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).
Paul 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.