Would you rather have something God can give or would you rather know God?
"Verily, if we have God, we can do without the answer to any prayer." ~ George McDonald, Consuming Fire
God is better than anything he can give. Therefore there is no greater thing than knowing God. But...
"but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the LORD." (Jer 9:24 NRSV)
If we are honest none of us will boast. None of us know God the way Jesus does. If we are honest we will be humble enough to admit that we don't know God very well (if we do know Him). Better to assume that we don't know and understand Him than assume we do. So how then do we come to know Him? A good man understands the thoughts and feelings of another good man; a wicked man does not. The more like Jesus we are in character the more we will understand Him. The more Christlike we become, the more intimate we will be with God. (God does not love us more as we become more Christlike. He already loves us perfectly. But as we become more like Christ, we will understand Him and love Him more. Note: I'm not talking about ones initial repentance. The more one sees that they are a sinner the more grateful they will be for God's forgiveness. But to assume that upon repentance a person knows God as much as God can possibly be known is foolish. Loving a person is not the same thing as understanding a person. A terrible sinner upon repentance may love God very much, but they have a long way to go before they really know Him in the most intimate of ways.) "Obedience is the opener of eyes." (How can anyone honestly say they trust him if they will not take him at his word and try to do what he says?)
I will set my heart on obeying God every day. This is what it means to trust him. This is the only way to come to rightly understand how he thinks and feels about things.
Knowing God is more important than knowing things about him.
So are our beliefs about God unimportant? No! they are very important, because false beliefs about God can interfere with our ability to believe in him. If you believe God is monstrous, you are not likely to trust him. Lies ruin lives.
This is why Satan works very hard at sowing false doctrines into the Church. And he has often used good men to do it. Sometimes false doctrines get sown into the Church and they remain largely unchallenged for hundreds of years. Some still are. This is a shame. We should be like the Bereans (see Acts 17:11). They were praised for not taking the apostle Paul at his word. They checked the scriptures to see if what he said was true. If it was good enough for Paul, it's good enough for everyone else. We must value truth above church unity. Because " where debate is stifled, error abounds." ( See chapter 2 of Tactics by Greg Koukl.)
The following things are things about God. They are particularly about many widely accepted but false doctrines in the church. If your foundational doctrine is wrong, the theology which is built on that foundation will also be wrong. The following is one such example:
Many people believe God cannot look upon sin. But does the Bible really say that? The NASB translates Habakkuk 1:13a as follows:
"Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor." (Habakkuk 1:13a)
Not looking upon sin approvingly is very different to not being able to see our sins at all.
Believing that God cannot look upon sin approvingly will lead to a very different theology to that which begins with the assumption that God cannot look upon sin at all. (God is omnipresent. He is omniscient. He is everywhere and he knows everything. No one has to tell him someone sinned.)
If there are enough people in the Church who are quick to listen and slow to speak, the future of the Church will be bright. But if we are quick to speak and slow to listen the salt will be taken out and trampled on.
Before we look at some false doctrines, it might be a good idea to look at what the early Christians believed. Both of these are of the utmost importance because they are foundational.