Sound Doctrine Is a Gift From God

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
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Yes, sound doctrine changes us.

It is the what that leads to our now what.

“Give instruction in sound doctrine,” Paul says to Titus (1:9). Lay a solid biblical and theological foundation in the hearts of your people. That’s the what. It’s the starting place.

Then “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (2:1)—that is, make personal and practical application of the truth. That’s the now what. It’s the practical application that follows. Sound doctrine is not just a collection of abstract theological concepts. It is always connected to duty. It requires, motivates, and enables us to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord.

Sadly, many believers and churches today seem to lack an appetite for sound doctrine. We live in a consumer culture. We want to be entertained. We want to be comfortable. We don’t want to have to think. And we don’t want outsiders to think we’re narrow, exclusive, or boring. We’ve learned that “doctrine lite” often attracts bigger crowds than strong doctrinal teaching and preaching.

But the impact of the gospel in our world is inevitably weakened when our focus on programs, productions, marketing, and relevance outranks our emphasis on sound doctrine. When that happens, people are deprived of the very thing that gives the Christian message its greatest persuasiveness—the winsome witness of changed lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His truth. To crave anything less than sound teaching is a dangerous place to be.

But this tendency is not unique to our era. Nor should it surprise us. Paul warned his young pastor friend Timothy of this very thing:

The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Tim. 4:3–4)

Paul was quick to point Timothy toward the timeless solution:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus . . . preach the word; . . . reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Tim. 4:1–2)

This is essentially the same message Paul gave Titus at the beginning of his letter, when he spelled out the qualifications for church leaders. Pastors and elders are responsible for providing spiritual direction and protection for the flock of God. An unswerving commitment to sound doctrine is central to that calling:

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine [direction] and also to rebuke those who contradict it [protection]. (Titus 1:9)

If the pastors and leaders of your church love and live and teach sound doctrine, you have been given a huge gift. Be sure to let them know how blessed and grateful you are. If you’re looking for a church home, make sure to choose one where you and your family will find a steady diet of solid, biblical teaching that encourages you to live out the implications of sound doctrine. And if your church is searching for a new pastor, pray that God will bring a man who will “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). He doesn’t have to be a spellbinding orator or a superb administrator. He doesn’t have to possess great charisma or the ability to build a megachurch. But he does need to be able to “preach the Word”—to “exhort and rebuke with all authority” (v. 15).

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by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Known for her wisdom, warmth, and knowledge of Scripture, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has encouraged millions through her books, radio programs, and...

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