Oct 24

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A follow up article about the word “sound” is in order, as it relates to the articles: “Are you looking for a sound church, don’t go to Corinth.” The churches of Christ have the solemn duty to be one of soundness. After all, what is a local church of Christ, if not sound but unsound? Somewhere along the way, of becoming unsound, and staying unsound, the Lord removes the “candlestick” that is the relationship between Christ and the local church! It is like, Christ saying to the local church, you are no longer my people!
The word “sound” means several things, depending on the area of study. For instance, a congregation may be “healthy,” as not have any spiritual “disease;” free from error, as in adhering to the teaching; and this is to identify the three areas of soundness. We could also address the structural soundness, referring to the spiritual structure of a congregation. In the New Testament there are but three areas addressed in what might be called the “spiritual structure” of a congregation. They are: 1) worship, is the worship of the congregation in line with authorized worship revealed in the New Testament for “the churches of Christ; 2) benevolence, as in helping those in need of the basic things of life; and 3) is the local church evangelic, as teaching the lost? If a congregation is doing more than these three, then, there is no way that such a congregation can, according to “the teaching of Christ,” be viewed as sound! At the same time, if the local church is doing less, than, any of these three things, can it be said that she is “structurally sound?”
Then, what about the spirituality of a congregation? This is an area that is not addressed very much but should be! Just how would you go about to measure the “spirituality” of a congregation? What would you hold up as the standard? It would surely not be the church in Corinth! Once more, let me use the words of John, “the teaching of Christ.” If spirituality is missing from “the teaching of Christ,” then, this teaching is incomplete; yet, Paul wrote of the word of God: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Is spirituality to be found in Paul’s words? If not, then Paul by the Holy Spirit wrote an untruth! For the “scripture” is incomplete; if it is not capable of making “perfect,” as Paul used the word, as complete! If spirituality is not in “the teaching of Christ,” just where would we go to find “spirituality?” Speak, if thou hast understanding!
If the churches of Christ, have authority to act outside “the teaching of Christ,” then, just what is that body of teaching? While you are thinking on this, just what is the purpose of “the teaching of Christ?” Oh, let us not forget, the soul shanking words, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (2 John 9). Do you know what the word “abideth” means? Well, if comes from the Greek, “meno” and it is “A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy)” but this is not the end, as Strong went on to say: “abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry.” If these words do not describe a congregation’s relationship to “the teaching of Christ,” then, she does not “abideth” “in the teaching of Christ!” Why is this so important? Hear John once more: “hath not God!” On the other hand, he continued to write: “He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” A congregation’s relationship to the Father and the Son, depends on her “abiding” in “the teaching of Christ!” There are no second or third ways to “hath both the Father and the Son,” but to stay within the limitations of “the teaching of Christ!” It is to be sound to abide in “the teaching of Christ!” It is to be unsound to not abide within “the teaching of Christ!”
Let it be known, that behind all of this, “If you are looking for a sound church don’t go to Corinth,” is that we cannot really understand “the teaching of Christ;” therefore, we do not really have a way of knowing when a congregation is sound or not! Can we understand “the teaching of Christ?” If not, then, John gave us no way of “abiding,” in fact, John gave us no way of even starting to abide in “the teaching of Christ;” for no one is sure just what “the teaching of Christ” really is!
It is more than amazing to this writer, that old false doctrines/teaching never die they just fade away for a time but wait for such a time as brethren are weak in their knowledge of the word of God to arise once again. Hosea wrote in the long ago, speaking of the priest: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” Hosea 4:6). If not for ourselves, then, for our children, be sound in the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints (Jude 3)!

Frank R. Williams

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