[forthright] The Tests of Sound Doctrine

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2010 04:40:35 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
Straight to the Cross

When troubles come, no one knows better than Job. 'In
Search of Perfection: Studies from Job,' by Michael E.
Brooks. Click here:


The Tests of Sound Doctrine
 by Michael E. Brooks

   "But we know that the law is good if one
   uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law
   is not made for a righteous person, but for
   the lawless and insubordinate, for the
   ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and
   profane, for murderers of fathers and
   murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for
   fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers,
   for liars, for perjurers, and if there is
   any other thing that is contrary to sound
   doctrine, according to the glorious gospel
   of the blessed God which was committed to my
   trust" (1 Timothy 1:9-11 NKJV).

Occasionally when in mission areas, I will learn of
congregations or individuals who purport to be members
or congregations of the Church of Christ. Unfortunately
since that name may be used by people of various
beliefs and practices, some inquiry is usually required
to insure that the new acquaintance shares critical

A common way of expressing that concern is "Are they
sound in doctrine?"

Normally when we ask such questions we are directing
our queries to matters of crucial doctrines, such as
the nature and work of Jesus, the identity of the
Church, the form and purpose of baptism, and other
similar issues.

These concerns are valid -- the doctrines are vital.
Certainly sound doctrine is that which is true to
Biblical teachings.

That is not the only test of sound doctrine, however.
In the evangelistic epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and
Titus the phrase "sound doctrine" appears four times
(in the NKJV).

In none of these instances is the primary meaning that
of "Biblical teaching" or "authorized church doctrine."
Rather the phrase is used of instruction which leads to
proper conduct.

Paul is not using the phrase in our modern sense as a
technical term. Rather he intends the normal Greek
meaning of "wholesome (or healthy) teaching". True
Christian doctrine is not only true to God's revealed
will, it is also useful and helpful in producing good

Thus the contrary deceivers in Crete were "disqualified
for every good work" (Titus 1:16), whereas those who
followed Titus' preaching were "ready for every good
work" (Titus 3:1).

Elders must be able to "by sound doctrine, both to
exhort and convict those who contradict" (Titus 1:9).

Faithful churches must teach and practice only that
which is revealed in God's holy word. But they must
also so teach and exhort that every Christian displays
the spirit and character of Christ in all that is done
(Romans 8:1-11).

One is not a true Christian only because he or she
wears the right name and correctly follows a few
rituals. Wholesome instruction must also prepare and
motivate us to live a life which glorifies God and
helps our fellowman. 

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