December 17, 2007

4 Things/#2 Doctrine vs The Path

One of the other HUGE things that has come to me, is the difference between believing in a doctrine, and following the path God has chosen for me.

First the realization of the deadness of doctrine. Doctrine, is a destination, not a journey. Doctrines are a clearly defined set of beliefs based upon specifically chosen scriptures from the bible. The only real thing that I have learned about doctrines and the bible, is that by carefully choosing the passages for proof, almost any position on faith can be proven through scripture when interpreted through a specific filter. Meaning, in essence, I can basically prove almost anything biblically. Once realizing this, it made doctrines of any kind highly suspect. Then upon more research of the ordained leaders of our churchs, came to find out that a great number of them, about 98%, don't regularly study the bible. WHAT? You say. Oh yes, in seminary, they are taught all about their doctrine, what verses support it. How to use those verses to alleviate the fears of any who come with questions about doctrinal beliefs. Being so well armed, is a great disadvantage to them. Great for institutionalized church, but really bad the for pastor, father, priest, etc.. Since they have all of the answers to their questions, why look into the scriptures anymore? Anytime they do read the scriptures, they look at it through their doctrine filtered eyes and see confirmation of what they believe every time they do. So what really is the use of study, when all has already been revealed. Plus, doctrines don't change. The strictures of the faith were laid down hundreds of years ago, they have not changed, nor will they change. I liken it to a tree. The only time a tree does not change of it's own will, is when it is dead. I like to compare any organization to trees. Because if they are not growing, they are dead and rotting. Just like a doctrine. Like the rings of the dead tree, the rules of the doctrine are clearly defined. To go outside of those rules, is not allowed. So you must stay in one place, confined, unable to grow, or to move along the path that is already, oh so narrow.

Unlike doctrine, the path is something that stretches on to our deaths. It is something that we travel at God's direction, not our own. There are no limits on God, so there are no limits on our path. God will not lead us astray, he will not lead us into something that would be unpleasing to him. He will lead us where he needs us to be. Just like he led Jesus. Jesus was always criticized for the friends that he had and hung out with. If I were in a doctrinal organization, my deep friendships with homosexuals, drug users, adulterers, and the likes, would earn me scorn as well. I count that as blessing. To be so compared to the Christ. But being outside of those chains of the doctrinal rules, with an infinite horizon, with only God as my leader, is so incredibly freeing, that it can not be described in words. Only someone released from slavery or prison can truly begin to comprehend the feeling. The path is far harder than the decision to be doctrinal. God will put you through trials at each step of the path, and will not let you move on until you learn the lesson that he has to teach. That sucks, but, it is infinitely better than the chains of the other.


One Voice of Many said...

yup... and...


Mike said...

Nate ~ I love this. When I read it, I pictured a map with the start and the destination in big circles and the route clearly marked by big red arrows. I imagine the instructions on this map do not allow for deviation from the course.

In my map, there is a beginning and a destination. The route is also clearly marked "get from here to there". The difference is on my map, there is the flexibility to get off of the major highways and visit the small towns that are on the two lane roads. In doing that, sometimes my course changes. That's cool though because I still keep the end in sight.

Nate said...

Mike, That is it in one way. But I was more talking that you would end up in a cul de sac, and would go no further. The only way to really experience the full journey, was with a spiritual tour guide.

Mike said...

Doctrine will most likely get you into the cul-de-sac. A lot of them are very beautiful though and easy to decide to stay in. As for me, I would retrace my steps and try to figure out how I ended up there and how to get back out.

Nate said...

In another post I will talk about how they get the basics right. Being inside of a doctrine will not really harm you, but will not allow you to reach full potential.

jON said...

laying down the line and saying THIS IS IT! over so many things taht are still, for me, very up in the air. i think we hardly know anything about this human experience or our potential.

what doctrines do is they put up mental roadblocks and say to your thoughts, "GO NO FARTHER!" then, when you have ceased from independant thought, doctirnes tell you what god is like. the big problem for me, is taht they are statments built off of "scriptural principles." meaning, someone saw a common theme, in their minds, through several passages. they then proceeded to sum up those scriptures with a handy little belief. mind you, this handy belief is not exactly in the bible, but it captures what is perceived to be the spirit of it.

very well intentioned.

unfortunately, over a period of time, people who have stopped having independant, critical thought now perceive the handy belief to be the "word of god."

skip a few more generations, and now an entire solid set of "word of god-handy beliefs" have set themselves up as a false idol proclaiming itself to be the way to the father. and more than that, parading itself around as if it was the most high god.

yet when you are free from all of that trap, you can disobey man and not feel like you are disobeying god. because you aren't. they may say you are, but you are not answerable to them.

not many don't see it that way right now.

because of the mental roadblocks that say "GO NO FARTHER!" when they start to question "God".
(the one with the capital G)

Susan said...

98% don't regularly study the Bible that is indeed worrying.

Valorosa said...

98% !!!!?????

Oh My :-(

Nate said...

My grandfather ask my father, how many pastors that he knows, that read the bible daily and do real deep studying of the bible? (meaning learning greek and hebrew and actively trying to discern the word) He said two. (my dad knows hundreds of pastors) My father was one of them, and one other pastor. 98% might be low. probably more along the lines of 99.5%. But, the percentage of people actively reading and trying to understand the bible among lay people is much higher.