“It is not enough to believe intellectually in a set of doctrines.”

There’s Truth, and then There’s Truth

By Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti

So far in our quest to take part in and understand revival and reformation, this column has looked at the meaning of these two activities and how worship and rest help us take part in them. In this month’s column, we’ll learn a bit about how Bible study revives and reforms us.

When Christians study God’s Word, they always should have two goals in mind: (1) to be informed, and (2) to be transformed.

Bible study informs us of God’s multifaceted truth through doctrines. Seventh-day Adventists hold to the following doctrines:

  1. the doctrine of God (God’s Word; the Godhead);
  2. the doctrine of man (Creation; the nature of man);
  3. the doctrine of salvation (the great controversy; the life, death, and resurrection of Christ; the experience of salvation; growing in Christ)
  4. the doctrine of the church (the remnant and its mission; unity in the church; baptism; the Lord’s supper; spiritual gifts/ministries; the gift of prophecy)
  5. the doctrine of the Christian life (God’s law; the Sabbath; stewardship; Christian behavior; marriage and family
  6. the doctrine of last things (Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary; the Second Coming; death and resurrection; the millennium and the end of sin; the new earth).

Yet it is not enough to believe intellectually in a set of doctrines. “In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of the righteousness.”1
What does bring forth the fruits of righteousness?

“Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenents. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that comes through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world.”2

As you seek to participate in our denomination’s call for revival and reformation, study the Bible not only to understand God’s truths intellectually, but to have those truths transform your life. As that transformation occurs, people will recognize that Christ lives in your heart. There can be no more powerful witness than that!

1. The Desire of Ages, p. 309.
2. Ibid., pp. 309, 310.