4. Doctrinal Indifference

By John Thiel, Removing Delusions and Fallacies Series, mp3

Scripture reading: John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.

Then trim your lamps, my brethren dear,
… Let every lamp be burning.

Let every lamp, your lamp and mine, be burning. We all have our personal lamps, the Bible, and it needs to burn alive.

His word our lamp, His truth our guide,
We cannot be mistaken.

With the Word of God in hand, we may draw nearer, step by step, in consecrated love to Jesus Christ. Let those who have been deluded give up all their fallacies. The love of Jesus will not endure such rivals. As the Spirit of God becomes better known, the Bible will be received as the only foundation of faith. God’s people will receive the Word as the leaves of the tree of life, more precious than fine gold purified in the fire, and more powerful to sanctify than any other agency. {20MR 307.5}

The object of each of our meditation in this series is to do what is written here – taking the word of God in hand and giving up our fallacies, wherever we may have been deluded. We are examining carefully the different fallacies that we are called upon to give up.

There are many who claim to be followers of Christ, whose names are enrolled on the church books, who have not been a strength to the church. They have not been sanctified through the truth. . . . It is not receiving the truth simply, but practicing the truth, that sanctifies the soul. Let those who would be sanctified through the truth search carefully and prayerfully both the Old and New Testaments that they may know what is truth. {CTr 235.3}

Accepting Error

We may know what is truth; but notice what follows:

Those who are truly converted to Christ [must] keep on constant guard lest they shall accept error in place of truth. Those who think that it matters not what they believe in doctrine, so long as they believe in Jesus Christ, are on dangerous ground. {CTr 235.4}

This is the delusion.

There are some who think that they will be just as acceptable to God by obeying some other law than the law of God—by meeting some other conditions than those He has specified in the gospel—as if they obeyed His commandments and complied with His requirements. But they are under a fatal delusion, {Ibid.}

We are dealing with delusions that have to be put away. What is this? If we do not regard pure doctrine as important, if we believe in Jesus but don’t comply with His pure doctrine of the gospel and the law, we are under a fatal delusion, a delusion that has to put be away.

…and unless they renounce this heresy and come into harmony with His requirements, they cannot become members of the royal family. {Ibid.}

Here is a delusion that we must renounce. It is a heresy. What is it? “It matters not what we believe in doctrine, as long as we believe in Jesus.” This is a very serious present time dilemma. There are people who are so overwhelmed with all the various winds of doctrine going about today, even within the ranks of Seventh-day Adventists. Contrary doctrines are floating all over, people believing one thing and the others arguing, No, that’s not the truth; this is the truth; and it goes right around the world on the internet. So many doctrines and ideas are circulating. And people who are not very astute in getting doctrines clear in their minds, say, “This is too hard! Why do we have to bother? I believe that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour, why do I have to get the doctrine right?”

Does It Really Matter?

With so many voices in the world today, where can we turn to find truth? How can we know God’s will and guard against Satan’s deceptions? Does it really matter what we believe? {DD 36.1 Compilers’ statement}

Can you see where the mind goes with all those different voices and winds of doctrine that we are surrounded by today? “Can I really find truth? It looks so difficult; does it really matter?” This is how people come to this delusion. “It’s all too hard to find my way through all the different teachings,” is what they will say within the ranks of Adventism, let alone among the people who are out there and don’t belong to any church. They do want to find truth, and they go from one to the next and to the next, and they are overwhelmed; but then, maybe it doesn’t matter. This is where this delusion comes from. It is a fatal delusion.

It was exactly the same in Christ’s day. Among all the different people in the Jewish faith at that time, there were many different winds of doctrine. There were the Samaritans: the woman at the well, as she was talking to Jesus, was arguing, Some people say it’s in this mountain and others say it’s in that mountain; and Jesus said to her, “You don’t know what you believe; salvation is of the Jews. But the day is coming when it won’t be from the Jews or from Samaria, but from the pure truth.” Then there were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, and others as well. All the different groups within the Jewish faith each had different ideas, and the people were in exactly the same dilemma.

Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. {DA 35.2}

What did they worship? Their own conceptions. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” There are different ways of death. As it says also in another place, “There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number;” every one with different ideas.

The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. {Ibid.}

The message of salvation is communicated to men through human agencies. But the Jews had sought to make a monopoly of the truth which is eternal life. They had hoarded the living manna, and it had turned to corruption. The religion which they tried to shut up to themselves became an offense. They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. They had refused to surrender themselves to God for the salvation of the world, and they became agents of Satan for its destruction. {DA 36.1}

The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan. {DA 36.2}

This was the terrible experience at the time when Jesus first came to the Jews; and it is the same today, a terrible darkness.

John 7:15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

Jesus didn’t come up in the school of the Pharisees. It is to these people who were questioning Christ because they had so many different doctrines of beliefs that He addressed the following words:

John 7:16 …My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.

How meaningful were those words to a people who had various different doctrines. All of them claimed to believe the truth, but Jesus said, I have a doctrine, yes, but that doctrine is not My own; it is the doctrine of Him that sent Me. Doctrine is so important that it has to do with doing God’s will. If any man will do His will, said Jesus, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.

Pure Doctrine

When it comes to doctrine, as it is already suggested by the words of Jesus, there is a pure doctrine. What does the word doctrine actually mean? It has simply to do with what is being taught as truth. A doctrine is a teaching. Is there such a thing as absolute, pure doctrine? This is the question that needs to be answered with all those different doctrines circulating around. Some people have it pretty close, but there is a little bit of error there; and others have lots of error and a little bit of truth. Is it possible in these times in which we live to have absolute, pure doctrine, a doctrine that comes alone from God and which is not the person presenting it speaking of himself? Is there such a thing?

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:

People have come to me and said, You can’t know all truth. And yet, according to the words of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth;

John 16:13 …for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show [it] unto you.

Here you have a plain scripture saying that there is such a thing as absolute, pure, all-encompassing doctrine. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth. Notice how the Holy Spirit actually refers to what He is teaching:

Deuteronomy 32:2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: 3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4 [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.

Jesus said, The Holy Spirit will lead you and teach you and guide you into all truth. It is His doctrine. There is such a thing as pure and absolute doctrine. Notice how the apostle refers to the importance of pure doctrine:

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; … 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

People make themselves rich on the preaching of the Bible today. They did at that time too. The bishop that has been taught by the apostles is to hold fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers, and stop the mouths of those who are spreading falsehood around. Doctrine must be sound by those who are the preachers of God’s word.

Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

No flaws or falsehood; it must be sound.

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

The word prophesying is not just foretelling the future, it is preaching the doctrine. There is no private doctrine in the Scripture (in the prophecy); this is why Jesus said, You have to examine whether I am preaching the pure doctrine or a doctrine of My own. I am preaching the doctrine of Him that sent Me; and any person who will do His will, will know of the doctrine, whether it is of God, or whether or any person. There is no private interpretation.

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Swift destruction – a delusion is fatal when it comes to doctrine. This is here an unequivocal communication from Scripture. We are told we must have sound doctrine, with no error in it – absolute truth. Because if you don’t, it leads to death.

The time in which we are now living is described in the words of Apostle Paul to Timothy. What did he write about people living today, in the last days? Doctrinal indifference.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Fables – fallacies that must be put away. This is our time. In the last days terrible times will come; there will be seducing spirits, doctrines of devils that sound so true, but that are just slightly veering off the pure doctrine. So people want to hear something special. They have itching ears, they love to come; and you can see the churches loaded with people who are loving to hear the preaching because it’s so inspiring to the natural man. You know, I find it so interesting that there are so many ministers that have large churches. They tell their audience, You can be wealthy! God wants you to be wealthy. Oh, don’t I like to hear that? I like wealth; don’t you like to have lots of money? These people actually teach you that God will bless you so much and give you all the answers from their so called Christian ideas. And people love to hear it. And they love to hear sentimental messages. But the pure doctrine, you will discover, is missing in one point or another.

These are seducing spirits, and people with itching ears will be seduced, and they will turn their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. What a heartache it is for me, as I uphold the pure doctrines, to see people begin to debate and try to tear down pure and simple Bible truth. It is all around us.

Dangerous Ground

Among the multiple variations of beliefs we are to discover one pure set of doctrines. And how imperative is it to harbour the correct doctrines?

Those who think that it matters not what they believe in doctrine, so long as they believe in Jesus Christ, are on dangerous ground. There are some who think that they will be just as acceptable to God by obeying some other law than the law of God—by meeting some other conditions than those He has specified in the gospel—as if they obeyed His commandments and complied with His requirements. But they are under a fatal delusion, {CTr 235.4}

This is why it is so imperative that we have correct doctrine, because it is a fatal delusion if I don’t. The following statement describes this perfectly, and you may probably identify with your experiences in exchanging with different people of different views of doctrine.

It means everything to us on which side we place our influence. {RH, May 3, 1898 par. 10}

Am I going to be on the side of certain preachers and not on the side of others?

It makes all possible difference what we believe. The falsehood maintained by Satan, that the law of God is abrogated, will be accepted in all honesty by those who have not walked in the light as it has shone upon their path. {Ibid.}

It’s accepted in all honesty that the law of God has been done away. This is one of the things that they teach. The Ten Commandments have been nailed to the cross, they say. And many people accept this in all honesty. But this is only one part of the doctrine that is so wrong.

They have turned aside to falsehood, and they wrest the Scriptures to maintain their false theories. {Ibid.}

They twist the Bible to maintain their beliefs. They will falsify certain statements of the Bible and make them sound like if this is what the Bible is saying.

The more sincerely a man believes falsehood, the more fatal it is to his own soul. {Ibid.}

Do I want to believe in something that is fatal? This is how imperative it is that our doctrines are right.

He earnestly advocates this falsehood, and those who have not been sanctified through the truth accept it. The more he advocates error, the more certain he becomes that it is truth, and that truth is error, and must be exposed and denounced. He is imbued with a zeal that is in accordance with the zeal of his leader. {Ibid.}

What a fatal delusion. This is horrifying when you meet people like this. I have met them over the years myself and it horrifies me; it sends me into a spin in my mind, Here is a human being who can’t see straight, who is arguing the Bible text in a way which you can see is clearly not written there. But they really think it is written there, and you can see exactly where it is coming from. And as you show the truth as it is really written, they argue powerfully against what you are teaching and which is plainly written. Every child can read it and know it, but they are so convinced in their mind and they really believe that their error is correct and your truth is error. They become more and more zealous to defend their error, so that they can diminish the truth. You meet this in the world today. You can see how absolutely imperative it is that we harbour correct doctrines.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,

It seems right, and yet it is error. It seems so right that I will defend it and use Bible texts to prove it;

Proverbs 14:12 …but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.

How imperative it is that my way is not error. It may seem right to me, but I must make sure that it is right. I came to deal with this in my early youth. I’ll never forget the day, when I was still in primary school, in the Seventh-day Adventist school in Adelaide, as I was walking down there, I thought, Wow, every church says they are right; what makes my church right? Then it became embedded in me that I would have to examine closely whether my church was right and had the true and pure doctrine or not. Very quickly I saw, “Yes, the Sabbath is right. So they must be right.” But then as I went on, the war issue also came to my mind, and I asked myself, “Would I go to war? Oh no, that’s breaking the Ten Commandments!” And as I continued to travel with my church, I discovered that they did go to war, and I thought, “Oh, well, they’re certainly not right on that point.” And as I continued to lose my dependence upon the denominational code of doctrines and established my search in the Scriptures, I discovered point by point where there was error in my church. And I decided that I would search for the pure.

Then I found a pure church that stood firm on all the pillars of faith; and there I was for a period of time – 18 years – even serving there in the ministry. Then as I came face to face with muddy waters from certain people, I listened and I thought, Hello? I began to preach the pure truth of the nature of Christ, and as I preached it I ran into difficulty with certain people. I couldn’t believe it; right there in the Divine Service, the ministers came to me afterwards and said, No, no. Then I thought, What’s this? Pure doctrine is imperative. So I could no longer stay with that church, because it is imperative to have the pure doctrine in the church I am part of. Otherwise I will be fed error.

Therefore we need to give up the fallacy of a deluded mind. You arrive at the sad conclusions that, “I’m sick and tired of this; every church says they are right, and where is the right church? Where do I stand?” So there comes another delusion to your mind, “I’m getting tired of this.” I got to that point myself where I was tempted to believe, Does it really matter whether I am so fine-tuned on every detail? That was even said to me. I’ll never forget the words of one person not so very long ago when I was in the U.S.A. He was in that church that I had once been a minister in, and I pointed out to him one point of doctrine on the nature of Christ, a really clear one that was necessary to understand. To me it was really important, but he said, “And you left the church over that tiny little point??” I thought to myself, Ohh… Yes. One little drop of poison in a pot of soup, what will that do to you? It’ll make the whole poisonous, won’t it?

We must give up the fallacy of the deluded mind that says, “I can’t handle any more of these different doctrines flooding my mind and not knowing which way to turn.” Due to so many winds of doctrines, you begin to think, “What does it really matter?” Does it really matter exactly? We have already seen that it does matter.

God does not compel men to give up their unbelief. Before them are light and darkness, truth and error. It is for them to decide which they will accept. The human mind is endowed with power to discriminate between right and wrong. God designs that men shall not decide from impulse, but from weight of evidence, carefully comparing scripture with scripture. {DA 458.3} 

We have a mind that has been given to us. Don’t underestimate your own mind and think that when you read truth in comparison with error you cannot see that. You can if you read the Bible carefully.

Had the Jews laid by their prejudice and compared written prophecy with the facts characterizing the life of Jesus, they would have perceived a beautiful harmony between the prophecies and their fulfillment in the life and ministry of the lowly Galilean. {Ibid.

Many are deceived today in the same way as were the Jews. Religious teachers read the Bible in the light of their own understanding and traditions; and the people do not search the Scriptures for themselves, and judge for themselves as to what is truth; but they yield up their judgment, and commit their souls to their leaders. The preaching and teaching of His word is one of the means that God has ordained for diffusing light; but we must bring every man’s teaching to the test of Scripture. Whoever will prayerfully study the Bible, desiring to know the truth, that he may obey it, will receive divine enlightenment. He will understand the Scriptures. “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching.” John 7:17, R. V. {DA 459.1}

The delusion that we come to is that, “It must be that it matters not what I believe, because look at them all; they’re all nice people out there.” In all the different churches, there are lovely ministers to be found. I meet them, some of them are beautiful people; but I don’t even dare to press the point to them of what I know to be truth, even in regards to the Sabbath. As I meet with so-called Sabbath-keeping ministers and they want me to do something that doesn’t harmonise with true Sabbath-keeping, I realise, I have to be careful here; otherwise I’m going to lose my contact with these people. So I have to be very firm and say, This is where I stand in what my experience is with the word; I cannot do this on the Sabbath day. Then those ministers turn around and say to me, But Jesus did this and that on the Sabbath… and they want me to do something that is their interpretation of what Jesus did on the Sabbath. This is the kind of delusionary thing that is going on around us. I could very easily come to the conclusion that, I like these people; they’re nice; we’re having a lovely time together; what does it matter? The temptation is there. “Why don’t you just do what they say? Yes, it’s a good thing.” But it is not exactly what Jesus and what the Father in heaven are saying. That is the difference, and that is where we must be secure. It matters exactly what I do on the Sabbath day; what I do is to be perfectly in harmony with the will of God. It matters. The delusion that wants to get hold of our mind is, But these people are nice, so why should I stand there as an exclusive person who is not going to go along with them and enjoy the things they are doing and which seem so right? These are the tests that we have to meet, and we must be in absolute assurance that we have the doctrine right and stand obedient to the doctrine; and by obedience to the doctrine we will know the teaching even better, and it becomes more florid and more fragrant in our soul.


We may have an intelligent faith; we may not only say we believe, but we may in meekness and confidence be able to define what we believe, and why we believe as we do. We should exercise living faith, not a blind credulity. {ST, March 31, 1890 par. 6}

Not a blind credulity – what is credulity? It seems credible. It seems okay; but it is blind credulity. It seems to make sense to me, but it is not based on a pure doctrinal direction from God’s word.

We are to put away the fallacies of a deluded mind. Cast out the fallacy that you cannot attain to a sound Bible doctrine yourself. Cast that out. You can. Every mind has been given something from God by which he can see what is truth and what is error.

If you will search the Scriptures on your knees, then you will know them and you will be able to give to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is within you. {1888 152.3} 

What must we do? Search the Scriptures upon our knees. Really mean it and you will find it.

Let us come to God as reasonable beings to know for ourselves what is truth. {1888 152.4}

Are You A Rational Being?

It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others to follow his example. {GC 598.2}

You are a rational being? So what are you to do? Your duty is to learn from the Scriptures what is the truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others to follow your example.

We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help we are to form our opinions for ourselves as we are to answer for ourselves before God. {Ibid.}

Can you see the delusion and fallacy you and I are to put away? Are we under a delusion that “it matters not” or that “I can’t really get hold of it because I’m too dumb”? Don’t put down your God-given capacity. Don’t put down the estimate of the mind that God has given to each one of us. We are intelligent beings, rational beings, and our duty is to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others to follow our example.

May God help us to do just that and put away those delusions.


Posted on 22/11/2017, in Divine Service Sermons, Removing Delusions and Fallacies (Series) and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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