I am not sure when the catch-phrase “doctrine divides” became popular in evangelical circles. It’s been around for a while and only seems to have grown in popularity in recent years.
While there seem to be new churches popping up everywhere these days, they seem more and more to stand for less and less. As in, they refuse to take open doctrinal stances on things from baptism to sin to heaven/hell and even the trinity!
They put out very short and general statements on their “what we believe” pages, if anything at all. And you better believe they aren’t going to take controversial stances from the pulpit, beyond the pastor’s crazy hairdo or newest inking. Although, I have seen more than one promise to address controversial topics, attempting to attract attention, only to say nothing of importance, nothing biblically significant that is.
You can be sure that their websites aren’t empty and are full of all the newest sayings. Often boiling down our rich, complex Christian faith to a handful of “markety” catch-phrases. Be the church! Up, In, Out! God is love! I am not saying that these phrases are inherently wrong or bad, or don’t have a biblical premise. But, when these are more important than the full counsel of God spoken to us in his word. When we are more comfortable writing and speaking catchy sayings because certain truths found in the Bible might keep someone away. Then I am afraid that we have missed the point.
The Gospel is a stumbling block. The cross and Christ are an offense. Perhaps we have SO padded them with our catch-phrases that they are no longer even visible anymore? Perhaps hiding the clear teachings of scripture through unclear doctrinal stances is hiding them as well? Perhaps by not giving the cross, Christ, and the gospel a chance to be an offense, we aren’t giving them a chance to be the way that leads to eternal life either? Perhaps doctrine matters after all.