I wasn’t taught what to think, I was taught how to think.
“Years following the hate crime which led to the closing of Sound Doctrine church, I joined and attended another church for several years. As I started to get to know many people of that community, it wasn’t uncommon for me to volunteer and attend a number of the church’s events.
During one of these events, someone with whom I had come to know quite well, asked me about my former church. After he heard the name “Sound Doctrine,” his expression changed and said, “oh yeah, that’s the one where brainwashing took place with its members. I read about it in the local newspaper.”
After hearing this, I chuckled, not only because of the absurdity of the claim itself, but because of how often I heard baseless slurs of this variety for as long as I was a member.
“I was actually there, would you like a first-hand account?” I asked. Sidestepping my question, he continued: “I heard the leader of that group was very controlling and had a way of brainwashing its members.”
“How many years have you known me?” I asked. “Hmm, over two years now I think,” He responded. I replied, “Ok, so during that time, have I ever come across as someone who’s easily deceived or easy to convince of anything?”
He chuckled, “Well, no actually. You always seem to be very rational and have been willing to argue or debate about just about anything.”
I said further, “and with that, do I strike you as someone who spent ten years of his life being brainwashed?” His expression changed and said, “Ok, I see your point, I would have to say no.”
He then changed the subject.
One of the many things that made Sound Doctrine so special was that, quite contrary to the rumors and slander, we were regularly encouraged to rationalize our own positions—to debate and reason and to test everything according to 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
In fact, when I first joined Sound Doctrine, I was completely self-absorbed, hardly ever talked, and hated the thought of any public discussion.
That’s when I was encouraged, through the direction of Timothy Williams, to pick a topic each night at dinner and debate one side of it with everyone else at the table.
At first, it was uncomfortable and something I dreaded each evening. But after several weeks of nightly practice, making a fool of myself, and practicing the rationalization of my position; I actually started enjoying it.
So far from the accusation made toward Timothy those members were “brainwashed,” I was actually encouraged to reason, debate, and think things through. I wasn’t taught what to think, I was taught how to think.
Particularly in today’s culture, anytime someone doesn’t want to engage in a discussion, they default to slanderous buzzwords like “racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, etc.”
This was the exact same mentality that took place (and still takes place today) in the “christian” community in regard to Sound Doctrine Church and Timothy Williams. Rather than having a discussion or risking in any way that what was being preached was true—it became easier to throw out meaningless buzzwords meant to shut down any dialog.
After all, this was the same treatment Christ himself received when those who opposed Him couldn’t refute his arguments. As a result, it should be little surprise that a church in any way embracing the message of the cross face similar treatment (John 15:20).
As helpful as the debate encouragement was, it was the tip of the iceberg when it came to the impact Timothy had on my life. It wasn’t just his encouragements or sermons—which were helpful enough on their own—it was and is the way he lives his daily life that’s by far made the biggest impact.
Far from the false accusations that have been leveled at him throughout the years—during and after his leadership at Sound Doctrine—he is hands-down the most gentle, patient, kind, generous, and loving person with who’m I’ve ever been aquatinted.
In fact, after Sound Doctrine closed, it was Timothy that encouraged me to join the particular church previously mentioned. A church which had many significant doctrinal differences from Sound Doctrine itself. His encouragement was: go a year without talking about doctrine and instead love and serve the members there.
This was the same encouragement he himself daily lived: being transformed by the love of God and laying down his life for others.
It is for these reasons, and the many others too numerous to mention here, that I’m endlessly thankful for Timothy and the fellowship of Sound Doctrine Church.”