“There is virtue in narrowness. A river spread over a marsh may be lovely to look at, and Sidney Lanier may write exquisite poetry about it, but if that river is to generate power it must be narrowed into a dam. We have spread out all over the place in our church life. We have sacrificed depth for width, and instead of a power dam, we have too often a stagnant swamp.” (Vance Havner)
Tag Archives: dogmatism
In The World According to God, Greg Johnson writes: “Today it’s not unthinkable that an Evangelical scholar might say something like this: ‘For me personally, from my limited perspective, I think it would appear to me, if I’m not mistaken about this, that there’s one primary Savior in the Bible, at least according to my faith tradition, within my circle of meaning, assuming a pre-modern metanarrative in a faith-based discourse, as we tend to do, I think.’”
Johnson responds: “WEASEL! There’s a difference between being aware of your limitations and being a coward. We used to say, ‘Jesus is the only Savior.’ It’s a clear, concise statement, powerful in its simplicity. Besides, GOD says so!”
Aren’t you glad God listens to “sinners”? The Pharisees were caught on the horns of their own dilemma. They were convinced that Jesus was a “sinner” in the sense that He could not be the Promised Messiah of God. He had violated the Sabbath as well as stood up to God’s religious authorities, the Pharisees.
But they had, standing before them, an honest-to-goodness miracle. A man who had been born blind looking at them. (I wonder what kind of look he was giving them?). They could not explain this miracle away. They couldn’t get the parents to give information that would help them explain this away. And they were growing more and more frustrated by the second.
Then they get a lecture! From the second half of their dilemma. And he is not reluctant to dogmatize! “We know God doesn’t listen to sinners!” “We know He listens to the godly person who does His will!” Lumping himself together with the Pharisees appears to have been the ultimate insult.
And then he dogmatizes further: “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” Those were the last words he spoke to these Pharisees.
Dogmatism has a way of either convincing the opposing party or inciting them.
And these opponents (who already had smoke coming out of their ears and flames coming out of their eyes from the man born blind’s question “Do you want to become His disciples too?”) had reached the end.
“You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And then they threw him out of the synagogue. Out of the center of Jewish social and religious life. Out into the world. Out into the judgment of God. (to be continued)