In Churches of Christ we’re suspicious of theology but absolutely in love with doctrine. That’s ironic, really, because they’re pretty much the same thing. Strictly speaking, theology is studying about God and his will, and doctrine is teaching about them. If the church is doing both faithfully, you can’t have one without the other.
Sound doctrine is essential for the church. If you read the New Testament epistles, you’ll see the many ways bad doctrine sickens the church, and how the simple teaching of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected is the cure. Good doctrine is the map that keeps us on the narrow path of following Jesus Christ.
We also need to remember that doctrine is the map, not the path itself. In every generation the church struggles to keep its doctrine in line with both the Word of God and the world around. Over the past twenty centuries the church has accumulated stacks and stacks of doctrine. A lot of it has been faithful and true, and a lot has been foolish. But however much we tweak or revise the map, the church must always, always keep the True Destination at the center.
(c) Copyright 2007, A Milton Stanley