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  • Writer's pictureVic Bernales

A Beautiful and Attractive Church

I believe that the gospel of grace must be faithfully preached in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Likewise, sound doctrine must be diligently taught to every member of the church - young or old, men or women, rich or poor, learned or less educated.

However, even in a church where biblical doctrines are steady diet, where members are able to distinguish between law and gospel and explain the hypostatic union of Christ, pastors and teachers must also seek to teach and exemplify conduct and behavior that are in accordance with sound teaching.

Some orthodox churches are quite dogmatic and are watchful with their doctrines. Simply being orthodox in doctrine though is not enough. It is commendable for churches to correct their erroneous teaching and becoming sound.

However, the Word of God does not stop at right dogma. As Paul points out to Titus saying, "But you must say the things that are consistent with sound teaching" (Titus 2:1, HCSB).

And what does Paul say about "the things that are consistent with sound doctrine"? Paul is talking about godly character and Christ-like behavior. He is telling Titus to teach older men "to be level headed [or sober], worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance" (Titus 2:2).

The apostle Paul further instructs Titus to "encourage the young men [in the church] to be self-controlled in everything" (Titus 2:6, 7a). Even Titus himself, as the pastor in the church at Crete, is told to "make [himself] an example of good works with integrity and dignity in [his] teaching." He has to see to it that his "message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that the opponent [who are the false teachers] will be ashamed, having nothing bad to say about us" (Titus 2:7b, 8).

Having the right doctrines in the church or being biblical is great. But how does one feel when women in a doctrinally sound church are disrespectful to their husbands and their church officers, slanderers, and gossips? How do outsiders see and think of an orthodox church when their older women are bad examples to the younger women, or when the rich people look down on and do not associate with the poor members, or when pastors and church officers are proud, advancing their own agenda instead of the Lord's?

Even a small and insignificant church, when its pastors and officers teach and model what is proper and in accord with the truth of God's word, when common members, even slaves, in the congregation, "are...submissive to their masters in everything, and [are] well-pleasing, not talking back or stealing, but demonstrating utter faithfulness," (Titus 2:9, 10), that church beautifies sound doctrine.

What adorns or makes a church attractive and pleasing before God and men is not huge and elaborate building or large membership or big budget, and definitely not just right doctrine. Of course, a church must be, first and foremost, sound in its teaching. What makes a church glorifying to God and a blessing to its members is a God-centered doctrine clothed with true godliness.


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