Knowing God vs. Knowing Doctrine

When looking at the Christian faith there are two ways of going about it. One is knowing God and His glory and faithfulness. The other is knowing a doctrine and using it to replace God’s glory and faithfulness.

The first, knowing God, is a wonderful pursuit that leads us into places of great ministry and actually leads to great doctrine. For centuries the Church has had the Creeds which teaches that God is our source. This is a core teaching of Scripture. This is also the reason Scripture carries a highly relational view of a good God. God does not create and then destroy; he just creates. Destruction happens when humans take matters into their own hands, and go against a God fighting for those who want to bring the greatest glory to the Creator who has given them good things. God is always giving and waiting to give good things to the World.

God is the good source. We want a relationship with that God.

The second, knowing doctrine as God, is a dangerous place that ruins or limits ministry. It amazes me how many times we do this still. It reminds me of Peter saying that Jesus was the Messiah, but did not want to say that Jesus was supposed to die. To Him, the Messiah had to follow the rules set up for him. But Christ kept going the direction that He had plotted. With the Church today, this is like the doctrinal stances and personal beliefs we want to hold. We have a tendency to hold on to the rules that we have made. But there are problems with this. These problems are known has control, will-power, and greed. We want to define things before God gets Hands on it.

What is it that you call God? Is it the Christ in you or the Christ you have created?

If the latter, then we lose the inward reality of the faith which comes from a greater reality outside of us. As Richard Foster once said, “With the decline of the inward reality of the Christian faith, an increasing tendency to stress the only thing left, the outward form, developed. And whenever there is a form devoid of spiritual power, law will take over because law always carries with it a sense of security and manipulative power.”

Is that not true? Have we not seen that a million time in history? God wants us to find the Christ in us and to continually move deeper towards Him. In doing so, we will find that doctrines and rules, even the so-called biblical ones, were not fulfilling the law. They were not things that brought true security. Only proper relationship with God and His creation can fulfill the law. That is the only thing that can offer a true, un-manipulative power that comes in the Spirit.

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