Osteen, Robertson, and Driscoll
Joel Osteenn, Phil Robertson, and Mark Driscoll have all been tossed by the waves of poor doctrine, and yes so have you. At least to some extent. God has given us Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, and church leaders to equip us so that we might attain unity and grow to maturity, and it begins with good doctrine. But what are the basic tenets of the faith that are non negotiable, that define us as Christian, and from which unity stands.
1. That God exists and is holy and loving.
2. That man exists and is sinful and far from God.
3. That God sent His son, Jesus, as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of man's sin, and to bring about redemption for the whole world.
4. That Jesus rose again from the dead conquering sin and death once and for all.
5. That salvation is by faith in Christ alone, In his death for our sin, and resurrection to life.
6. That salvation is not by works but is a gift from God, through faith.
7. That the Holy Spirit indwells all believers giving gifts for the edification of the body.
8. That the Church is the body of Christ manifest in the world.
9. That love is the defining characteristic of the church for both family and enemy.
10. Forgiveness and reconciliation is our offer to all who repent from sin.
11. That holy living is our goal, not perfection.
12. That Jesus is coming again to restore creation.
These are non negotiable because they define us as Christian. To eliminate any of the doctrines above would be to erode the very essence of Christianity. What happens in the church is that we add to the list of essentials until we become so narrow in our doctrine that we are exclusive, even from within. On the other hand there are those who water down the essentials so as not to offend those on the outside, and don't really believe in anything, and they are carried away by cunning, crafty, and deceitful schemes.
The Apostle John boiled the essentials down to a single word, love, and then he fleshed it out. Let me show you.
# God loved us through the death and Resurrection of His Son Jesus.
# We love God through our faith in His Son's sacrifice.
# Jesus loves us by sending the Holy Spirit to fill, guide us and give us gifts.
# We love God and one another by utilizing our gifts for worship and edification.
# We love the world by sharing God's love for them through Christ's death and resurrection.
Here is the hard part. Every time you open your mouth you will be judged by others. They will determine, by what ever set of essential doctrine they proclaim, whether you are accepted or not. The evil one is crafty and cunning and seeks to wash the church away in waves of foolish doctrine that lead to schisms and disunity. But do not worry Jesus has overcome the world.
The 12 "doctrines" are what I hold and teach to be the essentials necessary for fellowship among believers. Everything else I hold in my hand loosely. I may hold positions on things like old/young earth, Calvinism/Arminianism, women's roles, moral issues, the millennium, or which Left Behind movie is least inaccurate, but they will not define whether I have fellowship. Unity begins with the bedrock of Christ, built on the Apostle and Prophets, perpetuated by pastors and teachers, and held together by the unifying indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If we diligently seek these things we will not be swept away by waves of bad doctrine or deceived by schemes. I'm just saying...
Eph. 4:14 "so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes."