More than ever, the visible churches need to get back to the doctrine of the Scriptures
‘Doctrine’ is a word that many people are suspicious of today. It smacks of overbearing authority, outmoded categories of thought, and something that belongs to the ‘sinbin’ of history. It’s held to be the source of division both in the past and in the present. In an age of individualism and individual rights, it’s viewed at best irrelevant and at worst oppressive. Furthermore, it comes with a strong whiff of hypocrisy as Christian churches are regarded as having failed to live up to their own standards. For many, there is no place for it in the modern era.
The irony is of course that biblical and Christian doctrine is being attacked and replaced by a new doctrine, emerging out of western liberal fundamentalism. In the brave new world of this doctrine, dissent is stamped out by law, power and bullying. A new overbearing ‘politically correct’ world view must reign supreme no matter the cost. Its method to supplant all other world views is reminiscent of the fascism of Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’, where all dissent is kicked out of the public square. The outcome inevitably leads to moral decline, the cheapening of human life, harsh and punitive intolerance, as well as a heightening of human fear and misery.
In complete opposition to such enslavement of the human soul, Jesus said ‘the Truth will set you free’. His truth. The truth of the Gospel; the truth about and concerning him. This truth is the faith delivered once and for all to the Apostles and it is to be passed down the generations. The reason we believe and pass on this doctrine is that it is only this body of belief than can bring human freedom and flourishing. Gospel truth sets us free from what destroys us. Gospel truth frees us from self-destruction. It lifts human life from the mud and dirt of its own moral confusion and mess. It brings us life where there was once only the prospect of death. It gives hope, purpose and meaning, where before there was only hopelessness, confusion and despair. Such doctrine blesses and brings light in the darkness.
For this reason, we, in Reform Ireland, are passionately committed to the doctrine of the apostolic Gospel. Prayerfully preached and faithfully lived, the doctrine of the Gospel, of the Word of God, is the only medicine that can ever cure a broken and sick world. So, we call the Church of Ireland back from the brink of being taken in by the doctrines of western liberal fundamentalism and to renew itself in the teachings of the Word of God. Only in this way, can the Church of Ireland even have any relevance, let alone healing power in the island of Ireland.