Does the church have the right to define our doctrines?

Hello W,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

Concerning defining the doctrines, Paul wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work. I charge you … Preach the word! … For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned to fables” (2 Tim. 3:15,16; 4:1,3,4).

Here, we are told that the Scriptures is the source that defines our doctrines, not the Church. Paul gives the reason for that: because the Scriptures are the very thoughts of God communicated to men (2 Peter 1:21). The importance of the Scriptures is due to the life breathed into them by God.  Their lasting authority and their capability to meet every need of man testifies to their divine authorship.

How can we tell what is “truth” and what is a “fable”? By the Word.  Jesus wants to “cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:26). The Scriptures are to “correct” us when we stray. In the light of Christ’s return, we are to “Preach the word!” not the doctrines of men.

Jesus prayed to His Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The Word of God is declared to be “truth.” The Scriptures reveal that Jesus is the truth of God (John 1:14, 17; 14:6). And we become new creatures by incorporating these truths into our lives.

Therefore, instead of allowing erring people to define our doctrines, we may obtain the truth from the scriptures through the illumination of the Holy Spirit “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:13).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

 

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