Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 30, 1963

Who Is Sound?

Artie P. Brown

It appears that many consider themselves sound because they can make a lot of noise by commenting on what someone is either doing or not doing, preaching or not preaching. Some of the self-styled saviors of the church are wreaking havoc among God's people because of their retaliatory disposition toward the comments someone else might have made about something they said. Part of this is due no doubt to a misunderstanding of what has been said or written, but part of it seems to be deliberate effort to impugn motives, to ridicule another's ability, and smacks of rank jealousy on the part of some for another's recognition.

By Whose Standard, Soundness?

Too many brethren attempt to be a standard within themselves to who is sound and who is not, overlooking God's testimony. The term sound is defined as meaning: "to be whole; to be in health, healthy; to be safe: wholesome." The word "sound" under consideration comes from the Greek word "hugiaino," to be healthy, "safe and sound" and is translated as such and used metaphorically in connection with doctrine, words and the faith throughout the New Testament. (W. E. Vine, p.55) In order for one to properly qualify as "sound" he must indeed be walking by faith and not by sight, and be speaking the words that befit the sound doctrine. (2 Cor. 5:7; Rom. 10:17; Matt. 12:36, 37; 2 Tim. 1:13) When one preaches sound doctrine and lives accordingly then indeed he can qualify as being "sound." As Paul stated in Acts 20:27, "For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God." (Emp., mine, A.P.B.) When one who claims to be a gospel preacher meets that responsibility then no problem which faces God's people will be left untouched; whether it be with regard to the work, worship or organization of the church; its purity, which would cover marriage, divorce and remarriage, worldliness, masonry, etc , or any other encroachment on God's plan for "purifying unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14)

Term "Sound" Often A Misnomer

Because a congregation or a preacher is standing for the truth on the "issues" does not always mean they are sound in the sense in which the New Testament uses the term. Just so, because a man does not have tuberculosis, does not mean he is also free of cancer. By virtue of overemphasizing one point, we have permitted deterioration in a host of others. Worldliness is rampant among God's people, the marriage question is causing much division' and what are we doing? We are quibbling over and chiding one another about who is and who isn't an "independent thinker," the extent of the elders "oversight," and numerous other items, which with a greater respect for the Word of God could be eliminated. To all of this we might say as Paul did, 'Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you (act) like men, be strong." (1 Cor. 16:13) Where is the wisdom and judgment that should characterize the man of God who has closely studied and prepared himself to do the work of an evangelist? I submit these remarks in a spirit of humility and kindness.

— P.O. Box 9866, Houston 15, Texas