One of the reasons I started writing about doctrine every Thursday is because our world needs to be reminded of doctrinal truth. The greatest challenge to truth is false doctrine. While studying for a sermon this morning I discovered five sources for false doctrine in 1 Timothy 1:3-11.
In this passage Paul is reminding Timothy what task he was to do when left behind in Ephesus. The general idea was to deal with false teaching there, but in discussing it more thoroughly Paul mentions a number of things which could be taken as sources of false doctrine. So let me list for you some of the places false doctrine comes from.
1) A desire to be different: Whatever is, is. Therefore those seeking to know or teach doctrine should be pretty well aligned with each other, because these teachings should reflect what is. Unfortunately, humanity loves new approaches and new teachings. These new ideas often give rise to false doctrine.
2) Myths: Since doctrine is a search for truth, the inclusion of non-truths is highly destructive to sound theology. The word syncretism describes the attempt to blend believes from different religions into one spiritual viewpoint. It is an old problem, but is found fresh in every generation.
3) Endless Genealogies: This phrase is born out of a habit of the ancient Jewish person to find the value of a person by their heritage. In today’s world the equivalent is racism or any other idea that makes some people better than others.
4) Empty Speculations: When seeking doctrinal truth you should be looking for what God reveals instead of trying to figure it out yourself. In this way, we should not be asking “What if?” but always limit ourselves to “What is?”
5) Justify Sin: Probably the single largest source of false doctrine is teachings which are designed to allow us permission to do what we have every reason to know is sinful.