“Sound Doctrine”? or Speculation

sound doctrine-flattenedFor all my life, truth has been important to me. Then, when I went from being an atheist to a Christian, discovering the Bible was like a real love relationship. Before I became a Christian, for several months I believed in God but didn’t know who Jesus was. During that time I read the Bible, cover to cover, but I really didn’t understand it or get much out of it. Then when I received the Lord, I read the Bible again and it was like floods of truth were pouring into me, something I desperately needed.

The apostle Paul admonished Titus to speak the things that become sound doctrine”. (Titus 2.1) But there’s really a lot today that is preached here in America or taught on some websites that is really not sound doctrine. It’s often nebulous speculation on Bible themes, frequently mixed with a worldly  agenda to compel Christians to vote for one political party against the other.

Ten years ago here in Austin, Texas I went to a large, well known evangelical church on a Wednesday night. It was packed with nearly 3000 people. The guest speaker was going to teach on a subject dear to my heart: the prophecies of Daniel. But after his first 10 minutes or so of hurriedly speaking on the things I’d come to hear, he then launched into what evidently was the main burden of his heart: a long discourse on a controversial opinion of Bible prophecy that dovetailed perfectly with his political views. I became incensed. At length it became the closest I’ve ever gotten to disrupting a church service in order to be some kind of voice of truth.

This was a church I attended regularly, where the pastor had really been teaching the pure Word of God and many people were coming to hear the sound doctrine regularly coming from the pulpit. But on Wednesday night, the pulpit was being used for propagating speculation and controversy, mixed with a strong political agenda. But the thousands of people there figured  it was just as much the truth as what the preacher was telling them on Sundays. But it wasn’t. It was speculation and worldly politics.

This was an older, mainline church with many wealthy members. I was a nobody; just a returning missionary, trying to find a home church. But I felt compelled to try to contact the pastor and I went to his office to express my views. He wasn’t there but his secretary took a note of my concerns. To my complete surprise, one evening I got a call from the pastor, the head of this church of around 7,000 people here. We talked for around 45 minutes. I told him about my background of becoming a Christian through the Jesus Movement of the early 70’s. And then I poured out my heart to him about how I respected his teaching very much but felt that he’d allowed his pulpit to be used for speculation and politics when the members of the church would think that anything said there had the same degree of truth that he taught.

He took it really well, basically agreed with me and also agreed that what had been taught on Wednesday night was not really sound doctrine. It was just one of many disputed views on the subject of Bible prophecy and how it will unfold in times to come. Honestly I was stunned that he would even take time to phone me about it. It gave me a respect for that man that he wouldcondescend to men of low estate (Romans 12:16), like myself.

And now, being back in the States again after more years on the mission field, I again find the same thing. I find in some places really strong and feeding sermons being preached, which I get a lot out of. But in other places there are the same spurious, specious speculations being taught, especially about Bible prophecy. And often it’s just an opening to supposedly lay a Biblical foundation for extreme political views.

It’s not only heartbreaking, it’s motivating. It motivates me to try to make the material on this web site to be “sound doctrine”. A Bible teacher should consider it essential to differentiate between their own speculations and what can be accepted as sound doctrine. Otherwise you are creating confusion in those you teach. Quite possibly you’re engendering unbelief when your speculation on current events as being a direct fulfillment of Bible prophecy turns out differently from what you taught your flock.  There’s even a verse about handling the Word of God deceitfully. (II Corinthians 4:2) Like by using it to promote your political agenda?

My goal on this site is to lay out from Scripture what can be taken as much as possible to be sound doctrine, not politically-mixed prophetic speculation.

 

2 thoughts on ““Sound Doctrine”? or Speculation

  1. I very much agree with you on the general direction of this.

    At the same time we may benefit to realize that all of us are also somewhat under an ‘agenda’, meaning that precisely the way we have been brought up to understand prophesies is correct, to the exclusion of all else. This is quite real, and to reject the idea may be to be deceived.

    You don’t say what was the nature of the “politically-mixed prophetic speculation”, except that it ‘incensed’ you and was “one of many disputed views on the subject of Bible prophecy and how it will unfold in times to come.”
    You felt it was wrong, and for a reason.
    To contrast the issues, it would indeed be interesting to know such details, in order for others also to take a position on the otherwise somewhat nebulous, or rather – general – issue.

    • Briefly, it was teaching the large congregation there the Pre Tribulation rapture doctrine, not as speculation or a possible future scenario but as an absolute and uncontested fact. Everyone there was assured, unequivocally, that they would never be here for the final days of the endtime but that they could be raptured away at any minute. With equal emphasis, there was also a strong mix of religious comment on United States foreign policy, centering on the essential need of America’s complete and unquestioning support of modern Israel’s occupation of, and expansion in, the West Bank and Gaza.

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