Ep25 Titus 1:9-11p3 What is Sound Doctrine

Today, we remain in verse 9 of Titus 1, continuing our discussion of exhorting in sound doctrine. Our aim today is to define sound doctrine. We know that doctrine is important, but there is a lot of doctrine out there. So, what doctrine is important? Titus 1:9 says that sound doctrine is important. So, what is sound doctrine? That is what we seek to answer today.

4 thoughts on “Ep25 Titus 1:9-11p3 What is Sound Doctrine

  1. Mad Welshman

    Jason:
    I heard the show today and appreciated the distinction you made between “essential” and “useful” doctrines. I very much like the term “useful” rather than the traditional “non-essential” in reference to those doctrines on which we are free to disagree. I did have a problem, however, with your definition of what makes up sound doctrine. In particular, when you were expounding on the Apostles Creed it seemed to me as if you were arguing that both the doctrine of predestination and the doctrine of eternal damnation are essential doctrines and, therefore, necessary for salvation. If you really are saying this,it seems as if you are necessarily ruling out the possibility for any Arminians to be saved. You also would be ruling out the possibility for John Stott and all Seventh Day Adventists to be saved since they are all annihilationists. Did you really mean to say these things?
    Mad Welshman

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    1. boltjason

      MW,

      I appreciate your questions, and I actually had to go back and listen to the show again to make sure I did not say anything that I did not mean to say. So, I will take your comments in the order you make them.

      “It seemed to me as if you were arguing that both the doctrine of predestination and the doctrine of eternal damnation are essential doctrines.” I actually never even used the terms “predestination” or “eternal damnation.” I did reference the elect and those chosen of God, but all the Arminians I know don’t have any problems using these biblical terms. They simply define them differently than I do, and I never gave a particular definition of the terms on the show. So, I was certainly not claiming that the doctrine of predestination is essential for salvation. As for eternal damnation, I did say in reference to the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting that the reprobate will be raised to death while the elect will be raised to life. This is simply a paraphrase of what Jesus says in Matthew 25:46, “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

      You say that this necessarily rules out the possibility that Arminians and annihilationists, such as Stott and Seventh Day Adventists, can be saved. Well, maybe. It depends on how you are defining what an Arminian is and what an annihilationist is. Does a person have to understand that he was chosen before time began in order to have been saved? No. When I first repented, I had no idea that I had been chosen before time began; but when I was finally taught the doctrine of predestination, I embraced it. Useful doctrines like predestination and essential doctrines like the sovereignty of God are very closely linked, but rejection of one does not necessarily mean rejection of the other.

      As for annihilationism, it is essential for a person to understand the penalty that his sin carries. It is also essential to believe that God is just and that he will render the justice that is due. His justice is rendered in two places—either on the cross or in hell. Sin against an infinite God deserves infinite or eternal punishment. The punishment Christ endured on the cross was infinite because it was infinitely worse than what he deserves (he deserves infinite praise). Punishment in hell is infinite because it lasts forever. I do not see how a believer can persist in the belief that God does not render due justice, which is what I understand annihilationists to believe. What do you think? Is my reasoning faulty? I would like to hear what you think.

      This coming Friday, Nick and I will discuss the nature of the relationship between essential doctrine and merely useful doctrine. So many useful doctrines are so closely related to essential doctrine. Sometimes it can be hard to tell where one stops and the other starts, but that is why discussion is so important. We learn where we really stand by asking questions and defending our positions.

      —Jason

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    2. Mad Welshman

      Jason:
      Let me just focus on one of the two issues I brought up….predestination. It is true you never mentioned that doctrine by name on your radio show but I believe you necessarily implied that belief in the doctrine of predestination is required because it is an essential doctrine. If I remember accurately, you did state that belief in the sovereignity of God is an essential doctrine. Although the Arminians you know may use the word ‘predestination’, I sincerely doubt they mean the same thing by the word that you do. If God is sovereign then it necessarily follows that everything that happens happens because He wants it to. If everything happens because He wants it to then men either profess faith in Jesus or not because He wants them to or not. If men either profess faith in Jesus or not because God wants them to, that is the doctrine of predestination. Therefore, it seems to me, the necessary and essential doctrine of the sovereignity of God also necessarily requires the essential doctrine of predestination. Simply put, if God is sovereign, man is not. If God is sovereign, man does not have free will. If man does not have free will, predestination is true. No?
      To answer your question to me about annihilationism….I am forced to agree with you. I believe one must hold to the doctrine of eternal punishment to be orthodox. I do not see how one can hold to the doctrine of temporal punishment and be consistent with the orthodox ecumenical creeds.

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    3. boltjason

      MW,

      I believe it is possible for a person to be saved without understanding the doctrine of predestination. I also believe that any believer who does not come to understand the doctrine of predestination will remain in an infantile and immature stage of Christianity. With that said, it is not possible to be a true believer and claim that God is not sovereign. When the doctrine of predestination is accurately taught, it cannot be rejected without also rejecting God’s sovereignty. Yet, I am hesitant to consider predestination an essential doctrine because I do believe it is possible to be saved without embracing it.

      A person with an immature and inaccurate understanding of predestination may not necessarily have to throw out the sovereignty of God when he throws out predestination. I realize that this person’s logic is contradictory, but being confused is not the same thing as being a heretic. However, when a person comes to see God’s sovereign act of election in the Bible and persists in rejecting it, I don’t see how that person can be saved.

      –Jason

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