Such teaching is a great undertaking. Jesus does not call His church to teach basic truths or some of the truths or even many of the truths of God’s Word. He commissions us to teach all that He has commanded. We may prioritize truths, but we have no right to eliminate any of them. He calls us to a comprehensive knowledge of this will and a complete and full life consecrated to Him.
One of the most serious dangers that churches can create for themselves is to tamper with the teaching of the Bible. They can do that by rejecting, distorting, ignoring, or adding to some of the teaching of Jesus. Liberal churches eliminate teachings that are not intellectually or morally acceptable to their minds. Evangelical churches have too often tried to make Christianity more attractive to unbelievers by teaching only a simple or streamlined gospel.
By contrast, the Reformed churches have tried to be comprehensively biblical in their teaching, which is reflected in their confessional standards, full of doctrine and ethics.
In the church, both the ministers and the people are responsible for thorough teaching. The ministers must plan carefully what they will teach and how to communicate in a way that truly builds the people up. The Word of God is the repository of truth for the church, and the ministers must teach it. They must resist the pressure to become entertainers or pop psychologists.
The people of God, especially in a democratic culture, also have a very serious duty. They must encourage the ministers to teach the whole counsel of God and eagerly seek and support such teaching. Otherwise, the church will remain seriously immature. Paul wrote warning the Corinthians: “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still in the flesh” (1 Cor. 3:1–3). The same point is made in Hebrews:
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (5:11–14)
Immature churches and immature Christians are still caught up in the flesh and so have become dull of hearing. The mature church listens eagerly to the Word to learn and be trained in discernment and righteousness. The church needs theology to make disciples, both those who are brought into the church and those who are built up in the truth. Ligonier is dedicated to providing faithful teaching materials to help build up disciples in the truth.
Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples will not be fulfilled completely until all God’s elect have been brought into the church. We have much to do in difficult circumstances. But we have the great promise of Jesus to sustain us in our calling: “Behold, I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).