Can Un-Sound Doctrine Damn?
Hello Benjamin Fischer!
I wanted to ask you this question cuz I've gotten a lot of different answers from different pastors and some leaders. Do you think doctrine can determine one's salvation? My question is, there seems to be a lot of believers who believe in salvation and Jesus going to the cross and rising again, but with that, they also seem to live in ways contrary to what the Bible teaches. They literally embrace unsound doctrine. So, do you think in such cases that false doctrine can determine one's salvation?
Thanks for your question. And thanks also for giving me some time to get some daylight on my ministry schedule here. As I read your question, I see it as primarily having to do with the boundary line which runs between justification and sanctification. Many insider-critics of modern, western evangelicalism view most American Christians as inveterate "comfort seekers." Hence, the solution for some has been to draw a hard line around the cross so as to close out the insincere from presumptive salvation. It seems to me that what you are therefore asking is: How should we divide (or perhaps even blur) the aforementioned issues so as not affirm what Dietrich Bonhoeffer once referred to as "cheap grace." The trouble with these well-meaning attempts is that the gospel winds up getting lost in a number of cases. Take for example the doctrine of "surrender-based" assurance. This is the teaching that one cannot know that one is saved unless one is totally or perfectly surrendered to Christ. Clearly false. Or take the issue of King James Onlyism—the idea that one cannot know that one is reading the word of God unless it is a King James Bible. Again—false!
Now, all of these are challenging issues, but I think they apply to your broader question. False doctrine is propounded to the effect that a soul loses sight of the narrow way of grace. It therefore seems to me that a person can indeed be lost due to false doctrine which is why so many leading preachers and teachers in Church history so strongly emphasized it. I for one would agree with the majority of evangelical preachers, that right doctrine is indeed critical. That is why I look to the scriptures daily. I want to determine to walk the narrow road, which is the way that Jesus called us. So also, I believe every preacher is called to embrace the same approach. We want to look attentively to matters of doctrine, for by doing so, we save not just ourselves, but also, all those who hear us. Hope all of that somehow helps Jason! And thanks again for asking! Remain blessed.
Ben Fischer <><