I was conversing with a couple the other day about their hunt for a church home. I asked them what they are looking for in a church. Their criteria, in this general order was:
- Close to home
- Not too big
- Few “rules”
I asked them how important church doctrine is to them. Their response: Not important at all.
While I thought a lot of thoughts to myself at that reply, I allowed the stream of consciousness to continue and bit my tongue, as in what I recall Archie Bunker telling his wife: “Stifle yourself, Edith.” But I refuse to bite or stifle my fingers as I am now typing.
A lack of concern about doctrine is like attending a wild party – no telling where it will lead. Or like the proverbial box of chocolates – you never know what you’ll get.
I have to admit there is consistency in their response. Indifference toward doctrine goes hand in hand with disliking “rules” and “judging.” Not judging and disliking rules means it doesn’t really matter what you or anyone else believes or does. That seems rather queer to me, especially in a church.
What, again is the purpose of attending church? Oh, to fellowship with likeminded believers. Really. If all “like minded believers” attend a church because they disdain “rules” and “judging”, that will likely be a church that doesn’t care much what it believes. Believers in what? Indifference, rebellion and anarchy?
Here is their theme song:
You gotta go where you wanna go,
Do what you wanna do
With whoever you wanna do it with.
These are the words of the girl left behind by the guy who does his own thing. These hippie-inspired lyrics have inspired many boomers to adopt this as their life’s motto. Anarchy and rebellion, doing our own thing, have become the highest value and the primary goal for our preferred church – as long as there are likeminded believers in attendance.
My understanding of the purpose of attending church is to worship God, be reminded of what Christ has done for us, inform us how to be pleasing to God, and to be encouraged and encourage others in the faith. To do this there needs to be DOCTRINE that instructs us in a number of things:
- What is worship
- The nature of God
- Who Christ is
- What he did and why
- Thoughts and behaviors that are pleasing to God, and by extension, what thoughts and behaviors are not
- What faith is
- Faith in what
- How to encourage others.
If I cared little about doctrine chances are I would end up attending a church that perverts the worship experience, distorts the nature of God, denies who Christ really is, ignores what He did for us and why, condones any thought and behavior, dismisses the need for faith or what to believe in, and only encourages others to rebel against “doctrine” as I do.
And we need a church for that?
Here is the rest of the story about these lyrics. The next verse of the Mamas and Pappas song reads:
You've been gone a week, and I tried so hard
Not to be the crying kind -
Not to be the girl you left behind.
Substitute the words “the God you left behind” in the last line and the feelings hit home. Those who don’t care about doctrine don’t really care about their God.