I've been hearing more and more about the necessity of focusing on Jesus and not doctrine from other Christians—Protestants and Catholics, alike. They say that since we are all Christians and part of the universal body of Christ, that's really what matters. And we should be encouraging and building each other up by focusing on Jesus. Not putting each other down by criticizing each other's doctrines. However, I'm very leary of this.
While it's true that there is a universal body of believers in every church; it's also true that God has an end-time church, the SDA Church, which he wants His believers to join. Not only that, we are to declare this truth to others so that may join the SDA Chuch as well.
What makes the SDA Church God's end-time church is the doctrines it holds. They are true to the Bible. This goes to show that God is, in fact, leading this movement. If we would concede to the popular notion that doctrines don't matter, we would not be able to recognize the SDA Chuch as the one being led by God; because we wouldn't be studying the doctrines of the Bible.
Moreover, if we are not studying the doctrines of the Bible, we are not studying the nature of Jesus' return. This is very dangerous because the devil plans to counterfeit the return of the Son of God in order to deceive people into receiving the Mark of the Beast. What better way can he deceive people from discerning the nature of Jesus' coming than getting them to think the doctrines of the Bible aren't improtant, so they don't study about it?
Therefore, in my opinion, the notion of focusing on Jesus, not doctrine, is a deception that accomplishes blinding people to what the true church of God is and fooling them into receiving the mark of the beast by recognizing a false christ. Am I being too extreme, here? What is your opinion on the matter?
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17
Focus on the love of Jesus and He will surely have the Holy Spirit lead you into how to keep His commandments...
For most denominations, including SDAs doctrines are used as a means of dividing the body of Christ. While doctrine is important, and the teaching of what Jesus did and why are doctrine, Teaching about Jesus and his work of salvation is more important than any other doctrinal studies. This does not mean those studies should be put aside.
Paul points out that the body is not just a head or just a hand or arm or leg or foot. All the parts of the body are necessary. Paul applies this to the individual, but it applies just as much to the various denominations. God's elect are not all gathered into one denomination, contrary to SDA teaching. Just as the body needs all its parts, the various denominations are necessary because each of them has their own special part of the truth, and none of them have all the truth. God's elect are scattered all throughout Christianity and in many other religions as well. They are not all SDA and not all SDAs are God's elect. In 1888 EGW told us that not one in 20 SDAs would be taken if Jesus returned then. I doubt we would fare even that well now.
When a part of the body is cut off from the rest of the body it is also cut off from the head, according to Paul's teaching. Do not cut yourself off from the head by rejecting the rest of his body.
God's elect are scattered all throughout Christianity and in many other religions as well. They are not all SDA and not all SDAs are God's elect.
Very interesting what you said. What is the body of Christ? Are apostate churches, for example, considered the body of Christ? How is the one in 20 quotation from EGW applicable in considering the body of Christ? Lastly, how should Adventists evangelize the rest of the world especially in the context of the Three Angel's Message, and how are we to understand Revelation's call to "come out of her my people" (Rev 18:4)?
Yes, very good.
Makes me think of the thought,
"...If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house, nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds." (2John 1:10-11)
So John is saying that the determining factor for receiving (or not receiving) a person is a doctrinal one. And yet we are to be as lambs AMONG wolves, aren't we? We must associate with those that believe differently, but we should not encourage them in their course.
The instruction NOT to bid the person "God speed" (KJV), or to "greet him" (NKJV), interests me. I think there must be a way to 'divide' this word of God rightly. Because Jesus teaches us, that "if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans do this? (Matt 5:47) We are to respectfully acknowledge everyone. I think the admonition in 2John comes down to not encouraging (or strengthening) people in their wrong beliefs.
Jesus is the main focus. without him doctrine means nothing. but the time is at hand when we all have to decide what truth is