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Sound Doctrine (9marks: Building Healthy Churches) [Hardcover]

Bobby Jamieson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; First edition (17 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433535890
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433535895
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 13.3 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 628,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 20 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bobby Jamieson has done a fantastic job in this book. He has clearly debunked the myth that doctrine kills churches. Not only does he debunk that myth - he also demonstrates the health and vitality that solid biblical doctrine brings to the church. Well worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sound Doctrine by Bobby Jamieson 17 July 2013
By Joseph T. Cochran - Published on
Have you witnessed a symphony's harmony? Has a score of music drawn emotion from you or caused you to dance? This occurred because an orchestra played a score as it was meant to be played. Music played as intended, has power to stir us.

The Music of Sound Doctrine

Likewise, a church who holds to sound doctrine has power to stir people. But holding to sound doctrine requires reading the sheet music of scripture accurately. We must play the notes and follow the clear signals that the Lord gives as He instructs us according to His will. When a church holds to sound doctrine, the sheet music of scripture meets with the dance of the church; there exists harmony.

The mutual harmony between scripture and the church produces love and holiness. Bobby Jamieson, Assistant Editor for 9Marks, Managing Editor of the 9Marks Journal and author of the most recent book in the 9Marks Building Healthy Churches series, Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God envisions a church that dances to the music of sound doctrine. Why? Because "sound doctrine is essential for living godly lives and building healthy churches...sound doctrine is for life - the life of the church." (13)

Do you agree? Is sound doctrine essential to your godly living? Does your church dance to the music of sound doctrine? Arguably many individuals and churches function as if sound doctrine is not all that important. Disagree? Well, test my theory.

If you ever played for a school band you would know that every musician undergoes testing. They have to play their scales. This determines where they sit in the orchestra. Here is a test to discover where you sit in respect to appreciating sound doctrine. I encourage you to administer this test to friends at church as well.

Be honest. What drew you to your church? What do you tell others about your church? Does sound doctrine get a mention? Here are three guesses at a typical response.

"Well, I really love the worship!"
"We really connected with our small group/Sunday School Class."
"We came here for the children's/youth program. It's really good."
It is rare to hear that people attend a church for its sound doctrine - though I have heard some say as much, which is encouraging. Reading the sheet music of scripture accurately produces the music of sound doctrine, leading to dance. I hope Jamieson's book, Sound Doctrine, blesses the church and stirs her to dance to the music of sound doctrine.

Sound Doctrine approaches the topic not by telling us what is sound doctrine, there are plenty of books that do so; I'm sure Jamieson could recommend a few. No. Sound Doctrine attaches its message to our need. We need Sound Doctrine. Jamieson develops a crescendo all the way through as he argues for our need of sound doctrine. Though belaboring the point in a few places, the need is effectively established. Jamieson begins by asserting sound doctrine is for the church - the life of the church. He then conveys sound doctrine as essential for reading and teaching scripture. He follows by exhibiting sound doctrine as leading to holiness, love, unity, worship and witness.

Reading Scripture's Sheet Music

Chapter 2 gives the core argument for sound doctrine. Here we learn how to read the sheet music of scripture. Jamieson masterfully surveys the purpose of the Bible and our part in its story. The Bible is revelation, a story that preaches a message and an instrument for God's redemptive work. We need to read it as a single story, as a biblical theology.

"The goal in all this is to understand the Bible's single, unified story. Sometimes theologians call this kind of reading `Biblical Theology" - theology traces out the development of the progressively unfolding revelation of God in Scripture." (35)
We must see Scripture as the Word of God, carefully learn the whole story, and allow scripture to interpret scripture. Many isolate doctrines from one another; many develop pet doctrines that consume all of study. This leads to a narrow or skewed view of God's character. We see a single facet rather than the multi-faceted nature of God. When we study the all-encompassing story of scripture, not isolating any of its parts, we discover an unbound and all-encompassing God. We see all of God from all of scripture. In discovering all of God, all our short-comings are laid bare.

"And sound doctrine gives us the big picture: a wide-angle view of who God is, who we are, and how God is working out salvation for those who trust in Christ...A balanced diet of sound doctrine can expose and defuse our unbiblical thoughts and attitudes that would otherwise go undetected." (40)
Dancing to Scripture's Sheet Music

Chapters 3-7 instruct us to the dance accurately read scripture produces. Reading and teaching scripture accurately drives the practices of holiness, love, unity, worship and witness. We should speculate that when these attributes do not exist, perhaps sound doctrine is not practiced.

Holiness hinges on comprehending the doctrine of sin. Love is rooted in many doctrines: God, man, providence, redemption. Unity is bound by the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Sound doctrine fuels the fire of worship - giving God His due glory and prepares us for gospel witness.

I celebrated how Jamieson rooted unity in the gospel. All humanity stands on the same ground as sinners awaiting a savior - as helpless hoping for the Holy Spirit's help. I loved how Jamieson compares sound doctrine to practice and witness to performance. I agree with him. When we soak in gospel doctrine, performing evangelism becomes second nature. We will comfortably share the gospel.

There is much to appreciate from Sound Doctrine by Bobby Jamieson. This book establishes our sound doctrine need. Jamieson comes across not as an obstinate and rigid doctrine hall monitor but as a masterful orchestra conductor guiding us through the movements of the most enchanting sheet music - Scripture. As a fun read, Sound Doctrine keeps our attention; it stirs us to dance to the music sound doctrine produces.

Purchase Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God by Bobby Jamieson at the Westminster Bookstore or Amazon. The publisher offered me this book in exchange for an honest review. Read more book reviews at
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sound Doctrine: For Life in--and the Life of--the Church 18 May 2013
By Aaron Armstrong - Published on
While "doctrine" is a dirty word in some circles, there are times when I wonder if it's become a bit of a cliché in some of ours. Many of us in the "new Calvinist/YRR/whatever-you-want-to-call-this" movement love to talk about the importance of sound doctrine and why it matters. We have systematic theologies and commentaries, apologetics books and cultural critiques. But sometimes we forget to talk about what doctrine does in the life of the church, practically.

In Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God, Bobby Jamieson doesn't give us another book on why doctrine is important. Instead, he reminds us how orthodoxy leads to a healthy church--one committed to the fulfilling of the Great Commission in the spirit of the great commandments.

Jamieson, assistant editor of 9Marks and managing editor of the 9Marks Journal, hooked me the moment I read his definition of sound doctrine: "Sound doctrine is a summary of the Bible's teaching that is both faithful to the Bible and useful for life" (17).

How many other clear and helpful definitions of sound doctrine have you encountered--definitions that balance knowledge and practice? We understand the first easily enough, but when we neglect the second we tend to get into trouble. Application testifies to how firmly we actually hold to our beliefs, confirming the genuineness of our convictions or betraying the hypocrisy of our hearts. For example, what effect does how we treat one another have on the outside world? Does it attract or repel? Do people look at our congregations and really see a group of believers committed to one another? We've all heard stories of ugly church splits, divisiveness, pride, and cliquishness that leave people saying, "If that's what a church is, I'm out."

This is what sound doctrine lived out protects us from. It brings about greater unity when handled humbly. It increases our awe of the Lord and grows us in personal and corporate holiness. It drives our witness before the watching world and increases our love for one another.

But understand: this isn't terribly radical stuff when you think about it--it's the basics of Christian discipleship (e.g., John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11-12). Jamieson writes:

"Our churches should be characterized by a mutual love that extends to all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and love, don't forget, is fueled by sound doctrine. If bitterness, gossip, and slander are tearing your church apart, sound doctrine is one of the most necessary tools for sewing it back together. If rivalries and divisions are suffocating the church's love, it needs to breathe anew the rich air of sound doctrine. In order to love the unlovely and to reconcile enemies, we must remember that God has done those very things for us in Christ." (71)

A church committed to faithful teaching--and equally committed to living out that teaching--can't not be characterized by a supernatural love that surpasses all understanding.

I wonder if some of us have missed this point in our efforts to defend the truth from error. Particularly for those of us who live in our heads (like me), it's easy to distill holding to sound doctrine to simply defending facts. And while it's certainly no less than this defense, it's clearly much, much more. We need to wholeheartedly affirm the truth of Christianity, remaining united around the gospel and "the doctrines that flow from and undergird the gospel" (81). And we need to live in light of that same truth.

The vapidity of our worship culture is a source of much consternation among conservative evangelicals. Puffy, fluffy songs that could as easily be about a girlfriend or boyfriend as about Jesus dominate the worship "set." "Spirit keys" intrude on the pastoral prayer, leaving you feeling like you're watching a special episode of Growing Pains rather than hearing the impassioned prayer of a shepherd for his flock.

All of this, of course, comes from a desire to create an experience--to engage the congregation in worship. In doing so, though, many resort to trying to "facilitate" (read: "manufacture") an intense emotional experience. However, as Jamieson argues in what might be his strongest chapter, that approach misses the point of worship. Emotions are good things, but creating emotional experiences flips the object of the worship gathering from God to us.

If you really want to engage people, you need to infuse your worship with sound doctrine. "Sound doctrine teaches us to delight in God because it shows us how delightful God is," Jamieson writes. "It holds before our eyes the perfections of his character, the abundance of his grace, and the majesty of his sovereign rule over all things" (85).

When I read this chapter, I wanted to cheer. (Regrettably I was on a plane and didn't sense my seatmates would've appreciated it.) Jamieson nails the relationship between doctrine and corporate worship--that we should lose ourselves in worship, but not in squishy sentimentality. We're to lose ourselves in awe of the God who is, who has called us to himself, and who saves and sanctifies us through his Word.

Jamieson's book is thoughtful, helpful, and packed full of wisdom. It succeeds in reminding us that sound doctrine truly is for all of life--and it's a book you can't easily walk away from without feeling at least a touch of conviction. Indeed, we all too easily take the implications of our doctrine for granted.

Read Sound Doctrine for your own well-being, work through it as a leadership team, and discuss it in your community groups. If you're serious about helping others see doctrine as essential to all of life, this book is a great starting point.
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, practical, rich 22 Jun 2014
By Justin Pritchard - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was really very timely. Once I read it, I then lead a group of core men in our church through it and it was great for our growth in unity and understanding. Thanks!
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Church Family 20 May 2014
By Linda - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We are family you know, as believers in Christ,
This book is a must to your library, I recommend it to be in the hands of your pastor.
Every pastor needs to be armed strongly with the word of God. This is a small book but, is pack with Power.
5.0 out of 5 stars Is Theology Really That Important? 19 Dec 2013
By J. Baergen - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sound Doctrine, by Bonny Jamieson, takes an honest look at what the Bible says on the subject of doctrine and theology.
Is theology necessary? Is it important to the Christian life and the church? Jamieson generally uses terms such as sound doctrine (right teaching from the Bible), instead of theology, probably because theology and such is often misunderstood and people think it's bad before you even explain what it is. The reality is, more Christians need to understand what theology/sound doctrine is and how it relates to the Christian life.
Too often people today say "theology is bad," or "it will ruin my love for The Lord." Jamieson gives an honest look at what the Bible says about sound doctrine so that Christians might understand that your love for The Lord can only grow if you understand who God is and what His Word says better.
Jamieson starts with two theses' in the introduction: 1) sound doctrine is practical, and 2) "sound doctrine produces lives that are shaped like a healthy local church." In other words, sound doctrine isn't just arbitrary facts, but sound doctrine results in something.
He backs up these theses' in chapter 1, explaining what sound doctrine is, why it's important, and how it shapes the church.
In chapter 2 he tells us where we get this sound doctrine; namely, from the Bible.
After Jamieson tells us what sound doctrine is, why it's important, and how to get it, the next 6 chapters are devoted to the subject of what does sound doctrine result in. Theology is not an end in itself; it is not arbitrary knowledge, but rather it results in something.
Jamieson backs up his claims adequately from scripture that sound doctrine results in holiness in life, love for God and others, unity with Christ and the church, the worship God in an appropriate way, the ability to witness to unbelievers, and joy in knowing all that God has done for us.
While that may be an oversimplification of all of his arguments, you'll have to read the book to get to the real meat.
My only critique of this book would be that it left me wanting more on the subject! After I finished reading it, I needed another book that really went into the subject more. For someone new to the subject, or needs just a small push to start studying theology, this is an excellent book that is not too complicated to understand (like most books on theological method).
Highly recommended! Grateful for Jamieson's wisdom, and I seriously hope more Christians would read more books on this subject, as theology is so fundamental to growth as a Christian. If you want to know and love Jesus more, start here.
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