You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)
Unless you are operating on a higher theological plane, this verse from Titus seems to be straightfoward. Teach sound doctrine. You teach sound doctrine because you first know what sound doctrine is.
Do our churches today know what sound doctrine is?
I have attended a number of different churches in my area over the past year and when I am able to put aside the trappings of each building, the worshippers that attend, and the persona of the leader(s) I find that can’t answer that question confidently. What I find frustrating is that you would think that the Church (the bride of Christ) would have some universal elements that would permeate every church no matter where each congregation falls on the “political” spectrum. And apart from the do-good verses, there seems to be little fundamental agreement on what constitutes sound doctrine.
Now, please note I am not a theologian but I consider myself to be well read and fairly intelligent (hopefully not thinking more of myself than I ought). I also confess that the biggest disparities occur between so-called mainline churches and so-called fundatmentalist churches. The differences between different mainline churches is minimal as is the difference between different fundamentalist churches.
Why the gap between mainline and fundamental? Well, I have some basic knowledge and getting into the history of the widening of that gap is not the focus of my musings here. What I wonder is this: is the doctrine of a church easily identified and is it sound?
What I’ve discovered is that the culture in which I live does not encourage casual discussions about church doctrines. When was the last time I had a discussion about what was right and what was wrong? Or when did I last talk about the implications of an absolute truth with a friend or colleague. At this point in my life, I’ve found that I really need to do my homework to ascertain what a church’s doctrine is. It isn’t always easy to glean a comprehensive doctrine from attending one service, reading a bulletin, and a trip to the church website. Even denominational statements seem to vary wildly from parish to parish. I know that it is important to do your homework no matter what the culture around me is like, but it seems to me that it would be helpful if the discussion of what is sound doctrine would take place outside of the church walls and I think it would enrich the community wherever it was discussed.
More to follow…?