Valid or Sound?
If I were to tell you that all trucks are green and that I have a truck, the logical conclusion would be that my truck is green. Validity, when speaking in terms of logic, does not necessarily mean something is right. It just means that something is logically correct. In this instance it means that if the said information about trucks is correct then the logical conclusion is the my truck is green. Soundness means “healthy” or “true.” In logic, something can be valid without being sound (like the argument at the beginning of this paragraph), but the goal is to have an argument that is both logically valid and factually sound. If one is able to this, then he has reached some level of truth.
Every religious institution struggles with perfectly exercising this practice because they are all made of imperfect humans. This includes the churches of Christ, and it includes the church where I am. It includes me and every member within the congregation. We are all guilty of preaching something as truth and believing we are correct because we have found some Scripture that agrees with us and we made a valid argument. But are our arguments always sound as well? The answer is no; nobody’s arguments are always sound and valid.
We in the churches of Christ, generally speaking, are probably one of the most logically valid institutions in Christendom. We have a verse and a logical argument for almost everything that we believe. However, as we have discussed, this does not mean that we are always sound (right, true, etc.). No two people are ever going to agree 100% and no two Christian institutions are either. We must be studious, humble, forgiving, prayerful, and patient when dealing with our understanding of doctrine, and we must give others that same grace. The foundational principles are as follows: Do we believe in the good news of Jesus? Do we seek to be like Him and saved by His grace continually? Are we humbly seeking to do his will and showing mercy to those who do likewise? Let us not be divisive over things that we could be wrong about; about things that aren’t salvation issues. Let us seek to be one in Christ. Too many churches (even many congregations who wear our name) divide over unsound arguments. Pray that Christ’s Church doesn’t conform to this mindset. – Jesse