You have probably heard someone speak of a person or a church as “sound” or “unsound.” What do we mean by those terms? What do the Scriptures mean when they use them? How should we view “soundness” in individuals and churches, and how might we avoid self-deception in these matters?
Speak where the Bible speaks; be silent where the Bible is silent. We can understand how this slogan came about on account of the various competing sources of authority in “Christendom.” Yet the premise is only as good as it is truly followed, for it proves far too easy to be silent where the Bible speaks, and speak where the Bible is silent.
In a world of religious confusion the call went out to use “Bible names for Bible doctrines.” The statement sounds appealing; the concerns it critiques are most valid. And yet “Bible names” could become just as problematic depending how they are used. We do well to explore how language is to be used to communicate the purposes of God.
God has all authority, and is the Source of all authority (Romans 13:1). Lesson over, right? By no means! We do well to explore how God exercises His authority, and to what end.
“I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God” was the expected confession of early Christians, and they were to make good on that confession in their lives. Heresies would develop; it became very easy to insist on certain formulations of the faith in order to be seen as faithful and orthodox. Creeds and creedalism have defined “Christendom” for the better part of 1700 years; let us explore why we do better to insist on no creed but Christ.
Another resource: A Study of Denominations: Creeds
Jesus did not come and die to create a fractured, denominated kaleidoscope of organizations. He came to save people from their sins. The path of Christ is not found in a denomination or an anti-denomination; we must transcend denominationalism entirely if we would become one with God and His people.
Thus saith YHWH, “Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, ‘We will not walk therein'” (Jeremiah 6:16).
The call has been made to “seek the old paths” of the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom as set forth by the Apostles and their associates in the New Testament. Does this call still hold value in the 21st century? What shall we make of it? How shall we grapple with our heritage in Christ?
The Western world is in a crisis of authority. We are skeptical of all authority except our own. It has not always been so, but the way authority has been used and abused is an age old story. A way out of the crisis exists, but it is surprising and not very easy.
Our God is a consuming fire; it is dangerous to draw near to Him. How could we trust to venture to draw near if it were not for our confidence in God’s covenant loyalty? God mediates His relationships with people through covenants; we do well to understand what covenant is all about.
We hear a lot about declining church attendance and the exodus of young people from the church. Many reasons exist for such trends, but one in particular is well-illustrated by an interesting and surprising contrast. Community proves important: if many do not feel any pain about what the relationships are leaving or losing when departing from the faith, why would we be surprised to find them departing?