We’re in the midst of what is commonly called the Holiday Season. Personally, I like the holidays. I’m not crazy about the extreme commercialization that has progressively developed around them, but I like the holidays themselves. People seem to refocus, somewhat, and reflect more on their spiritual lives than they normally do during most of the rest of the year. That’s a good thing!
In a few days, multitudes of people in this country and around the world will supposedly celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many will attend some kind of special church service in His honor. Others will simply feel special feelings about the Savior as they go about the day. Specific references to the birth of Christ will be uttered in prayers by some. A large number of people will get drunk!
We find the phrase “sound doctrine” used several times in the New Testament (1 Tim. 1:8-11; 2 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 1:9; 2:1). The word doctrine simply means “teaching.” To qualify doctrine as being sound would identify it as being truthful, accurate, reliable, trustworthy. As applied to biblical teaching, sound doctrine would be teaching that accurately communicates God’s will by staying true to His word.
A great many people get faith and faithfulness mixed up. It’s not that they transpose the two terms in the way they use them. Rather, they use the terms as though they have exactly the same meaning. They do not! While related, faith and faithfulness nonetheless describe different concepts. Faith is not faithfulness. Many people have faith in God but live a life that exhibits anything but faithfulness to Him.
Does a congregation have to have elders? If yes, why? The answers to these questions are more important than many congregations might realize. Many congregations of the Lord’s church do not have elders. Some of these congregations have been established fairly recently, others have existed for many years. Our focus in answering these questions should be to make sure that we conform to the image of the church portrayed in the Bible.
Gary L. Hutchens