Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dogma inhibits faith

Because people become obsessed with dogma and weak in faith.
To quote Paul Tillich, “Doubt is not the antithesis of faith.  Doubt is an essential element of faith.  Without doubt there is no faith, there is only dogma.”  That describes a living faith, and is the opposite of an entropic religion.

The Westminster Confession Of Faith

Chapter XXII Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

[6.108] 1. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law; and in their being delivered from the present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love, and a willing mind. All which were common also to believers under the law; but under the New Testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected; and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in [PCUS fuller] [UPCUSA full] communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.
[6.109] 2. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to his Word, or beside it in matters of faith on worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commandments out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.
[6.110] 3. They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

[6.111] 4. And because the powers which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. And for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation; or to the power of godliness; or such erroneous opinions or practices as, either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established in the church: they may be lawfully called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the Church.


Once upon a time, long ago and far away, on the outskirts of a crowd gathered to hear a great teacher speak, two men fell into conversation with each other. “I can’t hear what he is saying, but I know that he is a miracle worker, and that the hand of God is upon him,” said the first man. The second man responded enthusiastically, “I know you speak the truth, for I once was blind, but now I see. He cured my blindness!” The first man exclaimed, “Really!” and launched into a detailed explanation of how he too had been cured of blindness by the same holy man. Both men were excited and animated in telling their versions of how they had been cured of blindness.

It soon became obvious that the men were in disagreement about the nature of the miracle worker’s technique. One man insisted that his blindness had been cured when the holy man gathered some soil from the ground which was mixed with saliva and formed into some sort of mud pack, and then placed upon the man’s eyes. The other man was equally adamant that no mud had been used at all, and that the miracle had occurred when the holy man placed his hands on him and simply declared him healed. Thus began the first theological split in Christianity, between the Muddites and the Non-muddites.

The two men gathered about them those who agreed with their particular version and the two groups began to say terrible things about each other. Both groups were convinced that God was on their side and that Satan inspired the other group. Soon there were suspicious plots, dirty tricks, political power plays, and on one occasion an actual fist fight. Many of the people who claim to follow Jesus have been living that way ever since
The moral to the story:

Love cures blindness. Dogma can cause blindness.

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