It is my observation that any teaching which claims to be a sound and scriptural doctrine but which….
(a) cannot be stated in the pure words of God, but
(b) must be stated in words additional to God’s words or
(c) cannot be stated in words which the Holy Spirit teaches but must be stated in words which man’s wisdom teaches,
(d) was never taught by the Lord Jesus and
(e) was never taught by his prophets or apostles…
is one which degrades or dishonours our God in at least two ways:
(1) In Principle: the formulation of every such doctrine which I once embraced teaches by implication that God was not as wise as the composers of the doctrinal statement or creed. Those who formulate such doctrines believe that their choice of words is superior to the words by which God revealed His truth in the scriptures! They believe that they have done a better job of explaining what God meant than He did in the scriptures! They believe that their command of human language is superior to God’s! They are dissatisfied with God’s revelation in scripture and are convinced that it must be improved upon by their own minds and hands! Men who formulate creeds and doctrinal statements almost always claim to take a very high view of scripture but their actions speak louder than their words. One of the marks of rebellious Israel was that they despised God’s words! (2Ch 36:16)
In contrast to those who despise God’s words and feel the necessity of men’s creeds and doctrinal statements, those who simply tremble at God’s word need to hear the words of the Lord’s encouragement in Isaiah 66:2-5 “…to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word…Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.”
(2) In Content: It has been my observation that every doctrine which I once embraced which could not be stated in the pure words of the Lord taught something about God which minimized Him, detracted from Him, dishonoured Him, contradicted or distorted his words or else assigned to a creature attributes or powers which belong only to the Creator!
– The doctrine that “Satan is the god of this world who has blinded the minds of them that believe not” (from II Cor.4:4) not only assigns “deity” to Satan which scripture never does, but it also ascribes to him power which only belongs to our God…the power to blind minds!
-The doctrine of the “Trinity” brings God down to the level of creatures by designating the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as “persons” and “members”. Both of these terms are only properly applied to creatures, not the Creator!
– The doctrine of “Substitutionary Atonement” degrades the work of Christ as a work of substitution. A substitute is always a person or a thing which takes the place of another to do something which the other could normally do for themselves. But what Christ did for us (suffering and dying for us to bring us to God) was something which we could never have done! His was not a work of substitution!
– The doctrines of “baptismal adding” or “baptismal membership” degrades God and ascribes to mere mortals the ability to add people to the church or to make people members of the church! This is a responsibility which scripture assigns to God alone! (Acts 2:47)
-The doctrine of the “Pre-tribulation Rapture” contradicts the words of the Lord in too many ways to count but for now one example will suffice: The “Pre-tribulation Rapture” doctrine teaches that the church will experience rest from our troubles at least seven years prior to the revelation of Jesus Christ. But II Thessalonians 1:6-10 makes clear that both events happen at the very same time!
Do you know of any creed or doctrinal statement composed by uninspired men which does not degrade God or unduly exalt his creatures?