Someone once told me that after their grandmother died, she became a beautiful angel in heaven. This gal had been raised in the church. She’d even attended a private, Christian college.
Her background allowed me the space to address that little hiccup head on.
“You’re a sweet gal,” I said. “But your theology is off. Your grandmother may well be with Jesus and doing some awesome stuff, but she was not created as, nor ever will be an angel.”
My friend looked at me wide-eyed then blinked. Cute as she was, I had to explain the difference between humans and angels. I don’t say “had to” in the context that it was a chore I begrudgingly took on. I say, “had to,” because I felt if I didn’t share the truth, this gal may come to believe all sorts of fallacies. We’re so capable of following the trail of heresies, Jesus often referred to us as sheep – animals with limited brain capacity who will follow any-old path to self-seeking greener pastures.
I am passionate about doctrine. I get asked “why” all the time. Recently, after railing against the current, and popular notion that God’s creation account in Genesis is not a literal, six-day description, a friend asked me, “What does it matter? What does that have to do with salvation?”
My answer? Everything. Every-thing.
Doctrine matters. So does grace and grace abounds where our doctrines are often wrong. But the Scriptures warn us to be sleuths when it comes to uncovering the truth from the Word of God because in the last days, false teachings will be so slick, so attractive, we stand the chance of being deceived. This results in our heading out to deceptive, green-looking pastures.
I’ll write on the creation account and why that matters in another blog. Today’s exposé on false teachings about angels allows me to start slow and build from here.
Those who know me well know that I can’t stop myself sometimes. My brain goes into overdrive when I hear obvious, false and sometimes just silly theology. Recently, after learning I was a Christian, a new friend set out to defend her own, made-up, theology which was a blend of new age and Hinduism (defined as Syncretism). She wrapped up her aggressive discourse with a “After all, God loves everybody, and that’s what Jesus said.”
You won’t believe what Scripture blasted through my brain as soon as those words came out of her mouth. “Jacob I loved, but Esau, I hated.” Romans 9:9-13.
Don’t freak out. I didn’t quote this verse to her to convince her she was wrong about Jesus’ love for mankind. I believe that Jesus died for all, loving all, wanting none to perish. But, the Esau Scripture blew up my brain and I was forced to do something with it.
Which is the point of doctrine. We are forced to examine the parts of the Bible that ruffle our feathers, make us squirm, and don’t fit into our feel-good-God boxes. Doctrine matters because it forces us to look at just who God says He is. Which is sometimes quite different from who we want Him to be.
“But really,” Laurie, I can hear you ask. “What harm is done if a few biblically illiterate believers think we become angels when we die?”
This innocent-looking little hiccup alters God’s redemption story.
Jesus didn’t become an angel in order to reconcile fallen angels back into a relationship with God.
That privilege was given to man alone.
Christ put on flesh and bone to become like one of his lowly human creatures. Humans are redeemed. Angels are not. This is radical and so mind-blowing, even angels are fascinated by it. (1 Peter 1:12). As we should be.
Doctrine keeps us looking at God’s revelations about who he is, and away from our own, limited reasoning skills. Holding to doctrine is taking a stance on God’s Word. To say I want to be doctrinally correct is to say, “I am a created thing and my creator has revealed all of himself to me through the Word (which is also Christ, John 1). And as a created thing, I am in subjection to the Creator. Even when it doesn’t make sense to my wee, little brain.”
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
In this blog, I’ve taken a very simple, misunderstanding to illuminate the need for sound doctrine. In coming blogs, we’ll look at more complex, often debated Bible passages that get twisted around and used to create fake beliefs about God and His purposes.
I don’t have mighty angel wings. But I do have fingers and I type away, fighting against the fake dogmas looking to pull you and me away from truth.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” our human king explained. The question is not “Does doctrine matter? The question is, “Do I believe the Word?
“And the Word became flesh…”