Why should churches draw doctrinal boundaries?

9Marks
False teaching harms the church. Paul calls right doctrine “sound” or “healthy” (1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:3). False teaching, by contrast, is spiritually destructive (2 Pet. 2:1). False teaching spreads. The New Testament warns us that false teaching spreads like gangrene (1 Tim. 2:17). Churches should draw boundaries for the sake of their health and even their very lives.  

How do we determine which doctrines are more important and which are less important?

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The answer to that question depends on how closely related to the gospel a doctrine is and how much practical impact it has on the Christian life.

Is systematic theology biblical?

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Certain academics argue that systematic theology inherently distorts the meaning of the Bible. They argue that any “system” imposes foreign thought structures that necessarily tamper with the meaning of biblical texts. Such scholars often argue that the biblical documents contain irreconcilable diversity, which is to say, contradictions. Hence, they argue that systematic theology is at best unbiblical, at worst impossible.

So is systematic theology biblical or not?

Why is expositional preaching that ignores biblical theology unsound?

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Expositional preaching that ignores biblical theology is unsound because:

Why should expositional preaching include biblical theology?

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Biblical theology is necessary in order to understand the text. We can truly understand a text of Scripture only by situating it within the overall narrative of redemptive history.

How can I grow in my understanding of biblical theology?

9Marks
Study the Scriptures thematically. While you should study all of Scripture both deeply and broadly, it can be especially helpful to read through the Scriptures in order to trace themes that run throughout the Bible. If you study how themes like creation and new creation, Sabbath rest, kingship, covenant, and God’s dwelling place with his people develop throughout Scripture you will gain a panoramic view of the glory of God and the wonder of salvation.

How should biblical theology inform pastoral counseling?

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A pastor should apply all of Scripture to his people’s lives in light of the gospel. Biblical theology teaches a pastor how to do this. And this enables Christians to draw comfort, encouragement, and hope from all of Scripture, even parts of it that seem more distant from our lives.

Why is biblical theology essential for a Christian’s discipleship and growth?

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Biblical theology teaches a Christian to understand his or her own story in light of God’s story. When a Christian understands that God is sovereign over all of history and has been working out one sweeping plan of salvation for thousands of years, it helps put his own story in perspective.

How can a church preserve doctrinal soundness and unity over time?

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Pursue meaningful church membership. That is, move toward having a membership that is composed of genuine Christians who regularly attend the church and are committed to its teaching. Christians will preserve true doctrine. Non-Christians won’t. (Click here for more on meaningful membership.)

How can I help my congregation grow in their understanding of sound doctrine?

9Marks
Preach expositionally. As you explain and apply the meaning of biblical texts, your people will grow in their understanding of Scripture and their ability to apply it to their lives. Incorporate systematic theology into your preaching. As different theological topics arise within your exposition of biblical texts, explain how those texts relate to the Bible’s entire teaching on that topic.

How can I grow in my understanding of sound doctrine?

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Give heed to the preached Word. Listen attentively as your pastor expounds God’s Word each week. Discuss the sermon afterward with friends and family.

Why is sound doctrine essential for worship?

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Sound doctrine is essential for worship because…

Why is sound doctrine essential for evangelism and missions?

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Sound doctrine is essential for evangelism and missions because…

Why is sound doctrine essential for a Christian’s discipleship and growth?

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Sound doctrine is essential for a Christian’s discipleship and growth because what we believe determines how we live.

Why is sound doctrine essential for the unity of the church?

9Marks

Sound doctrine is essential for the unity of the church because the only true unity is unity in the truth (1 Jn. 1:1-4; 2 Jn. 10-11).

Think about it. Without sound doctrine the church will be a jumbled mess of everyone’s personal beliefs. If the church without sound doctrine is united, it will either be united around whimsical sentiment or an explicit untruth. In either case: