Email Tips: The Doctrinal Police

This "tip" was originally delivered on Saturday, June 3rd, 2023 .

“Who made you the doctrinal police?”

When I received this rhetorical rebuke, my imagination started going wild.

There you are sitting in church listening to the preacher when he starts teaching some wrong doctrine.

Some in the group are asleep and never hear it anyway. More are listening but are too green to know what he said was wrong and swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Only a few of you recognize the error, but due to a few mental excuses, you merely pearse your lips and keep silent.

Suddenly, the sleeping saints are bolted awake by the wail of sirens, swirling lights, and a few responsible authorities walk up to put a stop to the error, quoting chapter and verse that was transgressed. Perhaps the altercation would end with a warning or a slip of paper (a doctrinal position paper or tract).

Doctrinal police, I thought. What an idea!

There would be far less wrong teaching if everytime error was taught from a pulpit sirens and authorities were involved.

Of course, the sirens might be too much, and I am not advocating for a return to the real doctrinal prisons of the inquisition.

However, God did call us in the church to be the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). We are to be stewards of the mysteries and soldiers of the word of God. We are to be servants of one another speaking the truth in love (Eph 4:15), protecting each other from false teachers and error, and affirming and supporting sound doctrine (Titus 1:9-11).

To protect and serve, supporting a community … that sounds familiar.

What police do always seems to be controversial, but one thing becomes clear: where there is policing, crime is reduced and the community prospers.

We need less flagrant doctrinal abuse and error allowed in churches. Where can we find the doctrinally furnished, scripturally convicted, stewards of truth that might serve others by standing in the pew protecting and defending the word of God by stopping and correcting the speech of those who speak error?

And that might just be our problem. Those are in short supply. (Or, they are being told to stand down and allow “different thoughts” into the church.)

For your edification,

Justin “doctrinal po-po” Johnson

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This "tip" was originally published in the weekly Grace Ambassadors Update sent free to subscribers.