What is the purpose of Christian Doctrine?
The word “communicate” actually means “to have in common”. When we communicate with a friend, the two of us have something in common. Language is the usual means of communication. Though much of human communication is nonverbal, language difficulty is the most significant cause of communication failures.
God communicated to man in many ways, but the greatest was Jesus Christ. Christianity is a relationship between God and man, based on the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. Now, every person who is saved has a living relationship to God. Those Christians who allow their relationship to God to affect their whole personality prosper.
Christians are expected to reach out in relationships to other people particularly those who are not saved, as well as other Christians in fellowship.
Every man is potentially a loner, but he can reach out of his shell for meaningful relationships when he has a full understanding of the relationship between God and himself. It takes strength to reach to another person. The ultimate strength is in Jesus Christ who forgives our sins, gives us meaning in life and gives us strength to rise above our circumstances.
The Bible is the Record of God’s Communication
The record of God’s communication to man is the Bible. But it is more than a history of how God has reached out to man; it is the basis of man’s communication with God today. Since the Bible is the communication of the gospel to people at their point of need, then it must be rational and logical.
God reveals himself as rational and logical. Since Bible teaches that man is made in the image and likeness of God, we may conclude that human beings are rational and logical, and that the channel of communication between God and man proceeds in a logical and rational manner.
When God speaks to man (revelation) it will follow rational and logical means. We can conclude that God is not illogical, nor does he do foolish things.
When man seeks God he cannot forsake his God-given intellect, nor can he find God by seeking the Lord in foolish ways. The channel of communication between God and man runs in both directions, and Christianity must always be rational. That does not mean we will understand the entire Bible, nor does it mean God will reveal everything to us. But it does mean that God will never ask us to violate our minds to be Christians.
When the gospel is presented to us, it must be communicated to us so that we understand it. (That does not mean the content is changed but that the method of expressing it is revised) Since we are rational and logical beings, the gospel must be communicated to us in a rational manner. This means that the gospel must be systematic in content and presentation. From this we get the term “systematic theology,” or doctrine.
Several steps are taken in making doctrine systematic and logical.
First, we must look at all of the facts on every topic of doctrine.
We begin by looking at biblical content, but we also include truth from any and every source: biology, history, sociology, and philosophy. As an illustration, when we are studying the nature of God we must consider all the facts of God that are taught in the Bible concerning the nature of God. But we also include all information concerning him that we learn from nature.
Second, we must classify the facts into a consistent whole.
This means that the verses which deal with the holiness of God must be correlated with those that teach the justice of God. Then we write the results of our study into statements that give a total picture of the person of God.
Finally, we must analyze all of our statements, making sure they are consistent, so that we do not contradict ourselves.
But also, we analyze them to make sure our statements correspond to the reality of the world and the people who live here. The final result is doctrine. Now we must express it as simply and clearly as possible, so that others will be able to understand the total revelation of God on each subject.
Communication Brings About Worship
Since man is spiritual he has an innate desire to worship someone. The problem is that man, the worshiper, has invented his own ways to worship God or has created his own gods to worship. God recognized this weakness and commanded that we should have no other gods before him (Exod. 20:3).
But the obvious question remains: “Which worship is correct?” The answer to true worship is found in what Jesus told the woman at the well. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). God must be worshiped according to truth, which is biblical doctrine. But to worship God by correct doctrine is only part of worship. The worship of God must also be an expression of the deepest feelings in the heart of man, which is-what is meant by worshiping him in spirit.