To doctrine or not to doctrine, that is the question. Does doctrine divide? If one does not learn about various doctrines of the Christian faith does that entail that she holds no doctrine what so ever? Is there such as thing as neutral doctrine or do our words thoughts and actions betray a doctrine even if it is unconscious or unacknowledged?
Is seems to me that pondering doctrine from time to time is a good thing. For the moment, I’ll refrain from making bombastic pronouncements over who’s doctrine is correct. That is not the issue of this post. Rather, I think we and I live a more impoverished Christian life when we neglect that which Paul admonished Timothy to be mindful of – our doctrine. (Yes, Paul also mentioned watching one’s life, but that seems to be trendy right now and not neglected like doctrine is). By thinking through what the Bible says about who God is and working through how others have interpreted the Scripture I do not become one of the elite, educated Christians who is now closer to God because of my vast knowledge. Nor does this engagement of the intellect qualify me for roles of authority in the church (For I might have developed much information while at the same time I cheat others in business and show disdain for family and neighbors). Rather thinking about doctrine and recognizing that these truths, however imprecise and imperfectly articulated due to our lack of omniscience, make universal claims on my life and the entire world brings one into a direct contact with the reality of “I AM.” I, we can’t walk away from those ponderings and switch, unchanged to another daily activity, like shoveling the snow or doing the dishes. Encountering the “I AM,” even if the encounter begins with thoughts about our Creator is itself a transformational process.