The term “sound doctrine” is a phrase often associated with people and attitudes as opposed to its real meaning. When some use that term they might associate it with what they have always heard or believed instead of what might actually be Biblical truth. Others hear it with disdain because they assume an uneducated and possibly Biblically illiterate position held by unstudied obstinate people. Of all the arguments the church has, and it has some as all families do, we should be united on the literal meaning of believing in and preaching “sound doctrine.” The problem is not helped by those who seek change for their own purposes, which, while having nothing to do with scripture and everything to do with a personal desire to challenge established truth, are simply arrogance couched in pseudo intellectualism. I am weary of the smartest person in every room who is more brilliant than any real Biblical scholar. They profess wisdom while spouting blasphemy.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not speaking about people who ask questions or look for Biblical foundations for what we or they believe. That is not only natural, but wise. But, to cause division because one has changed their own mind due to a life change on their part, or someone else’s, is inexcusable. For instance one who chooses to validate public or social drinking, in spite of what the Bible clearly teaches in regard to drunkenness (1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7) or fleeing all types of sin (1 Thessalonians 5:17) or simple debauchery, (Ephesians 5:18; Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4) so that they can indulge their own desires is simply being self-serving and not credible in any real way. Those who argue for the existence of Biblical errors and call themselves scholarly are sad examples of a defeated and lost world. (Colossians 2:13-14) I would ask them to point out the error that proves the Bible is not the Word of God. If one place can be proven wrong, then all can. The truth was best stated to me by a great Biblical scholar some years ago in a private conversation. He said simply, “proven science has never disproven the Bible.” I have always appreciated Basil Overton and the very real impact he has had on my life and more importantly my faith.
Sound doctrine doesn’t need my defense because it is sustained by scripture. I do however find myself in discussions with many about traditional doctrine who substantiate their questionable or wrong positions more on some person than on the Word. As a minister and preacher, I am bound to teach what the truth of the Bible is no matter who wishes to deny it. I can’t help what people learn from secular sources. Man’s wisdom and God’s wisdom are in constant conflict.
God actually calls man’s wisdom foolishness. (1 Corinthians 1:17-25) In the end we will all stand before our creator and face judgment based on the righteousness of God and His written Word as opposed to the senselessness of half dedicated, change oriented, and so called scholars. I am not trying to be caustic, but those who seek to challenge the Word are actually challenging the author – God. If a person wants to be an atheist, then just be one. But to claim to be a Christian and not believe in Jesus or the sanctity of scripture is too duplicitous to begin to describe.
If we are ever divided I assure us all, it is not the fault of the Bible. It could be human selfishness, ignorance, apathy, or wrongheadedness, but never the fault of the greatest and holiest book ever penned. Our Savior is actually called the Word, and is God. (John 1:1-14) Sound doctrine should be the accepted norm, not the burdensome phrase protecting the hard headed, or the target of the weak of faith. It is not scholarly to accept a doctrine because a well-known brother proclaims it. It is also not scholarly to be the ever present iconoclast of all that is holy because you’ve read a certain scholar’s book that correlates with your desired position. The only book that matters is the Bible! Everything else is a human assumption and is subject to change or revision. You can accept the Bible or reject it, but no one can straddle the world and heaven, keeping one foot in “pseudo scholarship” and the other in sacred scripture.
It is not that I have not listened to the arguments presented by those who challenge current doctrine or the concept of Biblical inerrancy; I simply have come to my conclusion and am more than willing to stand before God with what I have personally studied. I don’t seek to change what someone thinks about the Bible unless they are really willing to discuss it from a “Biblical/scholarly” standpoint. I trust God with what He has given me. My salvation hinges on what He has promised and the invalidation of any Biblical truth is the destruction the whole book, thus the destruction of my hope. I have looked for error and found any troublesome passages explained with some study. That is not to say that I have understood every difficult Biblical passage, but after careful consideration and study (over 15 years of academic pursuits, and 33 years of personal study) have found no “error” to be present. The day I do I will walk away and live the life of one who no longer believes. I have been pushed and prodded and faith has not come easily. I have wrestled with scripture and struggled at times to understand it. After all this, one thing remains true; we have the written Word of God.
Everything I know about God comes from the Bible. If the Bible has some tendency to be wrong, then I can know nothing about Him or His will for me? If only parts are true, then which parts are they and who is to be trusted to know the difference? God is not fractional, we are totally committed or completely out. We are faithful or we are faithless. I know this is hard to read in a world of secular relativism where all are equal – the Bible and the scholar who opposes the Bible. In God’s eyes, all are not equal. The will of man and the will of God are often opposed, and never equal. We are called to be servants, not our own masters.
Never be ashamed of what you believe, just be studied and sure based on real Biblical fact, not the well intentioned analysis of someone with many letters behind their name. Be prepared to have it challenged in a variety of ways. Challenge yourself. (2 Corinthians 13:15) The term “sound doctrine” should mean that one relies on accurate Biblical information to establish faithful practices in their Christian life.
I realize we vary in our understanding. As a matter of your own salvation, please keep searching scripture to establish truth. Be the one who knows what’s right because you have seen it with your own eyes and accepted it with your own heart, and have studied it in your own Bible. Godspeed as you journey down the path of life seeking to understand God and His will for man and for yourself.