One way to
have a “sound” church is to teach sound doctrine. Plan a well —rounded
teaching program that is positive — that covers Old and New Testaments — “in
depth” studies and kindergarten topical studies on faith and baptism, heaven
and hell, the church and honesty, brotherly love and the sting of rebuke. It
is all there in God’s word, and we can not have soundness without proper
food. Take the initiative on subject matter rather than a steady diet of reaction to what someone else said or did.
reaction, be alert to social changes which may (and probably will) affect
brethren. Get to the bottom of matters avoiding surface jabs at isolated
cases of abuse. Be fair with the opposition. Maintain an “open pulpit” so
that the search for revealed truth is never stifled. (There is no
obligation to hear every man’s opinion — judgment here must be based on the
extent to which a “contrary” teaching contributes to or distracts from an
objective consideration of God’s word as final truth.)
to have a sound church challenges each individual member. It “disturbs”
brethren, keeps them studying — and they must either learn to respect and
deal objectively with one another, or they will break into warring camps. Christ must be the unifying factor here, or there is no unity.
carefully, Phil. l:27-2:l-f.)
(?) to have a “sound” church is to convince a few elders or leader that
certain “positions” on current “issues” are “right” and that “taking a
stand” here is equivalent to “soundness” in all parts. (Liberals who follow
this course may make a “token” contribution to some institution.) One of the
convinced elders may order a few tracts from his party’s most popular
publisher — a sort of “status symbol” for the tract rack.
the most important of all, in order to “soundness”, is to get a preacher
whose name is associated with the reputation you wish to establish.
Obviously a church that is sound according to our “first way” will desire a
preacher who teaches accordingly; but we refer here to the erroneous concept
that the members are “sound” because the preacher presents a hard line. This
“second way” to soundness builds its name on party loyalty rather
than on individual understanding and conviction. A hard driving preacher,
backed by a few determined leaders, may whip a congregation into line so
that none dare buck the establishment.
write in all seriousness; I have known both “liberal” and “conservative” (by
invitation) churches, that were little more than sectarian bodies, whipped
into line, loyal to a “party” rather than to Christ. These are the churches
that want no fair discussion of “issues;” that do their fighting with
name-calling and threats. They are strong as horse-radish on the surface,
and soft as mush at the individual’s heart, where the real “soundness” must
if any churches will have 100% mature well-taught memberships. But we must
improve on “party loyalty” or “soundness” becomes “sounding brass.