For the love of sound doctrine

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 1 Tim 4:3 NIV

[An elder] must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:9 NIV

You must teach that which is in accord (in harmony with) sound doctrine. Titus 2:1

There is no way we can accurately ascertain the scope of God’s will and then live out the will of God without an balanced and consistent understanding of his word. That balanced and consistent understanding is given to us primarily through the teaching of sound doctrine. Sound doctrine accomplishes two things: (1) it guards against deception, and (2)it guides others into spiritually healthy men and women of God (Ephesians 4:14-15).

King_SolomonPaul instructed both Titus and Timothy to be careful not to change what he had taught them and to anticipate that some in the church would depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. And consequently, reject sound doctrine.

The word “sound” comes from the Greek word hugiaino translated as “hygiene” or “health.” This obviously has a medical aspect to it. So in short sound doctrine is healthy doctrine. The opposite of healthy its unhealthy. Thus, we can conclude that not everything which sounds good to the ear or feels good to the body, is healthy for the soul.

What we need today if we are to be effective and remain steadfast in the work of the Lord is a radical return to God’s word and the foundations that produce good, healthy fruit.

Doctrine has gotten a bad rap in the contemporary church. Its been compared to heartless dogma and legalism which restricts and controls people unnecessarily. The truth is that doctrine is simply a body of principles presented for acceptance or belief. But not all doctrine is good doctrine.

How do we convey sound doctrine?
The primary tool of conveying sound doctrine to others is through teaching because teaching is about the how and the why. Its instruction that must be given carefully and received with diligence. Thus, the best way for you to show me properly is to teach. Remember the old saying “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Its the same with sound doctrine. If you really want me to become a healthy, fruit-bearing follower of Christ, you will teach me sound principles. If you want to keep me locked into a unhealthy co-dependency on you do the opposite. And that’s exactly what false teachers do.

The word “teach” occurs twenty times in Matthew alone, and Jesus is called Teacher there about ten times. If we look at the whole NT, the two nouns for teaching or doctrine occur over fifty times, while the verb to teach occurs over ninety times. The word teacher appears at least fifty-eight times. Half a dozen other related words appear on another twenty occasions.

When Paul urges Titus to “refute” (this is what I consider polemics) those who oppose sound doctrine, we must take it seriously and do it. One tactic used by those who oppose balanced healthy teaching is the “mystery” approach. In essence, they claim no one can really know the truth, so we are responsible for finding and living our own truth. Judges 21:25 gives us insight on such a teaching: In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Dr. Bob Wright of Denver says this is a mockery of Christian maturity:

We do not need answers; we need to grow up and learn to accept the paradoxes of life! True Christian maturity is said to be measured by our commitment in the face of final paradox rather than by any kind of knowledge. People who want answers are just immature, that’s all.
Our faith is recognized by specialists in comparative religion as being by far the most intellectual religion of all; that the New Testament puts a heavy priority on the regeneration of the intellect that the Bible in both the Old Testament and the New makes it perfectly plain that the term heart means the seat of the intellect, or the mind as our capacity to reason; therefore all the problems we face are to be solved first by allowing the Bible to change our minds about the truth, and then by learning what God’s answer is to our problem, as God defines and explains both problem and answer.
The results are predestined to be successful and to infallibly meet the needs of the believer sooner or later. The Bible itself calls this process “making disciples,” and the primary method is said to be by something called teaching.

Sound doctrine and homosexuality
The teachings of homosexual affirming theology stands against much of the cornerstone tenets of our faith.

  • Teaching that same gender sexual expression is normal opposes the creative nature of God (Col 1:16, Romans 1:25)
  • Teaching that homosexuality is acceptable by God opposes the biblical definition and penalty of sin (Dan 9:5, 1 John 3:4)
  • The teaching that Christ was ignorant of contemporary homosexual relationships, thus silent opposes the divinity of Jesus Christ specifically his omniscience. (John 8:58, Ps 33:13-15) (
  • Teaching that homosexual have no need to repent opposes the authority and applicability of the Word of God. (Mt 4:4)

Homosexual affirming doctrine isn’t different from other unhealthy teachings, it is unhealthy teaching.

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16 thoughts on “For the love of sound doctrine

  1. One of the tenets of the “Fundamentals of Christianity” is the “Inerrancy of Scripture” or should I say “sound doctrine” as is prescribed in this refreshing post. We live in a time were everyone is definetely doing “what is right is his/her own eyes” and sound doctrine is frowned upon, by even some leading evangelist. In order for one to receive sound doctrine, you must believe in the inerrancy of scripture, for you can’t have one without the other.

    As indicated by the writer of the post, sound doctrine is not received, because it invalidates my agenda, and way of thinking/life. The word says, “He who keeps his mind stayed on me, I shall give him perfect peace” and “Keep your heart w/all diligence, for out of it flows the issues of life” only being rooted and grounded in sound doctrine can those two verses of scripture be realized. And theres no sounder doctrine than the doctrine of “LOVE.” For if you love me, you’ll keep my commandments, if you love me, you’ll see my “WORD” for what it is, not for what you want to see it as, even if it disrupts you.

  2. Excellent Post. It seems like a preacher will compromise scripture at a whim in hopes of keeping their cash flow. If they understood scripture, they would know they are sending people to hell with a smile on their face. The truth is required from the pastor to help set them free. I was so disgusted with these false teachers that I wrote a book called, A Shepherd’s Trial: Feeding or Fleecing the Flock of God? I hope it can be used to give these false teachers a wake up call. http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/AShepherdsTrial-FeedingOfFleecingTheFlockOfGod.html

  3. Pastor Foster, this as an excellent article. Excellent. You make several good points here, so many that I won’t touch on them all. I really like the quote you included from Dr. Bob Wright, especially the specific statement he made regarding specialists from comparative religions lableing Christianity as the most intellectual of all religions. I don’t know how many people will actually agree with that, but I can see how that can be true based on numerous scriptures in the Bible.
    But there will be some in the Church, however, who would frown if they read that statement, particuarly those who don’t have a high regard for Scripture (though they may say they do); for them, experience is more important than a book, feelings more powerful than study, and visions – if they’re from God – more exciting than exegesis. As you mentioned, Pastor, doctrine has gotten a bad rep (and been neglected) in the contemporary Church. So to mention exegesis, are you kidding me?

    One point I did want to touch on: you mentioned that there needs to be a radical return to God’s Word…
    Let me ask something here.

    I’ve read from many sources that, today, Americans are reading less and less. Here’s a link to one study that I just pulled up today: http://money.cnn.com/2004/07/09/news/bookreading/. It’s an older article, but it still applies today. What’s claimed in this article is confirmed by several studies. Though biblical reading is not included in this specific study, do you think that it applies to Christians as well, in regards to Christians reading their Bible less and less, thus the apathy towards sound doctrine?
    What I found very interesting in that article is this statement:

    “Schroeder does point out that bookstores have changed for the better over the past 20 years. With cafes, seating and policies that encourage shoppers to sample, they’re centers of community.”

    Sound familiar? It’s like churches across the country that include cafes outside their sancutaries and implement a sense of community by creating innumerable programs in order to attract “church shoppers”. Just as owners of bookstores feel a need to include add-ons to their bookstores, as if the books aren’t enough to complel the true readers to come, pastors and leaders of local churches throughout the nation feel a need to include add-ons to compel the people to come, as though hearing the Word of God isn’t enough.

    But back to the point of Americans reading less. Christians are Americans too, obviously, and they’re just as prone to sit on the couch and watch T.V. rather than read the Word, or prioritize other activities rather than daily bible reading and serious biblical study.
    So again my question is, does anyone think this decline in American reading carries over to bible reading for Christans? As a result, doctrine has become less and less important?

  4. This is why so many of us are “tossed to and fro w/every strange wind and doctrine” its also why, as Paul said, “concerning yourselves w/things that have no significance” and also, “getting carried away w/all types of fables.” Where there is no adhering to sound doctrine, you’ll also find no “accountability” or “responsibility” we can sit back and blame all of the pastors and bishops we want, God will definitely tend to them, but he will also tend to us, for not adhering to the scripture, “Study to show THYSELF approved a workman unto Jesus Christ, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I do not speak as one who has “attained/arrived”, for Paul said, “Oh that I might know him”, but it is time to put away our complacency and laziness concerning his Word. We need more pastors and brethren who will keep each other accountable, and say as Peter said, “I know you know these things, but I will not cease to remind you of them.”

  5. If Individuals who claimed to be followers of Christ would have just turned the TV and radio off in protest of the blatant sin promotion (the homosexual/abortion agenda)we wouldn’t even be in this predicament now. Nowadays if you tell a Christian to stop watching Grey’s Anatomy or dont’ listen to Jay Z because he is a follower of Crowley they get mad and defend them…..

  6. Pastor and all the gcmw family, just wanted to let you all though that my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl wednesay.

    Great article!!!

  7. Congratulations,

    Paul to you and your wife, and may your daughter grow up to be a blessing unto the Lord, and unto you and wife as well. And may she grow up to be the “Ruth” or “Esther” of her generation. Your friend…Tony

  8. Congratulations to you and your wife, Paul!

    God bless your family.

    (I posted a message in response but don’t think it posted.)

  9. Congratulations Paul. All God’s Blessings to you and your new family.
    Robert, I 100% agree with you re: entertainment.
    Sound doctrine is healthy doctrine as explained by Pastor Foster. Health is really a defense, so if you are unhealthy in any way (i.e., unsound doctrine) you will be defenseless and will succumb to all sorts of deception and destruction. If people realized this, they would not see sound doctrine as the enemy, but rather as a great protector.

  10. Tell me why, with the pursuit for sound doctrine as a right and honest goal with rich ideals, do not the board of directors at church feel the need to seperate their church departments? I mean the missions, the witnesses, the sacraments, all is conglomerated in my face when I go to church and is quite nauxious, why does every branch feel the need to meet every soul thats wants to inquire about gods love for them personally. I do not ever see a business hiring a person and immediately sending that person out as a secure financial investment to strangers or beloved colleagues as a compliment representative of vision or mission statement of that corp. So in christianity it is also a business of helping the needy(as was the first church of corinth) counseling departments and visitation of the congregation. why are you all still mixing many of these programs literally shoving religion up peoples throats instead of securing doctrine here, securing safe witnesses reports here of vital mission works that happen over there, and families that can participate in a wonderful view of their eternity in such a way it is lasting and meaningful. I see complete disorganization and flamboyant glowing, I am saddened that you use doctrine to shut out your other needful departments or departments that use other type branches of the faith tree and call them unworthy. How can a business be called to have the same vision for plumbing and next be a chef and next be a mailman and next be a gadget fixer and next be a politician of business methods and next be this or that professional. Come on, I have never seen such crummy doctrine teaching of fear instead of wisdom in my life. ps 23, for his names sake people………kj

  11. Kathryn, I read your remarks, then read the article, then read your remarks again. And I must confess I am completely confused as to what you are referring to.

    Please make some clarifications.

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