables hide the truth from all except those who have ears to hear. The Scripture's meaning can be in plain view and plainly read, but is pieced together in revelatory wonder by those who have a heart for God alone and above all else. Thus are few taken out of all who are called to know Him.
(A corollary and needed essay is probably about what is The Doctrine around which Christians need to unite. That is another idea, and I need to get to work.)
Have a blessed weekend and a glorious reunion with others of like heart in joy and thanksgiving during the coming holiday. Don't know when I will post again!