On Being Dogmatic – Revisited

big_wavesIn today’s western culture, most people seem to be dogmatic about only one thing—that no one should be dogmatic. I’m reminded of the day when I realized I was prejudiced against people who are prejudiced. These positions are nonsequiturs.

In the case of dogmatism, it seems to me professing Christians are adopting this cultural position: dogmatic opposition to those who are dogmatic. Hence, beliefs which were once widely-held such as the authority of the Bible, original sin, redemption through Christ alone, even God’s sovereign right to judge His creation, are in question, if not under attack, within certain groups of people who claim the name of Christ.

Interestingly, the Bible commands us to be dogmatic—at least that’s how I characterize the “stand firm” passages in the New Testament. Paul says “stand firm” to the Corinthian church, three times to the Ephesians, a couple times to the Thessalonians, and once to the Philippians. Peter said it too.

In these verses we’re told to stand firm in the faith, in the Lord (twice), and in the grace of God. Once we’re told to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Another time the idea expanded:

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us
– 1 Thess 2:15

Hold to the traditions the first century apostles taught—the ones we know of because they are written down for us in the Bible. But holding to traditions is what gets people labeled dogmatic, especially in a day when change seems to rule life.

Maybe it’s time for Christians to stop blushing or dodging when someone hurls “dogmatic” at us as an invective. Maybe it’s time to answer, You got that right. I am standing firm, just like my Commanding Officer told me to.

Ah, but there’s another problem for Christians—all this warfare imagery in Scripture. Couple that with the Christian’s claim at exclusivity, and we are labeled as hate-filled because we aren’t amenable to everyone else’s religion.

The key here, I believe, is for Christians to be dogmatic about the right things. We are to be dogmatic about who Jesus is, about God’s nature, Man’s sin and need for reconciliation with God, salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ at the cross, our opposition to Satan, the authority of Scripture, Christ’s soon return.

No question, being dogmatic separates us from our culture—just as being light separates us from darkness, being salt separates us from that which is flavorless.

You see, dogmatic—that is, standing firm even when the wind and waves come—isn’t all that different from faith. Neither one depends on what we can see, and both can get us through the pressures of life.

This post, minus some revision, first appeared here in September 2010.

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Published in: on September 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm  Comments (14)  
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14 Comments

  1. “dogmatic opposition to those who are dogmatic”

    What a great quote. In today’s “tolerant” world that means tolerance of anything except a person who thinks they are right, namely those who believe the Bible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. It makes sense for those opposed to exclusive claims of right and wrong—until you realize they are making an exclusive claim of right and wrong! 😉

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

      • But you can’t convince folks of that, Becky. Just like people can be intolerant towards Christianity and never see if for that. Crazy

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This post goes hand in hand with your other post with the video about Freedom From Speech. I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This reminds me of the oft heard phrase of being “open minded.” What people really mean is that they want us to be open to anything and everything that is contrary to God’s word.

    But when was the last time you heard someone in the media or popular culture suggest we should be open minded to the idea that homosexuality may be wrong, and this whole same-sex marriage thing may not be a good idea? Don’t hold your breath waiting on that.

    There is a full scale propaganda war that is being perpetrated on the American public through Hollywood, the media, and just about every mouthpiece that is out there. They want to re-define terms and re-cast every argument so that liberal thought is viewed as loving, open, tolerant, etc. and any ideas of moral absolutes based on Biblical teaching is cast as hateful, bigoted, and closed-minded.

    So far they’re doing a great job with this, and we need more Christians who know what the word of God says and can stand on it both in their private lives and in the public square.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true, Walter. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

      Becky

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  6. […] View the original post on A Christian Worldview of Fiction […]

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  7. It kind of goes along with the saying, “you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

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    • That’s putting it in a nutshell, Elihu! We forget these stock phrases, perhaps because we’ve heard them so often, but more times than not, they say what needs to be said—which is why they’ve been repeated so often. Thank you for bringing that one to mind.

      Becky

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  8. Hi Rebecca, this is a good post. I posted a comment before, but it’s not showing.

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    • I’m sorry, Ufuoma. I checked the spam folder and it’s not there. So disappointed. I appreciate you taking the time. Wish I could have read what you had to say.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person


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