We are living in interesting times. Some say "uncertain times," but when have we ever had "certain" times?
But we are certainly living in interesting times. There are many facets to this when it comes to churches. There's no shortage of them. There is every type of church, denomination, religion or cult out there. It's a smorgasbord. But when it comes to genuine New Testament churches, there are still a lot to choose from, as far as flavor, style, name, doctrines, etc. Even if we narrow it down to "Baptist" churches, there is still a very wide variety out there. There are Southern Baptists, American Baptists, Freewill Baptists, Missionary Baptists, Regular Baptists, Independent Baptists, and the list goes on. Also, not every church that calls itself Baptist is actually a Baptist church.
No, Baptist is not just a name. There are quite a few that use that name, but that's not what makes them Baptist. To be a real, actual, historic, New Testament, Bible-believing Baptist is to hold to a set of Doctrines. You see, Baptist is not a name, but a set of Doctrines. What set of doctrines? Well quite frankly, New Testament doctrines. Now one might say, "That's an awfully broad brush." There are so many doctrines in the New Testament, where do we begin? And how do you know that you have the right ones?
Well, there may be "a lot" of doctrines in the New Testament, but that is the set. Being a Baptist church, a true historic Baptist church, means holding to the actual historic apostolic New Testament doctrines without adding to them or subtracting from them, without modifying any, without adapting any to the times or culture, without avoiding or over-emphasizing any, and without making excuses for or apologizing for any. A church that does this, with pastors, preachers, teachers, and a membership that does this is the biblical-historical definition of a "doctrinally sound New Testament church." Also known (by historic nomenclature) as a Baptist church, in the true sense.
Now, I said all that to say this: Doctrine matters.
As I said at the beginning, we are living in interesting times. Not the least of reasons for that being because we are living in the end of the end times. But I digress. We are living in interesting times because, as far as the churches go, we have such a plethora to choose from, but the vast majority of them, even many (if not most) who call themselves "Baptist" are proud to declare that doctrine is not important. Some even say that a church or congregation cannot be built on doctrine.
Realize, that the word "doctrine" basically means "teaching." Teaching is the thing that teaches someone about the thing(s) they are supposed to know about. Like, say... faith. How would you know anything about your faith without receiving teaching (doctrine)? Jesus said in His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Paul the Apostle instructs (teaching, doctrine!) Timothy in II Timothy 2:2, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." How would Timothy "commit" the doctrines of Paul to faithful men? By teaching, by doctrine.
As a matter of fact, this is so important that the word "teach," "teacher(s)" "teaching," and "doctrine" occur 125 times in the New Testament. The first mention of the word doctrine in the New Testament is associated with Jesus Himself when "...the people were astonished at his doctrine". (Matthew 7:28)
In an age, nay, THE age, when doctrine is diminished and so many are bored or even offended at the mention of it, I see that this is the time to be more steadfast on doctrine than at any time since the canon of Scripture has been closed.
We here at the Freedom Baptist Church take doctrine very seriously. I, as pastor, take it very seriously. I teach it, I preach it, and by the grace of God, our people love it and are riveted by it. By our Lord's strength, we endeavor to live by it. If the Lord leads you to visit this church you will quickly see and hear that that is the case here.
"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." - Jesus, John 7:17