Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Delighting in Dogma

The word dogma has gotten a bad rap over the last few years. It has come to mean something that is cold, dead and dull. Dogmatic has come to mean someone who will not change or accept others or in some cases to describe someone who is unreasonable in their beliefs. This is unfortunate. Dogma simply means religious beliefs. Basically, it means the same thing as doctrine or teaching. Christian dogma or doctrine is nothing more than the beliefs that make up the Christian faith. Christianity is a doctrinal or a dogmatic faith.

This means that simply claiming to be Christian does not make one a Christian. Feeling like one is a Christian is not enough. Dogma is the objective truth that defines what a Christian is. Simply using Christian terminology does not make one a Christian. If Dogma defines Christianity, than where do we get it from? What is the source of doctrine or belief for the Christian? Certainly not my feelings or personal impression of how I think things are. The Bible tells us that the heart is wicked and will decieve us.

All dogma (Christian dogma) has Scripture for it's source. Not one of its sources, not even the primary source, but THE source. For instance, many people claim to believe in Jesus Christ. For some He is a great prophet who taught timeless life lessons concerning this great spiritual journey of life. Others claim that he was the greatest of all God's creations. Some even claim that he is one of many, many gods who populate the cosmos. Recently I read an article that claimed that Christ is within each of us. He is love and love is eternal. The problem is that none of these views of Christ are Christian.

The Bible paints an awe inspiring picture of Christ. He is eternal, without beginning or end. He is the second person of the Trinity. He has always existed in perfect fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He died on the cross for our sins. He arose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father. He rules and reigns over the universe and will one day set all of his enemies under his feet and we will reign with Him. To present Christ as anything less than the everlasting God is to present a false Christ. To claim that he is one of many gods is idolatry. Dogma guards the purity of the Christian faith.

Here is another example. I read an article recently that claimed that God the Father exists in a flesh and blood body. When I read this, I have to admit I laughed out loud. John 4 is pretty clear. "God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship him in Spirit and truth." To claim that the Father is confined by a flesh and blood body is contrary to Scripture and unchristian.

As believers Dogma must be our delight. it is life and health. Read what Dorothy Sayers writes.
"We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist on too much upon doctrine - dull dogma they call it. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that staggered the imagination of man - and the dogma is the drama.

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