Have you noticed how some people cringe when they hear the word “doctrine?” Recently, while sitting in a waiting room, an older gentlemen struck up a conversation with me about the book I was reading. After informing me that he was the pastor of a small country church, he boasted “I don't preach doctrine—I just preach Jesus!”
Actually, everyone in some way “teaches doctrine.” When I state an opinion or share my beliefs, I am “teaching doctrine.” We all have a worldview, whether biblical or unbiblical, and when this is voiced—we are “teaching doctrine.”
Paul placed a lot of emphasis on the quality of doctrine and repeatedly exhorted pastors to teach “sound doctrine.” Our English word “hygienic” comes from the Greek word that is translated “sound.” If we used this word to refer to a person's physical condition it would mean that they are healthy or “whole.” When Paul speaks of “sound doctrine” he means teaching that is free from any mixture of error. Whole. Pure and uncorrupted. Paul knew that sound doctrine protects and preserves the Christian's spiritual health.
Why does this matter? If we fill our minds with teaching that is not faithful to Scripture, we're allowing error to corrupt our thinking. It may start out as only a slight, almost imperceptible deviation from God's word, but it can lead to disastrous results. Think of it like this: if an airline pilot is unaware that his navigational settings are off one degree, he may not notice at first that he's slightly off course, but believe me–when he ends up landing in Iraq rather than Iran–he will notice!
Sound doctrine matters because sound doctrine is the basis for sound behavior. Our actions proceed from our beliefs. As Christians, it is vital that our actions reflect Christian beliefs.
Prayerfully read through Colossians 2:8 and 2 Pete3:14-18. Compare your thoughts, ideas, and opinions with Scripture. How well do they line up? Have you allowed faulty thinking to enter your mind? Are you flirting with new and exciting philosophies that may actually be lies camouflaged as truth?