by Carl A. Allen
The denominational world has tried to seek unity by teaching we are to believe the Gospel and not enforce "doctrine." According to them we should not divide over baptism, the Lord's Supper, instruments of music, tithing, marriage, and divorce, etc. because all of this falls into "doctrine," and we have no right to bind doctrine, just bind a belief in Christ.
Many years ago there were two men by the name of Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett that advocated among brethren in the Church of Christ that we needed to seek unity only on a belief in Jesus, the Gospel, and not be caught up in the teaching of "doctrine." I sat one night at the Fourth and Grosebeck Church of Christ in Lufkin and listened to George Jones teach the same thing. According to these men and denominational preachers, all that is "doctrine" should not be taught; but the Gospel of Christ should be taught.
The reasoning of such is found in I Corinthians 15:1-4, "Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures;" It is now stated that the Gospel is defined as being the "death," "burial," and "resurrection," of Christ and that is all that is in the Gospel, just a belief that he is the son of God.
When one looks at I Corinthians 15:1-4 he is impressed with the fact that Paul said he preached the Gospel in v. 1; but in v. 2 he said he preached the Word. Now we learn the Gospel and the Word are the same. In John 17:17, we note, "Sanctify them in truth: thy word is truth." From this passage we learn that the "Word" is "Truth," so, what is called the "Gospel" is called the 'Word" and what is called the "Word" is called "Truth." These are different terms to describe the same idea — the Word of God! But if you will consider a little further the thought that all of this is called the "Seed," in Luke 8:11: "The seed is the word of God." We now have another term by which the Word is described — "seed." Can you now see that the Gospel is called the Word and the Word is called Truth and the Truth is called the Seed? All of these terms are describing the same idea — the entire Word of God, from the book of Matthew to the book of Revelation.
We cannot stop without considering the word "doctrine." In II Timothy 4:2-3, "preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts." In v. 2 Paul says, "preach the word." In v. 3 he says, "they will not endure the sound doctrine." The idea is that they will not endure what is preached — the Word — which is "sound doctrine." Now in this passage, it is called the "word" in. v. 2 and the same thing is called "doctrine" in v. 3. The word of God is "Sound Doctrine!"
Now, connect it all together and you have the Gospel, the Word, the Truth, the Seed, and it is also called the Sound Doctrine. In Acts 17:18 Paul "preached Jesus and him crucified." But in v. 19 it is called "teaching" and this comes from the word "doctrine." The word "doctrine" is used concerning the teaching of Jesus and his resurrection!
When a man obeys the Gospel he obeys "that form of doctrine," Romans 6:17. So, when one has Faith, Repentance, Confession, and Baptism, this is obeying the Doctrine or the Gospel of Christ. All of these terms are used to signify the same thing — the Word of God! There is no distinction between the word Gospel and Doctrine. The words Gospel and Doctrine mean the same. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." II John 9. The "doctrine" is the Gospel and is the Word of God.