Sound Doctrine through Stewardship
by Ronnie Barnes, Men’s Ministries Board Member
In the previous month’s article in this series, Jake Bunn identified pride as being the greatest obstacle to remaining sound in doctrine, as it renders a person unteachable. I submit that an equal threat to the church, alongside the unteachable spirit, is the spirit which forgets the proper stewardship of God’s “engrafted word, which is able to save [our] souls”(James 1:21 KJV). The Apostle Peter expressed the importance of preserving sound doctrine when he wrote: “I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder…” (2 Peter 1:13 NASB). He knew very well that his audiences were mere vessels of clay trying to keep up proper belief in an age of heresy. In the full maturity of his ministry, Peter considers himself a humble vessel whose crowning purpose is to stir up God’s people by reminding them of sound doctrine. He was a good steward of the mysteries of God. It might be helpful for God’s ministers to pull the reins on the lust for title and position and see ourselves more closely to how post-Pentecost Peter saw himself — a humble guardian of God’s Word and His flock.
Paul also had to his record a similar situation with the Galatians, but with rebuke in his exhortation:
“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? …did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 NASB).
By the wisdom given to him, Paul was able to see the doctrinal deviation this church had succumbed to as being catastrophic to their Christian walk. Since they had departed from the doctrine of the Apostles and deferred to lesser teachings from lesser men, he vigorously reminds them of what the Holy Spirit had once convinced them about concerning Christ.
In an age of rising heresy, it becomes a significant (and more difficult) matter to hold on to sound doctrine; and that is the exhortation from the Apostles, and the Lord — to hold on. In that same vein, Paul told Timothy: “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).
If we truly regard sound doctrine as the foundation for sound practice and a matter of grave importance to the health of our churches, then perhaps we should follow the Apostles’ examples; maybe we should expend more effort encouraging each other concerning what we’re believing and confessing, and in that way, guard sound doctrine.