Let me illustrate how I see the importance of Christian doctrine. I have two children. One lives in a city a few hundred miles away and the other lives overseas. It occured to me that when I go to visit the child that lives a few hundred miles away I pack very differently than when I go to visit the child that lives overseas. For a trip to visit the child a few hundred miles away I drive my car which means I can pack whatever I think I need in the car and hit the road. I often have a suitcase or two and then several other things packed in small bags that can ride in the back seat or trunk of the car. I just have to make sure that anything breakable is securely packed and off I go. No one stops me to ask me where I’m going and I can travel on my own shedule.
For the child that lives overseas packing for the trip and going on the trip is a whole different situation. Everything must fit in my suitcase or carryon. There can be no loose items floating around. I will need identification that will definitely be checked and rechecked. I will be stopped numerous times and required to show my identification. I will travel in accordance with an airline’s schedule not my own.
In both instances I pretty much take the same things with me. It’s just that when I travel overseas everything I pack needs to be much more organized and clearly thought out.
I believe some people approach Christian doctrine similar to the way I pack for a trip to see my child that lives just a few hundred miles away. It’s a pretty relaxed approach to doctrine. Random things can be added without too much thought to keeping things all organized and united.
I am a part of and cherish a Lutheran denomination that approaches Christian doctrine more like packing for a trip to see a child overseas. Since our journey through this world is a long one with many stops and challenges along the way, often being at the mercy of other peoples’ schedules and agendas, we can’t afford to have our doctrine loosely thrown together in the back seat of the car. I has to be organized and concise, ready for every challenge that may come along the way.
Yes, it takes more time and effort to pack for a trip overseas. Yes, it takes more time and effort to have an organized, clear confession of faith. But our trip throught his life is not just a leisurely drive down a freeway for a few hundred miles. Our journey is long, it is hard, it is through a world that is hostile to our faith. A clear and organized body of doctrine is much more advantageous for Christians than something that is just loosely pieced together. I am thankfuld for all the hard work my Lutheran ancestors have done and all my Lutheran contempories are currently doing to provide me with a clear and organized system of Christian doctrine that properly equips me for a successful journey through this life.