Monday, November 14, 2005

Knowledge Puffs Up

Dogmatic - characterized by an authoritative, arrogant assertion of unproved or unprovable principles.

As believers, most of us can agree on the essentials. However, much of our theology and doctrine falls into the category of unprovable principles. Based on our current study and understanding of Scripture, we form theologies that we live by. These theologies change, at least slightly, as our understanding of God grows.

1 Corinthians 13:9
"For we know in part..."

It doesn't seem wise or loving to attack brothers and sisters in Christ with slanderous generalized accusations of heresy and rebellion. It is arrogant and presumptuous to claim to know the hearts of men when God's word tells us that He alone knows what is in the heart of a man.

I have friends and family in many different streams of Christianity. While I may not agree 100 percent with their doctrine, I can certainly respect the sincerity of their love for God. Why would I want to attack their belief system?

I Cor. 8:1-2
"We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know."

The most dangerous Christians I know are those who arrogantly believe their own beliefs are ultimately right, without exception. At that point, I believe that spiritual pride, a religious spirit, and spiritual blindness set in because there is no longer the wisdom or humility to be teachable.

1 Corinthians 13:2
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

Love trumps knowledge!

John 14:34-35
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

I think that knowledge is important, but without the spirit of God, it is death. Truth that is rooted in the knowledge of God is filled with life and wisdom. It produces the fruit of love.

It surprises me how easy it is to recognize the spirit of life, love, and Jesus in peoples' words written on the internet.

Robbymac in his article People of The Spark talks about recognizing the Spirit of God in our brothers and sisters in Christ:

"It just seems like some people have that "spark" within in them, and you can't help but notice it. Sometimes they're quite theologically astute, and sometimes not, but either way, you just knew that they "had been with Jesus" in a way that was encouraging, refreshing, and challenging all at the same time."

For those who have fallen into the trap of believing that they have cornered the market on truth to the point of being willing to viciously attack Christians who disagree with them, I pray they will receive a deeper revelation of the knowledge of God, that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened.

Ephesians 1:17
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better."


David Cho said...


The most dangerous Christians I know are those who arrogantly believe their own beliefs are ultimately right

I don't dispute that there are Christians with that attitude, but a subtle variation of that are Christians who think their ways are the BEST which is a bit different from accusing others of outright heresy. Guilty as charged.

ScottB said...

This was refreshing to read after making the rounds of the blogosphere tonight. Thanks - I needed it. ;)

grace said...

David, I agree. Been there, done that.

Thanks scott, interesting mess, isn't it.

Hugo said...

I'm reguraly reading your post and I enjoy it so much.
I like what you wrote because there're americans can realize about the arrogance of some religious systems. After suffering spiritual abuse from a church whose leaders brag about the knowledge that got from the best Seminary at the "oil state", I can say I'm agree with about you wrote.
Unfortunatly this is the image that US project to the world by their governants. And unfortunatly many Christians leaders or churchs are characterized for being authoritative and arrogant.Sometimes we don't know what is more important for them if their political party or their Heaven's citizenship.

grace said...

I think that for Christians and Americans we have much to learn about the value of humility in spreading the gospel.

Natasha said...

I agree with you that we need to balance (and really overwhelm) love with knowledge, but I also think that this does not mean guarding against heresy. This is not because we want to decide "who's in and who's out" but because a truncated gospel is dangerous and heresy has real world implications. Take for example Marcion who believed that the Old Testament God was a lesser God than the New Testament. Although it is perhaps too far to say this heresy was the direct cause of Auschwitz, it did inspire much Anti-Semetic thought. Or gnosticism which denies the importance of the body. etc. etc. I do want to be encouraging though and I totally agree with you about spiritual pride. It is really such a perversion. Well, keep fighting the good fight sister!

Natasha said...

ooops. I meant overwhelm knowledge with love. My badness!