Shared from the International Teaching Ministry of Douglas Jacoby I’m excited about the new series, Healthy Doctrine. While some readers are familiar with most of what I hope to share, many have told me they are unsure about how to discuss these topics. I will aim to be practical. Throughout all lessons we’ll follow this format:

  • Subject: the name of the unhealthy doctrine or doctrinal system
  • Teaching: a few of the doctrine’s salient features
  • Biblical emphasis: what is right about the doctrine
  • Support: principal verses cited in favor of the doctrine
  • Biblical error: what is wrong with the doctrine
  • Impact: how twisted scriptures affect spiritual growth
  • Range: where the doctrine is most prevalent
  • Further: articles and lessons for deeper study
For the lesson details, click on the titles below:
  1. The Health & Wealth Gospel
  2. Signs & Wonders
  3. Fear & Fascination – This is a term I use to refer to obsession with end-time events. Whereas Jesus and Paul discouraged speculation, this movement revels in it. Truth be told, pretty much every century since the first has seen outbreaks of end-times fascination (if not hysteria). What are we to make of this?
  4. Rapture & Tribulation – This offering complement’s the previous lesson Fear & Fascination (obsession with the end-times). The rather artificial scenario — true believers snatched up to heaven, from which vantage point they may observe the horrors being unleashed on unbelievers on the earth below — has become extremely popular, especially in the last 100 years.
  5. Predestination & Perseverance – John Calvin (1508-1564) was one of the leading thinkers of the Protestant Reformation. He re-taught many of the ideas of Augustine, bishop of Hippo (North Africa, 354-430 AD). Calvinism is a unified and internally consistent system, increasingly popular among Bible believers. And yet despite its coherence, it does not fit well with the scriptures, nor was this the teaching of the early church.
  6. Sex & Pleasure – The sexual revolutions of the ’60s and ’70s have had a major impact on our world — as well as on the church of Christ. Yet we should not imagine that the origins of these revolutions lie only half a century in the past. By the late 19th century, a growing spirit of hedonism and humanism was already changing society in shocking ways. Yet the Sex & Pleasure movement, with supporting theology gladly provided by liberal theologians, has certainly gained ground quickly in the last half-century.
  7. Heaven & Hell – Given the internet’s power in the images of heaven and hell, it should not be surprising that sometimes these images are distorted in order to effect behavior change. Frequently we read of people already said to be in heaven or hell. Is this biblical? (No.) Or emotions are manipulated through systems of promises and threats. Was this the apostolic way? (No.)
  8. Zion & Palestine – What is Zionism? Why do conservative Christians typically “support Israel”? And why does the U.S. government pump several billion dollars annually into the State of Israel? (Israel is the largest recipient of American foreign aid.)
  9. Visions & Dreams – Not even once in the Bible is “vision” or “dream” used in the modern individualistic sense — a dream for one’s life. This has implications for fellowship, worship, evangelism, and discipleship. If we’ve been promoting this individualistic message, we need to stop now — and better appreciate the corporate dimensions of church and Christian living.
  10. Bow & Pray – Here we’re taking a look at the tenth doctrinal system in our series. Ask a Bible believer how one becomes a Christian, and chances are good (about 99%) he or she will say that you need to “receive Christ.” I myself was taught this at the age of 16. But is this biblical — apostolic? Is “B&P” the historic teaching of the Christian church? Is there any example of B&P before 1835, when it was first propagated in the United States?
  11. Gospel Plus – We may be critical of the Pharisees (Matt 15: 23) and the Circumcision Party (Acts 15, Titus 1) – and rightly so – but what about us? Have we added to the demands and commands of scripture? Before analyzing the 11th of the 12 doctrinal aberrations considered in this series, let’s identify two varieties of legalism.
  12. Scare Tactics – High-pressure evangelistic techniques, impassioned pleas, stirring music, and calls for an urgent and immediate decision for Christ—these are elements of scare tactics and may be emotionally manipulative.