Dogma vs. Dogmatism

This morning, a fellow blogger (Katherineanne55, my daughters’ friend) posted some astute observations; I’d like to re-post my favorite excerpts.

DOGMA – A belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted

DOGMATISM – Positiveness in assertion of opinion especially when unwarranted or arrogant

  • “I have seen the unappealing method of dogmatism used in countless ways – be it political, religious, or philosophical – but the main reason behind my passion against dogmatism is how I’ve seen if affect the church, both within the body of Christ and in evangelism tactics.”
  • “I believe many arguments are warranted for the cause of upholding the truth of what Scripture clearly says. However, I also believe that many arguments are the result of prideful, finite humans thinking they have clearly figured out exactly how, when, and why God does what He does.”
  • “If we begin to promote and preach aspects of a systematic theology above preaching ‘the cross of Christ and him crucified,’ I believe we have gone too far.”
  • “In an effort to emphasize our views, I believe we can be guilty of creating theological jihads – often WITHIN the church – which I think is sadder than the initial doctrinal disagreement.”
  • “I think it is fine to be knowledgeable and have preferences pertaining to these issues, but when we push our preferences as the only correct option and cause people who don’t hold the same opinion to feel inferior, I think we are out of line. These things frustrate me. I have to be careful, though, because in my desire to want to counterbalance these issues, I find myself having the very attitudes towards fellow brothers and sisters that I am trying to warn against.”

The post ties up nicely with a quote from Matt Chandler’s The Explicit Gospel:  “…nobody likes the theology police. When that sort of doctrinal arrogance takes over, people end up despising doctrine because they can’t see the beauty of it from the beauty of reconciled relationships.”

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3 Responses to Dogma vs. Dogmatism

  1. themamaduck says:

    So nicely put… 🙂

  2. thedoogler says:

    I think what is scary is when we start to question a person’s salvation based off of a disagreement in doctrine. I remember a good friend and pastor of mine told me once that in the church, when disagreement of doctrine arises there are often three possible responses. We choose to disagree, divide, or die for that doctrine. Luckily, most churches here in the US don’t currently have to deal with death over doctrinal differences, but there does seem to be an inordinate amount of division going on. You find now that new churches are being planted not in order to spread the Gospel but so that its members can be united in their particular flavor of doctrine.

    I find this quite disturbing. The church is the body of Christ, and our whole mission as given by the head (Christ) is to spread the good news of Salvation, making disciples of all nations. Instead, we are spending so much time squabbling over petty issues, pulling one another apart. What happened to being united in the love of Christ? What happened to not letting the things of this world get in the way of the Gospel? Why do we spend so much time debating the scriptures rather than preaching them?

    I can tell you this, in the past, when I was misled by false teachers it was because I was not reading the Bible for myself. Once I dug into the Bible and discovered the truth for myself my agenda stopped being about a doctrine and started being about salvation.

    So I guess that is the conclusion that I ultimate come to. I don’t care what other doctrines may be preached. The only doctrine that I will divide or die for is the doctrine of salvation. Nuff said.

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