The People Need Sound Doctrine

Great preaching has a practical bent. It helps real people deal with real issues that they deal with in real life. Often preachers when confronted with this reality will skimp on the doctrine. They end up addressing issues in a topical manner without applying the foundation of a doctrine based in sound theology.

Sometimes preachers even go so far as to denigrate doctrine as useless and unprofitable. But without sound doctrine you are rudderless. You are simply drifting about without any real rock. The Bible author said that there would come a time when people would not endure sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2-3).


The issue is not preaching “practical” sermons instead of “theological” or “doctrinal” ones. The issue is demonstrating to your people the different doctrine makes in real life. No it is a false dichotomy to separate practical from theological. Go head on and preach your doctrine. Preach the doctrines that are in your own ecclesial tradition. But as you do it, please let the people know why it matters.

I repeat we don’t have a dichotomy between “doctrine” and “Jesus.” Please don’t continue this false dichotomy. If you are forever putting down doctrines then you will help create a people who “can not endure sound doctrine.”

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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Roger Abuloc - November 23, 2010 Reply

I, myself witnessed such preaching of unsound doctrinal sermons. It’s more for practical than theological. Sometimes, it borders on giving the hearers of the message an amusement talk rather than spiritual talk. I agree that these preachers are rudderless in their mission and can go nowhere to bring unchurched people to Christ.

Jay - November 23, 2010 Reply

Very good point. The time has come where there are many ‘itching’ ears in the church but men and women of God must continue preaching the Word of God. His Word never changes and is always applicable to our everyday life. I Tim 4:16

Sylvester Warsaw, Jr. - November 23, 2010 Reply

You have made some good points, but, I, would go a step further. There is also a difference in Biblical Doctrine and Denominational Doctrine/Polity. I know people who know the Book of Order of their particular denomination better then they know the Bible and for them that’s their authority. It is vital that we proclaim Biblical truths so that God through the Holy Spirit can work on our hearts. This goes back to the issue you addressed earlier about the content of the context should make you shout because issues of the heart are addressed.

Sherman Haywood Cox II - November 23, 2010 Reply

Pastor Warsaw, thank you for bringing this up. I agree with the idea that we aught to make the Bible primary in our presentations, but I would also say that denominational distinctives are born out of a community’s belief that they are Biblical. Take the idea of the “speaking in unknown tongues” from our pentecostal brethren. Whether you agree with the interpretation or not, to that community of faith it is their reading of the scripture. Others have different interpretations, but both go to the Bible for proof or disproof of the pentectostal distinctive.

I hear what you are saying about making the Bible primary, but even when you do that, there is still a place for biblically informed and preached denominational distinctives. I appreciate your concern that we make the Bible primary above the “books of order” but I also would hasten to add that there is a time and a place for a group to preach their understanding of the Bible even if that group is the only one who see it that way.

Now I would argue that whether you are preaching doctrines that most Christians hold in common or you are preaching your own unique doctrines that you derive the teaching from the Bible. Make the Bible primary. I would also argue that you preach those doctrines with a practical bent.

Finally, I would be careful about ever preaching “polity.” Maybe there may be a time for it, but polity is probably best left to another training time rather than the preaching moment, but that is just my feeling right now…

Sylvester Warsaw, Jr. - December 21, 2010 Reply

My dear brother, Elder Cox,

Thank you for your comments they are insightful. I’m not opposed to denomenational doctrine, but, I, don’t agree with teaching that during the worship hour. The worship hour is for the body to have an encounter with the living Lord Jesus. I know there are differences in denomenational doctrine, but, the average person setting in the pew doesn’t even know or maybe know very little about the doctrine of their denomination.

Sherman Haywood Cox II - December 21, 2010 Reply

Pastor Warsaw,

Thank you for your comment. I think that whether it is denominational doctrine or doctrine that is held by more than one denomination, we are seekign to usher the people into an encounter with the Most High. However, the question becomes, what God? What Jesus? Doctrine must help us to discern that.

I don’t think it is a question of whether you will preach doctrine or not…the question is whether you will preach sound doctrine or not.

What I tried to say was that there is no dichotomy between preaching sermons infused with doctrine (practical doctrine) and ushering the people into an encounter. We are not talking about didactic teaching, but we are talking about preaching that has at its base solid theology.

I would agree that the people know very little about the doctrine of their denomination…but to be fair, Barna tells us that people know very little about the Bible either…We can’t set it aside because the people don’t know it…perhaps it is time for us to learn how to use doctrine to usher our people into an encounter with God. I have seen it done with such doctrines as “incarnation” and even “trinity.” Again, please don’t confuse what I am saying and the didactic teaching of the truth of a doctrine…

Thanks for your post and please respond if you disagree…

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