It was 1st January, 2015 . 1:30am. We had just returned from 31st December watch night service(night vigil). Before retiring to bed, we deliberated and shared our expectations for 2015 . Theodora--my wife -- asked a question that startled me."Are you grateful for 2015? " Before I will answer her, she added a follow up question "what does your new doctrine say against gratitude?". She is my wife, so of course, I knew why she was asking those questions.
Throughout the service, I was seated soberly :no shouting, no screaming, no jumping--a big contrast of my old self. So to her, that quiet demeanour, in the midst of the "joyful noise" meant something was wrong with her husband who previously will be screaming and jumping all over the place. Let me give you a little background of what has happened to me which I believe can further inform you of the reasons behind my wife's questions. I am of Charismatic persuasion but recently I have been looking intently into Reformed Theology and have questioned many of the beliefs I hold as a Charismatic. That's a brief history.
Now, naturally, Theodora is the first person I must get to understand the changes taking place in my Christian beliefs. This, has, by default, made her the first person I express my disagreements over practices I deem unbiblical. I once disregarded an instruction to apply anointing oil on my forehead to "seal" my Iife. It is unbiblical, I argued to myself. Ephesians 1:13-14 informed my decision.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.Is the seal of the Holy Spirit over my life as a believer not formidable enough for protection? Do I need something else to compliment what God has already done in His word? This and many other unbiblical practices have become a part of our everyday worship.
Unfortunately, many believers today don't question what they believe. We swallow everything in: hook, line and sinker. Sentiments, emotions and feelings have taken over sound doctrines and biblical instructions. The order of the day is what a respected man of God said. Rev. ABC said it so it is true and people, whether it makes sound, biblical, logical and rational sense care less. Unlike the Bereans, we do not search scriptures to find out if what a man of God said conforms to the word of God. Some of the acts we associate with Christianity in our part of the world will easily pass for magic and superstition. Sound doctrine(teaching) or sentiments? What will we build our lives on?
Scriptures admonish us to build our lives on truth-the truth of the word of God. Sadly, many believers don't take personal responsibility for their Christian walk, hence, they are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Paul in his epistle to Pastor Timothy also admonished sound teachings (1 Timothy 3:16, 4:1-4). Jesus said the truth--not emotions and sentiments--will set us free. John 17:17 also points us to truth. So does John 4:24. To live a victorious christian life, our foundations must be built on sound and solid doctrines. The word must take root in our lives. We must mature to be able to also instruct others in the word of God. We must rightly divide the word and we must be doers of the word and not hearers only.