An evaluation of Doctrine and Practice

By

Neville Salvetti

Purpose of this Book

This is a book that lists various doctrinal errors and comments on various church practices.  Not all are listed because there are so many variations but I have listed the basic errors most others are a variation of.  This book does not mention specific denominations or cults (but some are implied by what the error is) but just states what The Bible says and what the error is that the doctrine or practice makes.

If you really are searching for the truth about a doctrine or practice The Holy Spirit will show whether or not there is error in what you believe or practice (Jn 16:13). Remember that God re4quires wholehearted commitment and not just a casual interest in His Will and teachings before as anything else does not make Him Lord of your learning.

If the doctrine or practice contravenes or modifies what the The Bible states about it then the doctrine or practice is usually in error and this book lists some of the ways doctrines and practices are modified.

What The Bible teaches is our guide for Doctrine and Christian living and is what you are to evaluate everything else against.

It alone is God’s revelation of His Will and all must obey what it states or requires and that includes prophecy and words of knowledge and wisdom.

Anything else is manmade and cannot be used as a basis for doctrine or for anything else that attempts to replace what The Bible states or teaches.

This book takes the standpoint that what God has said in His Bible is an imperative and must be obeyed.

Guidelines

The guidelines in this book are designed to help you evaluate what is or is not biblical doctrine as well as whether or not various practices or beliefs are acceptable to God.

I give the principles in the Bible to be applied to the doctrine or practice and do not specifically mention any denomination, person or specific application to a person or denomination unless it is avoidable and even then I do not mention denominational names but the practice dealt with may be able to identify it.

This is how Jesus told me to write this book.

Remember that God alone h as the right to judge anything.  All we can say humbly is that God says this in His Bible and you appear not to be doing it.

His Biblical principles are used so if you disagree with them argue with Him, unless you can show me from His Bible where I am wrong so I can correct any error in this book error.

Mistakes

If you feel I have made a mistake please let me know, showing in The Bible where I am wrong.  God sais He told us all we needed to know in His Bible (Deuteronomy 29:29) so any doctrine that is new which cannot be verified from the Bible is the reasonings of a man which will lead you into error and may even lead to loss of Salvation.

Neville Salvetti

Belief in Bible

You must believe The Bible is God’s revealed Will to mankind.  If you do not believe this you cannot use it for anything as you do not believe it is true in part or whole.  If you do not believe a part of it is correct then you cannot believe the rest of it as it may be incorrect.  This means you have no absolute yardstick to measure God’s Will for you as you have rejected what He declares to be His Will.  Having rejected part of it you cannot be certain that there is no error in the rest so you need to find a book you can trust and a God that you can believe can do what He says He has done and whom has preserved His truths for us to know.

You have declared yourself a god knowing good from evil and declaring God has made an error or was such a wimp He could not preserve the truths He had written to us.

If you believe The Bible is 100%  His Will you will not alter it or interpret it in a way different to how He says it should be interpreted and you Will accept 100% what He has had written in it.

Error that is a sin occurs when people want to believe something different to what The Bible says and so alter it or interpret it differently to how God says it should be interpreted.  In extreme cases of editing The Bible to suit a belief system that is not acceptable to God we have heresy.

You must completely accept The Bible 100% or you cannot use it as you do not know what parts are truth and able to be believed in.

In reality, you cannot even begin to work out what The Bible is suppose to say as you have no yardstick to measure if what you believe it should say is actually correct so that you can never say what you believe it should say is actually correct and you may even be promoting greater error by what you determine it is suppose to say.

The Gospel from a Kingdom perspective

In the beginning God created a beautiful garden.  It was part of His Kingdom and He was King of it.  In it He created a man and a woman to look after it and relate to Him on a personal basis, to enjoy His Company.  But the man and the woman rejected the authority of God and rebelled against Him.  They sinned (deliberately disobeyed God)

When you rebel against a King the punishment is death.  They had rebelled against their King and so were removed from His Kingdom (spiritual death).  They were cast out of the garden and lost their capacity to live forever (physical death) and so would now physically die one day.  Having died spiritually by rejecting God’s authority and being cast out of His Kingdom, they were now to also physically die.

As the man and the woman were the ones rebelling and sentenced to this death they could not do anything about their situation.  God had forgiven them but justice still required a penalty to be paid by them or compensation to be paid to God for them by someone.

God had made it necessary for an animal to die in our place so we would not die spiritually for our sin.  But an animal sacrifice was insufficient as the animal was finite and it was a rebellion offence against an infinite God.

So God decided He needed to do something about it Himself as He is the only one in the universe who could do something (because He alone is infinite).  So Jesus (who is God) came to earth to teach what God required of us, then died as the sacrifice required for our sins (replacing the need for an animal to be sacrificed on a regular basis) and was raised from the dead.  He was able to be our sacrifice as He had not sinned and was raised from the dead because death was the penalty for those who had sinned and He had not sinned so God should not have had Him die.  But God allowed the death of Jesus so that Jesus could take our place and meet the required penalty for the sins of everyone that had ever died because Jesus was God so that the sacrifice was an infinite one covering all the universe and by this redeem all mankind from spiritual death in hell, the prison of those that reject Jesus.

Remember, people go to hell because they have rejected what Jesus offered them so are defiled by sin and cannot enter heaven so have to go to the only other place they can go too, which is hell.

This death of Jesus was the price that met the requirement for God’s Justice to be satisfied and by this sacrifice; Jesus also redeemed us, His death being the payment that satisfied God’s penalty for our sin.

 Everyone has rejected God and His Will at some time, and this has placed them under His judgement for this rebellion against their King (God).

So those who follow Jesus as King (Lord) have the spiritual consequence of their sins dealt with by Jesus when He died on The Cross and will be resurrected from physical death to a new life in heaven if they continually wholeheartedly try to follow Jesus as their Lord (King).

Jesus does not look at our results but at the attitude of our heart towards Him.  As long as you wholeheartedly try to follow Him it does not matter if you sin as long and you try to not do again in future the thing you sinned.

If you do not follow Jesus as Lord you go to the only other place left to go too which is hell where the king you followed (Satan) by rejecting God  is ruler and you are ruled by this evil person for ever and suffer the tortures he places on humans because he despises and hates them so much.  He blames people for his being in hell so he takes revenge on them and torments them in hell.

To save us from this is why Jesus died and this is why you need to be a wholehearted follower of Him as your Lord so He can be your saviour from the consequences of your sin and from going to hell.

Delegation to make Doctrine

Before a person can add to or remove from what The Bible teaches, the Author, God, must give them permission to do this.  God has not delegated or given permission to anyone to add to the doctrine in The Bible.  A delegation must be in writing and there is no written delegation for anyone other than God to make Christian doctrine.

There is no delegation or permission in The Bible that allows man to add to remove from or alter the doctrine in The Bible.  In fact there is a warning not to do this.

So any doctrine not in The Bible has been made by a person who is warned by God not to add or subtract from its Doctrine and whom has not been given authority by God to make new doctrine.

A person cannot assume the right to add doctrine as He is not greater than or equal to God to over ride Him.  So a person cannot add to or subtract or interpret doctrine in an original way (different to what The Bible says it should be interpreted) without placing themselves under the Judgement of God.

What actually is doctrine?

Webster’s 1828 dictionary states;

In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles.

In essence, a Biblical doctrine is a Biblical Truth that has been stated in The Bible about God.

Making Doctrine (Doctrine not in The Bible)

The making of Doctrine not in The Bible calls God a liar.  He said He revealed to us all we needed to know in Duet 29:29, which reads as follows:

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

God reveals to us what we need to know so we can obey Him properly.  We do not need to know or believe anything else.  So to add to doctrine with things that are not in The Bible says God lied and did not tell you everything you needed to know.

To compromise doctrine of the Bible by altering it in any way states you believe the Bible is wrong or you would not have had to alter it to match what you believe which means you do not really believe what the Bible says in it and so can no longer use The Bible anymore as you do not know where else it is wrong.

Either of these things is dangerous as it leads to doctrine God has not declared which often leads to beliefs that are wrong and/or contravening His requirements of obedience in some way.

The belief itself is an idol as you have placed it before God and the truths He requires you to obey.

You must believe The Bible 100% or reject it completely as being God's revelation to mankind.

It must be remembered that doctrinal statements are man’s interpretation of what The Bible says so are subject to bias and error, especially when the statement maker wants the doctrine to say something they believe in which is not in The Bible.

Where The Bible is silent, we should be silent and not try to find things that may not be there to find which Satan gladly helps us to do to lead us into error.

The problem is especially relevant to tradition which is where man wants to believe about things that are not in The Bible or to make a misinterpretation (usually deliberate) of what The Bible says so that it really ends up being a non-Biblical belief.

Note:  Prophecy can never make new doctrine or alter it and neither can angels provide documents to do this. Prophecy is only used to guide and build up The Body of Christ and angels are only ever messengers or protectors of The Body. so o ascribe to prophets or angels the right to make doctrine is in error and anything they give as doctrine is to be questioned as it comes from The Devil.

The making of Doctrine not in The Bible calls God a liar.  He said He revealed to us all we needed to know in Duet 29:29, which reads as follows:

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

God reveals to us what we need to know so we can obey Him properly.  We do not need to know or believe anything else.  So to add to doctrine with things that are not in The Bible says God lied and did not tell you everything you needed to know and will probably lead to disobeying Him in some area.

There is a difference between discussing something as being possible or declaring it is true.  Theories can never be doctrine.

To compromise doctrine by altering it in any way states you believe the Bible is wrong or you would not have had to do that so that you cannot really believe in it anymore as you do not know where else it is wrong or needs editing.

Either of these approaches is dangerous as it can lead to doctrine God has not declared which often leads to beliefs that are wrong and/or contravening His requirements of obedience in some way.

In Summary then:

Doctrine is a statement of how a man interprets what The Bible says on a subject

Tradition is a practice that has become acceptable but which can never be doctrine.

The making of Doctrine

Doctrine is based on what The Bible says so is a precise Statement of a Bible truth.  If it is not in The Bible then it cannot be Biblical doctrine.  This also means that any books that are not of The Bible, no matter what source they are from, can never be used to make Christian doctrine.

One reason for this is that God has not delegated to mankind the right to make new doctrine not currently in The Bible.

The other reason is that books not in The Bible are not considered to be from God or they would have been accepted and placed in The Bible so that they can never be used to make doctrine unless it is erroneous and probably heretical.

It is to be noted that no angels ever made or passed on doctrine or books to people so any angel that does is not following God’s practice of their only being His messengers and so cannot come from God but from Satan who will use them to pervert Scripture in some way.

As God has finished giving us doctrine when the apostles died, any one after them claiming to be giving doctrine from God is really passing on doctrine from Satan with the objective of removing or compromising doctrine and replacing it with Satan’s version.

Adopting this false doctrine can only lead to error and possible loss of salvation.

Do we need any scriptures apart from The Bible?

God said  in His Bible (Duet 29:29) He told us all we needed to know to be able to obey Him properly.

Duet 29:29 (ERV)  "There are some things that the LORD our God has kept secret. Only he knows these things. But he told us about some things. And these teachings are for us and our descendants forever. And we must obey all the commands in that law.

God has told us all we need to know to do what He requires of us so adding any new scriptures is:

Calling God a liar saying we need to know more information because God has not told us all we need to know.

Man made so it cannot help us meet God’s requirements because we do not know if what is written is what God requires of us.

It also means we are looking for things God has not told us because He does not want us to know them so He will not tell them to us anyway which means anything that is found is from Satan who will give us what He needs to make us follow him and/or reject God.

So any new books that have been ‘found’ that are called scripture which are from Satan trying to form a new cult or religion to replace Christianity.

God may give us greater understanding of what we have had revealed to us but that is not the same as giving us new scripture to make doctrine from.

Only people who do not understand what God has done or who want to change things to suit their belief system tamper with the Bible or find ‘new’ scriptures  or incorrect alternative interpretation of scripture to support their beliefs and desires.

Tests of Doctrine or practice

Is it in The Bible?

If Yes. Then it must obey or agree with what The Bible.

If No. Then it must pass all of the following tests. It cannot be doctrine or enforceable on anyone but may be a denominational or church requirement if it does not fail any of the following tests.

The following tests are used in this book when the belief or practice is not mentioned in The Bible

  1. Does the Bible infer it is allowable? . If it infers it is allowable you still cannot make doctrine about it but only say it is a possibility and even then it must pass all the other tests below.
  2. Does it express God’s type of Love and build up a person spiritually
  3. Does it give God’s Glory to another. God said He will not give His Glory to another.
  4. Does it promote The Father, The Holy Spirit, Jesus or His Kingdom or someone else

Other sources that may help:

What does the Old Testament say about it

What do the early church documents say about it

Reasons for the four tests

Matters that are either not mentioned in or inferred by The Bible are tested according to the following four tests above which r explained as follows:

Does the Bible infer it.  The fact The Bible implies it might be allowable does not mean it is allowable and so you need to examine it in the light of the remaining three tests.

Does it express God’s type of Love and build up a person spiritually as all things God tells us are to build us up in some way and encourage us in our Christian life as well as express His Love towards us in some way.

Does it give God’s Glory to another. God said He will not give His Glory to another.  You will find people doing ‘miraculous’ things are only able to do it because God does it through them so that they really only have a reflected type Glory and not primary Glory.  So God does not allow them to take the credit for what He does.

God keeps us all alive and gives us what we need to do His work, to perform Miracles (supernatural things we cannot do in our own strength but which He does through us) and to live as requires us to live.

To say we do supernatural things such as healing and casting out demons is to say we have it in ourself to be able to do this and we are not., If we say we perform these things in our own right or declare another does them (whether the person is in heaven or on earth) or does them for us, then we are taking Glory from God, which is rightfully His, and it is a form of idolatry.  So you cannot use miracles as a  basis to give glory to a person or to worship them.  Venerate and reveres them but not worship them as this is solely for God.

Does it promote The Father, The Holy Spirit, Jesus or His Kingdom or someone else? 
If it promotes someone spiritually apart from God then it is a form of worship which is idolatry so that which is used to promote the person spiritually is wrong and takes Glory from God.

There is a difference between spiritually building up a person or spiritually promoting them to a place of spiritual importance giving them Glory for a miraculous acr instead of glorifying God who has done the thing used to promote the person spiritually.  The person being promoted is just a servant of God and not a God them self to be able to do these supernatural things.

Other sources that may help what to do with matters not mentioned in The Bible:

What does the Old Testament Jewish practice say about it in their commentaries on The Old Testament?

What do the early church documents say about it because they were close to the time the New Testament was written

Early church practice

If a practice was not in the early church then it was not known to them and not part of what Jesus taught them.  We also need to look to early church practice to see how things were done.  Anything not in early church practice or doctrine is probably developed by man for the purposes of man.

Where prophecy, words of wisdom and words of knowledge are used, their comments are to line up with Biblical principles of guidance and should be tested by a second person so that you have the two witnesses The Bible requires you to have.  They should not result in new doctrine or dubious practices.

Early church documents

Early church documents are a good source of what Jesus taught His apostles, especially documents written before 150 AD.

These are second century documents written by people who were taught by apostles or disciples of the apostles and some even knew some of the apostles. Later writers (3rd and 4th centuries) are not as close to the original teachings and developed them often adding current church practice to what they said about the church at that time so are not a good record of early church practice.

Old Testament Practice

In The Temple worship and service we find God’s instructions for worship.  These are mentioned in The Bible so need to be observed.

God told us the attitudes we needed to worship Him and how to present ourself to Him in worship as well as what was to be in His places of worship.  So these need to be observed by any practice or belief.

As an example there were no statues or pictures of people because God desired them to focus on Him and not have these which may have distracted them and even lead to idolatry.

So the early church documents and Temple worship are a guide on what to do with matters not mentioned in The Bible.

Writing

The Bible is the guide book and our standard against which all Christian writing and practice must be measured against.

Christian writing cannot add to its inspiration, doctrine, practice or its correct interpretation.  Anything contrary to correctly interpreting what The Bible teaches or which adds to it in any way is from Satan, who is guiding men to write this error, and are not from God.

What is written must be tested to see if it agrees with what The Bible says or teaches to see if it is in agreement with it and so acceptable.

If what is written does not agree with what The Bible says or either  teaches or explains it incorrectly then it is not from God.

The Bible says:

2Ti 3:16 (KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God

Man cannot alter scripture in any way or He is in rebellion against God and is claiming to given it the same inspiration that God has given it..

What use can you make of these matters not mentioned in The Bible?

Firstly, they are not of God so cannot be doctrine

If they pass the other tests then:

Secondly, they cannot be forced on a person as they are not from God and are only man’s rules or desires

So you cannot enforce their observance or consider them sin against God if they are not done but there may be a sin by the condemning of the people not doing or believing it.  So your attitudes need to be examined if you are either condemning people doing them or are performing them as in this attitude may be sin.

Tradition

Tradition is a way of expressing a belief not in The Bible or a practice that has been used that is not in The Bible.

There is nothing wrong with tradition if it helps you in your Christian life and does not contravene The Bible or its principles.  So if it is not in The Bible then it needs to pass the other tests.

Jesus condemned tradition in religion because it led people astray from God's Laws by modifying it in some way and also hindered their expression of His Love.  This alone is something that should make you wary of tradition and its enforcement if it does not contravene The Bible.

Some tradition is said to be based on the oral tradition passed on by the apostles of things Jesus said or did which were not written down.  We have various writing from the first and second century such as the Didache (Instructions and teachings of Jesus they were to pass onto the world) as well as writings by those who knew the apostles or people who knew the apostles.

Regardless of who pronounces the tradition mankind has not the authority to make them doctrine or enforce them if they do not agree with the principles of The Bible.

If the tradition or practice is not mentioned by these writings or is not a part of generally accepted church practice then it is argued it is man derived and if it disagrees with The Bible it is not a valid practice or tradition and can never be doctrine.

If it was taught and practiced by the apostles then it is as a practice.

If it does not agree with The Bible and its teachings then it is false teaching and the teacher should not be followed.

It is to be noted that tradition is a way of doing something thing because it has been done that way for a long time.  It is usually like a religious practice that determines how one is to do something in an acceptable way, either for God or the church establishment.  Normally it is practised by some and becomes general practice then is adopted by the established church.  Sometimes it is the result of a pronunciation of a head of a denomination who has not right to make such pronouncement.

As it is started by someone who believes something needs to be done a certain way to be acceptable it cannot be doctrine as it is not in The Bible but a practice usually to carry out something the bible requires done but does not say how to do it

It does not matter when it was started or by whom.  What is important is whether or not it passes the tests for practices that are not mentioned in The Bible or are inferred by it.

Remember that because it is not from God it cannot be enforced on anyone and serves no spiritual purpose except possibly to focus the person on a spiritual thing but usually it binds a person to a practice that is not Biblical and may even divert Him from practicing Christianity correctly by concentrating on the tradition and not what He is trying to do spiritually.

God has not told the person to make the tradition it so it serves no purpose usually except in the heart and attitudes of the person doing the tradition and in this may be found something that might be acceptable to God.

 

While it cannot be doctrine but if it is acceptable as a practice, then it is done purely by the free will of the person doing it otherwise sin occurs through another forcing that person to do the tradition.