Monday, October 05, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

Let God's curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. - Galatians 1:8

I learned in seminary that there is a difference between doctrine and dogma.  Doctrine is the varying beliefs within theology.  Dogma is the essential core beliefs that one must maintain to claim to be a part of that religion.  In other words, doctrine is what we think about theology, thoughts that can differ between people, while dogma must be held to be true for one to claim to be a Christian.  

An example of doctrine would be how one is baptized.  Some believe that a person must be baptized by submersion, while others say that you can sprinkle water over the individual being baptized.  The way one is baptized will not keep that person out of Heaven (at least I've not seen that specifically stated in the Bible).  An example of dogma is the belief that Jesus died and was resurrected three days later.  If you call yourself a Christian but do not believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world and was resurrected then you are a Christian in name only.  It would be like me calling myself a rock.  It don't make it so.

I like to say that dogma can be found in what many of us Christians call "The Apostles Creed"

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
  maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
  and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father
from thence he shall come to judge the quick  
    and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
  the holy catholic (or universal) church
  the communion of saints,
  the forgiveness of sins,
  the resurrection of the body,
  and the life everlasting.  Amen.

Paul, in Galatians is getting on to them because they have listened to those who've come behind him and distorted the Gospel that he taught them about Jesus.  They didn't come to argue doctrine (non-essentials to salvation).  They came to argue dogma.  Their teaching was that the new believers must be held accountable to the Law of Moses and be circumcised for salvation.  Paul knows that God is very much displeased with this and calls down a curse upon them or any other person who tries to place added requirements for being saved.  Paul makes it clear that the one and only way to have an eternal life is to place our faith in Jesus.  That's it. Allow Him to come in to you and you will have the gift God has for you, which is that relationship with Him.  

We in the Church fight over doctrine.  And that is sad.  We must agree to disagree on certain things we can't come together on that doesn't affect one's salvation.  Yet we must stand firm when it comes to believing in Jesus as the one and only way to eternal life.

In the love of Christ,



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