This teacher is consistently true to historic Biblical Christianity. He has a solid grasp and a clear understanding of the Gospel and the larger themes represented in Scripture. He is a faithful teacher with a high view of God’s Word and the competence to benefit believers in most settings with accurate exposition of the Biblical text, understanding the Bible is not about us, but God. While he is educated with a commitment to continued learning, he is aware of what he does not yet clearly understand. For this reason, the Safe Teacher occasionally profits from other view points and may occasionally require minor correction from other safe and sound teachers. The humility consistent with a safe teacher will allow him to admit his error and receive wise council regarding blind-spots or misunderstandings in both his life and teaching.

Many safe teachers have reason to be confident teachers who are on track to becoming Sound Teachers. Many other Safe Teachers are well educated and remain comfortable with some uncertainty (or "mystery") and are simply not convinced it is necessary to draw firm lines on certain more secondary issues related to the Gospel. Nevertheless, they remain fiercely unwavering on the primary tenets of orthodoxy.  

  • It is important to realize that every teacher either believes or claims to be a sound teacher according to their own criteria. You be the judge. Be a Berean

  • Sound Teachers ought to be your pastors. That said, there are not as many of these men as there are local churches, so you may find yourself in a place to submit to the leadership and teaching of a Safe Teacher. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as he is surrounded by other qualified elders/pastors who, together, are humbly seeking the Spirit's leadership and the truth of Scripture. In addition, as a discerning Christian, you should actively be praying, serving, and humbly holding believers accountable to Scripture.

Acts 18:24-28 - Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

*Apollos had the raw material and even the conviction of a Sound Teacher, but simply needed revelation and education. 

Acts 15:36-41 - And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothersin every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are." Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia,strengthening the churches.

*Both Barnabas and Mark (it appears, and according to the Apostle Paul) demonstrated a degree of immaturity in their decisions and partnerships. They weren't sinful nor were they lacking commitment to the work or the words of the Gospel.

The spiritual life of any congregation and its growth in grace will never exceed the high-water mark set by its pulpit.
— Steven Lawson