We Are the Church of God 7th Day in Grants Pass

 

This statement appears on our website and in our literature.

*   The Church of God 7th Day in Grants Pass exists to share the joy of fellowship through mutual support as members of the one church, which is the body of Christ. I invite you to join us as we acknowledge God, praise Him, love Him, learn His desires for each member of the congregation, act upon His desires as led by His Holy Spirit, and obey Him. I believe there is a need to actively reach out and serve God by serving His people and all people everywhere. I believe there is no better time than now and no better place than here, wherever here and now may be. I believe we need to stand together in unity and faith lest we stumble and no one is there to help us up. I believe God is calling you to fellowship and I believe you will find it with us.

That statement could probably be applied to the churches of almost any denomination. But there are things that define us as different from other denominations. Such things are normally considered matters of doctrine. Now doctrine is sometimes thought of as a bad thing, but it is not. Consider just these few verses about doctrine.

*   (1 Tim 1:3 NIV)  As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer

*   (1 Tim 1:10 NIV)  for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers--and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

*   (1 Tim 4:16 NIV)  Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

*   (1 Tim 6:3 NIV)  If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,

*   (2 Tim 4:3 NIV)  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

*   (Titus 1:9 NIV)  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

*   (Titus 2:1 NIV)  You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.

If I must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine then I must know what that doctrine is! Jesus taught doctrine.

*   (Mat 7:28 KJV)  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

So just what is doctrine? Essentially it is a teaching or a set of things taught. And in churches it is generally considered that set of important, even essential, teachings that taken as a whole define a denomination as distinct from other denominations.  Now denominations will typically share much of their doctrine with other denominations but have at least one doctrine that makes them unique. In our case, Sabbath is one doctrine that separates us from most other churches. The state of the dead is probably another. Taken as a whole we are different from all other denominations.

 

Many of our doctrinal beliefs are posted on our website. Last year we had a series of Wednesday Bible studies on doctrinal issues. And today I have brought some material that presents doctrinal issues in a written format. I will make these booklets available to anyone that wants one. Let me show you what they look like and give you an idea of their content. Show materials here. See them on the Church Website.

 

Now doctrine is not dogma. It can be changed if it is determined it should be. People can have differences of opinion on doctrine. Those differences of opinion can be discussed one on one in a Bible study setting. A difference of opinion does not mean a person cannot be accepted. But if there is strong disagreement on a critical idea or two then perhaps one should see if there is a better fit for one or the other person. On the other hand we need to accept one another and not reject one another if that is possible.

*   (Heb 12:14 NIV)  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

*   (2 Cor 13:11 NIV)  Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

*   (1 Cor 10:32-33 NIV)  Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-- {33} even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Cor 11:1 NIV)  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

We can disagree but we should not be disagreeable. There is a time for everything but a sermon is not the time to question church doctrine. If a doctrine is intolerable then you need to make sure you understand the doctrine. If it is still intolerable then you need to find a group of Christians that have a different doctrine on that issue.

 

Be careful. You will never find the perfect church. I myself have some difference of opinion on some subjects. I am given the freedom to follow my own conscience. You also have that same freedom. Use it wisely.

*   (Rom 14:1 NIV)  Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

*   (Rom 15:1 NIV)  We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.

*   (1 Cor 8:9 NIV)  Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

*   (1 John 2:9-12 NIV)  Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. {10} Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. {11} But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him. {12} I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

*   (1 Tim 6:3-5 NIV)  If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, {4} he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions {5} and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

*   (Gal 5:13-15 NIV)  You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. {14} The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." {15} If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.