Monday, May 15, 2006

Are You Dogmatic?

We live today in an age that would be defined as “tolerant”. It is an age of supposed open-mindedness in which various worldviews are viewed as on par with each other, each one supposedly as true as the next. Or so goes the theory. The problem with those who hold such a “tolerant” view is that most are not truly tolerant of those views that are in opposition to their own. In fact, the word “tolerant”, or “tolerate”, has changed considerably in definition to when even I was a child 25 years ago. To my mom and dad, to be tolerant meant that they were only going to put up with so much of my junk until the spanking came. It meant that their patience was being tried, and punishment would soon be coming. My, how that word has been redefined nowadays.

Today, I was listening to a message preached by Pastor Tim Dilena of Revival Tabernacle Church. He spoke about living and dying for Christ, and that either option is a good one. Whether we are living in our bodies here, able to preach the Gospel, or whether it is our time to die and be with Christ, it is a good thing, as the apostle Paul said in Phil. 1:21-24. But in this message, he made this statement: “The spirit of this age is unfriendly to dogmatic theology”. I can tell already that for some readers, the sirens in your mind started blaring just from reading that word, “dogmatic”. That word has had so much negative junk attached to it that it isn’t even funny. What does the word mean? I like how Pastor Tim defines it: “To believe in principles that are incontrovertibly true”. In other words, there is no use fighting it, this thing is true. Hot is always hot, and cold is always cold. Up is always up, and down is always down. It is also defined as "something held as an established opinion". I guess it could even be said that those who are opposed to anything dogmatic, are themselves quite dogmatic in their viewpoint!

Those today that are the most intolerant are those claiming that they are tolerant. They are tolerant up to the point that someone is claims their viewpoint is wrong. They are intolerant of dogmatic people that believe in absolute truth, and believe in an absolute God with holy standards who will one day judge every person that has ever walked on the face of this planet. So, am I a dogmatic person? You bet I am! I have to be dogmatic in what I know to be true. I have to be dogmatic in knowing that Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords that will one day judge this world. I am firm in my convictions that he came to this earth, from the glory of heaven to the stench of a stable to grow up in abject poverty and face a rugged cross for my sins and yours! I’m adamant and unyielding about my belief that no one can make heaven without him! I won’t budge from my position that he was God in the flesh, and proved it by miracles seen by eyewitnesses and disproved by no one! I am absolutely convinced that he topped it all off by raising from the dead on the third day after the cross, and his subsequent ascension 40 days later. Yes, I am dogmatic about what I know to be true!

Even those who would be offended by what I have written here have things that they are dogmatic about. Who wouldn’t dogmatically exclaim to their little child that to touch a burning stove will result in a burn? Who would say that to play on the stairs can mean a painful tumble down? We don’t have a problem being dogmatic, friends. The question is, what are you dogmatic about?

Are there some things I just don’t know? Sure. I can’t explain God’s existence from eternity past. I can’t explain how God has always been around. I can’t explain how the blood that Christ shed on that cross 2,000 years ago is sufficient to cleanse the sins of humanity. I can’t explain the Trinity. But, friends, when it comes to the things I know and am certain of, I can’t be silent.

Pastor Tim quoted a verse from the Old Testament that really speaks to this topic today. Here it is:

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” -Deut. 29:29

In other words, there are things that only God knows, and we must leave those things to him. But the stuff that he has revealed to us, they are ours, and must hold to them. Again, I will declare those things that I know to be true. May God bless you today!


Neil said...

I think there must be some things that we are dogmatic about. There is an attitude in our world that says nothing is absolute, it is even emerging in the church everything we have always believed and taught is wrong...nothing absolute so we cannot be dogmatic. There must be some absolutes and we must be dogmatic about them. I understand progressive revelation, that we see through a glass darkly and walk in a daily revelation, but I also believe that there are some things that are crystal clear, absolute and we cannot afford to not be dogmatic about it!

Henry Haney said...

Jeff, I cannot believe you are so dogmatic! How can you be so narrow-minded and intolerant about what you believe??????

Only kidding of course!!!!

You're so right...I always laugh when I see the hypocrisy of the "tolerant" when they display intolerance.