Doctrinal preaching is not, nor should it ever be, simply the collection and distribution of biblical information. What one knows and thinks about God greatly impacts his worldview. Doctrine influences understanding, attitude, choice, and action. If doctrine is anything, it is practical. It is emotive. Doctrine impacts life. Sound theology is important for the people of God. They need it.
1 – Doctrine validates spiritual experience.
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. – 2 John 4
Doctrine becomes the grid whereby God’s people can validate their worship and knowledge of God as truth. For example, how does one know their expressions of worship are true and God honoring? Sound theology gives the people of God the ability to filter their expressions of worship as pleasing to the Lord. How does one know if their actions and decisions are approved of by God? Once again, an solid understanding of the Bible provides the framework whereby the people of God can discern if their lives are being lived in a manner that is pleasing to God (Rom. 12.1-2).
2 – Doctrine encourages personal holiness.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. – Col. 1.9-12
The more God’s people know God and His character, the more concerned they become with walking in a manner pleasing to Him (Col. 4:1-17). Simply put, the humble pursuit of doctrine should increase the believer’s desire to be like Christ.
3 – Doctrine strengthens church vitality and health.
The theology of a church produces ripples which extend far from the Sunday morning sermon. Theology influences church ministry, helps the church determine priorities and serves as a motivator for worship and service. Theology is indispensable for the church.
How foolish, then, the clamour for non-doctrinal preaching! And how desperately you will impoverish your ministry if you yield to that demand. . . . Drop dogma from your preaching, and for a brief time you may titillate the fancy of the superficial, and have them talking about your cleverness; but that type of ministry wears out speedily, and garners no spiritual harvest in the end. – James Stewart