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Featured What is a Man-made Doctrine

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Reformed, Apr 11, 2019.

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  1. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Matthew 15:8-9 8
    "‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
    BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
    9‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
    TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”
    What is man-made doctrine? There is no text-book definition but if I were to offer one it would be from a former professor of mine who said, "[Man-made doctrine] is any teaching or theological model that cannot be firmly anchored to scripture and is outside of orthodox Christianity." I think this a good definition because it recognizes that not every teaching has an explicit verse that clearly states the teaching. The definition also recognizes that even though a specific teaching may not be without its critics, it remains within orthodox Christianity. For example, one Christian is pre-millennial while another is amillennial. Obviously, one view is incorrect, although both views are accepted within orthodoxy.

    So, how can we distinguish between orthodox Christian teaching and man-made teachings? First, I am not necessarily referring to obvious non-Christian teachings from groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, although they certainly promote man-made teachings. Within orthodox Christianity, man-made doctrines are often found. Some of these teachings appeal to scripture but draw their conclusions from human reasoning apart from scripture. We see examples of this in the prosperity gospel and certain aspects of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movements. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's power of positive thinking mantra has grown up into the self-affirmation teachings of Joel Osteen. These are just examples of man-made teachings that have infiltrated our churches to greater or lesser degrees.

    It is important to point out that not everything we disagree with is a man-made doctrine. However, when you hear things like, "This is how I feel..." or "I cannot find it in the Bible but...", caution flags should go up. Truth is not dependent on how we feel and truth must be grounded in scripture. It should also be within the realm of orthodox Christianity. The Apostle John tells us in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." God has given us His word in order to do exactly that.

    Acts 17:10-11
    The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. ​
     
  2. McCree79

    McCree79 Well-Known Member
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    A "man-made doctrine" is what you call someone's belief, when you don't want to or can't refute it.

    :)

    *Edit: Atleast, that is how most people use it.

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  3. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    I believe denominations develop frameworks through which their members are to understand scripture. And where most denominations agree with each other, they divide themselves off from the others though the errors unique to each denomination. I believe if we cannot find direct quotes from scripture, the doctrine is probably in error.
     
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  4. Lodic

    Lodic Active Member

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    This is indeed a very important topic. Where do we draw the line between one's view vs man-made teaching? As you mention regarding JWs and Mormons, some man-made teachings are pretty obvious - especially when they use extra-biblical sources or change the Bible altogether. Others are not quite so clear. Catholics use the Bible, but they also rely heavily upon teachings from the Church which are not necessarily supported by the Bible.

    What should be the framework for claiming another view is just a man-made doctrine? I suggest that if a case can be made for the view from the Bible alone, it is a legitimate view. For instance, there are many competing views regarding eschatology. Most are considered legitimate views by nearly everyone, especially if they take a "futurist" position. The preterist views are considered as "man-made teachings" by many, even though there is plenty of Biblical support for them. (That's not to say there isn't Biblical support for the futurist views.) Likewise, there is Biblical support for the view that the Gifts of the Spirit ceased with the death of the last Apostle, and Biblical support for the opposite view, that they have not ceased.

    Finally, I suggest that as long as the views do not affect one's salvation, they are not worth a big fight over. When a discussion turns into an argument over "minor" issues, it's time to walk away. It really makes no difference whether you believe the Gifts of the Spirit are for today or they have ceased; it makes no difference whether you believe the prophecies in the Olivet Discourse and Revelation were fulfilled in the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. What does make a difference are issues like whether works are required for salvation; whether Jesus is God in the flesh, etc.
     
    #4 Lodic, Apr 11, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  5. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    I am puzzled by this comparison. I believe it is a legitimate comparison to decide what is orthodox and what is not. However, it should be clear what it a man-made doctrine. Anything that is wrong and not how God meant it is in fact man-made. Of the two examples given pre-mill vs. Amill it is true only one can be right. If one is right then the other is wrong and therefore man-made regardless of how orthodox it is. Orthodoxy does not determine truth. It only determines what is accepted as truth by the greatest number of people.
     
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  6. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    When there is a stark disagreement on what the word of God actually teaches on a matter. The law of the exculded middle, both cannot be true. Either both interpreations are wrong or one is wrong and the other is right. The wrong interpretation or interpretations of the disagreement are man made teachings.
     
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  7. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    What is a man-made doctrine? Anything belief formulated after the first century that ends in -ism.
     
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  8. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Well, that goes without saying for some on this board. I tend to discard whatever those individuals post anyway. Still, there are some Bereans on this board.

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  9. Lodic

    Lodic Active Member

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    When there is a stark disagreement, how do you determine which is the "man-made doctrine"? The one you hold to be true must be true, so all other views must be man-made? What if both / all the views have Biblical support?
     
    #9 Lodic, Apr 11, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  10. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean like Jn 3:16 that Christ died for the whole world as in all people? Yet Calvinist argue that Christ died only for the elect and that is not in scripture.
    MB
     
  11. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    True Biblical support does not have contradictions.
     
  12. McCree79

    McCree79 Well-Known Member
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    It doesn't say that.

    οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν ⸆ τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

    " For in this manner God loved the world, so that He gave the unique Son in order that( ίνα) all who believe in Him shall posses eternal life.

    God loved the world in the manner of giving His Son "ίνα" (in order that) "πας ο πιστευων" (all who believe) should have eternal life. You can prove nothing from this text other that God gave the Unique One for the believers.


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  13. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Stop! Must everything be a Calvinist-Arminian debate? Are you capable of discussing anything else? If not, please let me know so I can add you to my special list.

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  14. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    I think if we define world as Jews and Gentiles both, the passage makes more sense. Salvation was only of the Jews until Christ, but most were very wicked.
     
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  15. McCree79

    McCree79 Well-Known Member
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    I will no longer further my argument against his statement out of respect for you and the OP.

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  16. Lodic

    Lodic Active Member

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    Yet we have opposing views of different "doctrines" whose advocates use only the Bible as support. Granted, in opposing views, only one view can be right. It's even possible that nobody got it right. I believe it often comes down to a matter of interpretation. It certainly doesn't make them "man-made doctrines", just different views of what the Scriptures mean.
     
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  17. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    Excellent response. Christ died for everyone:
    Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
    MB
     
  18. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Brother, you were responding to MB. I understand. MB was trolling for a disputation because it's his axe to grind. Not everything is a C&A debate. Soli Deo Gloria!

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  19. McCree79

    McCree79 Well-Known Member
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    The charge of man-made doctrine is thrown around to carelessly. I know true believers with a heart for truth who are Calvinist and other Arminian. Amill, pre historic pre mill or dispensationalist. Some believe in natural headship, other in federal headship.

    All these positions use Scripture. To accuse any of being man-made is just an attempt to belittle their position. It is lazy and doesn't advance the debate in a healthy direction.

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  20. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Let us use an example of the dichotomist and trichotomist positions. Both views have wide acceptance in orthodox Christianity. Neither view is an attack on the Gospel. Godly people on both sides make their argument from scripture. If both sides appeal to scripture as the final arbiter, is it fair to make the accusation of "man-made doctrine"? We are too quick to attack our own with cruel and baseless charges. This does not mean we should ignore error. Debate is good because it forces us to scripture. But what about charity? Can we be at peace with a brother who believes differently than us? Sometimes yes and sometimes no.

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