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Some Christians think we shouldn’t focus on doctrine as long as we maintain a vibrant community in the church. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul explores the Pastoral Epistles to reveal how bad theology can infect our relationships and every aspect of our church life.
Now in the Pastoral Epistles, we see again Paul’s functioning as a task theologian, and we see his constant wrestling with the problems that are affecting the infant church. And one of the most egregious of those problems is the infecting of the congregations with false doctrine. And I’m amazed in our day and age how little attention we want to give to matters of sound doctrine. We are perhaps the more relationally oriented—or the most relationally oriented generation of Christians in the history of the church. What I mean by that is that we want to put so much emphasis on community and fellowship and relationships, and we see the tendency of doctrine and doctrinal differences to provoke debate and quarrels and divisions that we’ve come to the place in many circles where we say, “Well we shouldn’t be engaged in the study of doctrine at all, because all it does is end up in controversy and divisions and the like.” But that idea would be utterly foreign to the thinking of the Apostle Paul. Because Paul always saw an unbreakable relationship between a true understanding of the Word of God and righteous relationships. It would have been a false dichotomy for the Apostle to have a wedge driven between doctrine and practice. And he was very much concerned, as the church was beginning to grow in its original setting, with the invasion of false teaching. And there’s that tendency, particularly in any new enterprise that’s more or less in its formative stages, where it seems to be up for grabs, and everybody wants to impose their particular perspective or their views on the nascent institution. And so, we see this concern repeated over and again in the Pastoral Epistles.