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Dogmatism is defined as “the expression of an opinion or belief as if it were a fact : an assertion of opinion especially when unwarranted or arrogant.” We see plenty of dogmatism in our culture, but unfortunately, we also see it among Christians. So many divisions, arguments, confusion and hurt happen over people being dogmatic about what they believe and casting direct or indirect judgments on those who disagree. It is easy to call someone else dogmatic, and a lot harder to see it in yourself. I want to talk about why this is and discuss what the root of dogmatism is, what the Bible has to say about it, and ways that we can guard against it.

So, where does a dogmatic attitude come from? What is sinful about dogmatism?

It is not something that forms on its own. If someone is dogmatic, there is something that is rooted in their heart. Just like most actions, dogmatism is simply the result of something much deeper and more serious.

Dogmatism is an outflowing of a self-righteous and prideful heart.

The Bible may not specifically speak about dogmatism, but it does speak about pride. This is because dogmatism is a result of pride. It is what naturally flows from a heart that is self-righteous.

Proverbs 6 tells us about some sins that the Lord hates. A haughty spirit is number one on the list. What is it about pride that God hates? Why does the Bible warn so heavily against pride?

I have often heard that the Lord hates pride because when a man is prideful, he is exalting himself over God. While I do believe that is true, this explanation is very vague and does not get to the real issue. I think there is something deeper that reveals why pride is so dangerous and why one who is “arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 16:5).

During His ministry on Earth, Jesus received great opposition from the Pharisees. To the society around them, the Pharisees seemed to be very righteous and near to God. However, the One who knew their hearts saw the truth:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

The Pharisees thought themselves to be righteous, but on the inside, their hearts were dark. They could not believe that Jesus would dine with, teach, and save sinners. However, this is why Jesus came. In Luke 5, Jesus commands a tax collector named Matthew (or Levi) to follow Him. Matthew immediately drops everything and obeys. When Jesus goes to his house and dines with Matthew and other tax collectors, the Pharisees grumble and scoff at Him. But Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31).

The Pharisees were blind to their own sin. They could not see how wretched they really were. In attempts to make themselves feel more righteous than others, they created extra-Biblical commands and expected everyone else to follow them. Their self-righteousness and pride led them to dogmatism. They became calloused to the weight of their own sin and could only see the sin of others.

This is the danger of pride. Someone who is prideful cannot see their sin and their need for repentance. This pride can very easily and quickly lead to dogmatism. An inability to see the sin in your heart as well as an arrogant attitude toward your own beliefs can not only hurt your relationship with God, but also cripple your witness to others.

But until we truly humble ourselves and ask God to reveal the hidden sin in our hearts,

we won’t see it.

That is what is so dangerous.

You can have sin in your heart that you do not see and cannot see because of your pride.

Even those who want so badly to positively influence others can ruin their witness because of their pride.

This is why God hates it and why He “resists the proud” (1 Peter 5:5).

So how do we fight against pride and dogmatism if we may not be able to see it?

Here are some helpful steps that I believe are imperative in guarding our hearts from the sin of pride and from becoming dogmatic in our own beliefs.

1) Pray the prayer of King David and ask the Lord to search your heart and try your ways.

Our hearts have a bent toward sin, which is why, even as believers, we must constantly be asking the Lord to reveal any sin that is in our hearts and to give us the strength to deny ourselves and our sin.

2) Be willing to make a change if what you believe contradicts Truth that you are met with, no matter the cost.

Whether the Lord reveals sin in your heart or beliefs that are wrong or misguided, you must be willing to lay them down and to change, even if it costs you heavily. Maybe your family won’t understand. Maybe people will falsely accuse you. But rest assured in the fact that you are obeying the Lord and that He will be with you.

3) Realize that you are not always right about everything.

It is really easy to believe that your opinions about certain things are correct. This is not necessarily a bad thing. We wouldn’t have a certain opinion about something if we believed it to be false. However, it is so important to maintain a humble spirit and realize that even something you hold fast to may not be completely accurate.

4) Read and listen to other opinions to help you become well-rounded in your beliefs and sensitive to other perspectives.

This is so important, but it also takes discernment. Work on developing the skill of being able to read or listen to something and glean truth, while also being able to detect falsehood. We should always test what we hear or read with Scripture. In doing this, we may actually realize that something we have always believed is actually not based in Scripture, and we may need to change our perspective.

5) Know the difference between doctrinal issues and areas where we have Christian liberty.

There are certain things such as the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the sinfulness of man, that we should not waver on. However, there are also areas in which we have liberty to disagree and not judge each other. Topics such as spiritual gifts, end times, family dynamics (such as women working outside the home, where children should be schooled, who does what in the household, etc.) are matters in which believers should be able to disagree and still live in harmony with one another without fear of judgment.

Dogmatism is very damaging. It can hurt relationships and stunt spiritual growth. And what is most dangerous about it is that it is usually hard to detect in your own life. The root of it is pride, which is a sin that the Lord hates. We must take this sin seriously and constantly be asking the Lord to show us areas in which we have become prideful so that we can be diligent in the fight against it. And we can rest in the promise that Scripture gives that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

  • Haley Maddox

Helper was the first word used to describe woman in the Bible, and it was used by God, Himself, when He decided to create her (Genesis 2:18). While many try and distort its meaning or ignore it all together, it is of vital importance that we understand what woman’s God-given role is meant to be.

The term helper has taken on meanings that are not Biblical. We always hear the phrase “equal in value, different in roles.” Although this is true, it seems the role of helper is looked at in a weak or insignificant light. Even some who agree that women have equal value in terms of salvation still look at the woman’s role of helper as someone who may not know everything the head does, but will blindly follow wherever he leads, ready to give assistance if and when it is needed.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of false teaching when it comes to this term. In her book Created to be His Helpmeet, Debi Pearl teaches young wives that “God’s ultimate goal is for [them] to meet [their] man’s needs” and that “God’s original intention was that a woman would spend her life helping her husband fulfill his dreams and ambitions" (page 173 of the 10th edition).

Is this really the type of help that God had in mind when he created woman?

In Genesis, after God made Adam, he said “It is not good that man should live alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The Hebrew word used here is ezer meaning help, succor, or aid. This word is used 21 times in the Old Testament, and it is most often used to describe God in His relationship to His people:

“There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty” (Deuteronomy 33:26).

“Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).

The type of help found in these verses is not something that is available to be used only if desired. On the contrary, it is vital, it is strong, it is useful and it is intentional.

In one of his lectures, theologian John McKinley says the best definition of ezer is “necessary ally.” He states, “God is the ultimate ezer to all people in need, but woman is God’s provision of a necessary ally to men for the good of both and all people that depend on their synergy.” In order to further explain this, McKinley gives examples from Scripture of women being not only allies but also enemies to men and we see the vitality of woman as helper from both.

Going back to the first relationship between man and woman, we see that Eve fails in her role as helper to Adam. Instead of encouraging Adam to obey God’s command and help turn him away from sin, she gives into her own sinful desire and influences her husband to do the same. Warning men to turn away from evil as well as fighting against evil are two ways McKinley says women should be allies to men.

While Eve did not fulfill her role well, we see a great example in Abigail who Scripture calls an “intelligent and beautiful woman” (1 Samuel 25:3). Abigail was married to a man named Nabal who was a fool. Nabal dishonored King David and in his rash anger and revengeful spirit, David took four hundred men with him and intended to slaughter Nabal’s household. Abigail heard of this and went out to meet the king before he arrived. She humbly pleaded with him to forgive her husband and to remember the promises of God to David. She also wisely warned him that if he went through with this he would “have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed” (vs 31). David heeded Abigail’s advice and said “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgement and for keeping me from bloodshed on this day” (vs 32-33). And he confessed that, “if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak” (vs 34).

What an impact Abigail made by being a necessary ally to both Nabal and King David. Had it not have been for Abigail’s wisdom and discernment, Nabal and his household would have been killed (God does kill Nabal later because of his sin [vs. 38]) and David would have had innocent blood on his hands. Abigail fulfilled her God-given role as an ezer by giving wise and constructive counsel. This is another way McKinley encourages women to act as necessary allies to their husbands and even other Godly men in their lives.

While it is irrefutable that the Bible teaches that the office of pastor/elder is to be held by God-fearing men (Titus 1:5-10), this does not mean that women cannot declare the truth of God or give Godly counsel to both men and women. We see in the New Testament that a woman named Priscilla, along with her husband, Aquila, gave counsel and correction to a man who was teaching in the synagogues (Acts 18:24-26). We also know that women prophesied (spoke forth or declared what God said) at different times in the early church (Acts 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11; Luke 2:36).

When we take the Biblical mandate of men holding pastoral roles in the church to mean that women cannot influence and give guidance to men, we are doing harm to both genders. All members of the body benefit from exhorting one another (Hebrews 10:24) and encouraging one another in our fight against sin (Hebrews 3:13).

Another way women are necessary allies to men is in ministry, and not just with tending to children and preparing the food. In Romans 16, Paul mentions at least ten women who are an important part of his ministry. He commends Phoebe who was a deaconess at the church in Cenchreae. He makes mention of Priscilla, Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis who were all women who “worked very hard in the Lord.” He exhorts the church to greet Junia who had even been in prison with Paul. These women were not behind the scenes doing things we would consider “feminine.” They were joining the men on the front lines battling against the enemy and furthering the Gospel of Christ. They were vital to the spread of the early church.

Of course, we should not look down on the responsibilities and blessings of women nurturing children and preparing meals for others or think them to be trivial. These are wonderful forms of service that are important. However, reducing a woman’s contribution to just this is to take away important aspects of what she is called to be as a follower of Christ.

When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them a mission: “to be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Eve was essential to this mission and not just because she was necessary to bare children. While that is a beautiful and amazing part of a woman’s role, it does not end there. They were to work together to spread the image of God throughout the world and make His name known. This is what a woman’s role as helper and her life’s goal should be. It is not to help fulfill whatever her husband’s hopes and dreams are, but to help him as they work together to magnify the name of the Lord.

After the fall, they were both banished from the perfection of the garden and sent into the harsh and cursed world. It became all the more important for the man and woman to work together, with God as their guide, fighting against evil. They were still to fulfill God’s command and mission for them.

When we water down a woman’s role as helper and see it as nothing more than occasional assistance when called on, we are hurting not only women, but also men, families and the church. We need each other to help sharpen, guide, teach, call out and encourage us to strive to be made more into the image of God, who is to all, the holy, righteous, all-powerful and ever present ezer.

Updated: Sep 17

Taking verses out of context is something we are all guilty of. However, knowing the context of Scripture verses or passages is essential to our understanding of the Word. When we do not understand or use verses correctly, we are missing the glorious and true meaning of God’s wisdom. Some verses that are taken out of context and misused have more consequences than others, such as leading to complete heresies or cults, but it is never wise or edifying to use Scripture in a way in which it was not intended.

Here are four verses I have frequently heard misused or taken out of context:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

This verse is commonly used to support the belief that God has promised to heal sicknesses, diseases, etc., if we put our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. However, this is not the correct interpretation of this verse. When we read the entire passage from Isaiah, we see that this was a prophecy about the crucifixion. He foretells the suffering of Christ in both His living and dying and says that it was our transgressions and iniquities that put Him on the cross. Christ was the perfect and spotless Lamb whose blood atoned for our sins, and it is by His wounds that we are healed from the consequence of sin, which is eternal death and condemnation (Romans 6:23). However, we know that we live in a fallen world that is under a curse (Genesis 3; Romans 8:22), and that, until Christ returns, we will experience suffering and trials. We will experience pain, sickness, and eventually, death. We will grieve, but Paul reminds us that we do not grieve as those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Our unwavering hope is in Christ’s return and knowing that when He comes back, He will restore all of creation and we will live in eternity where His peace reigns. There will be no sickness, no pain, and no death. But, until then, while we live here on the earth, we will go through struggles and trials, and we have the blessing of growing more into the image of Christ through them, as well as pointing others to the same God in which our hope lies.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1

This is one that is severely misused by believers and nonbelievers. It usually gets thrown around when people are offended that someone would call something they say or do wrong. Our culture and many in the church constantly promote the message that judging is wrong (which is a judgment by the way), and somehow, making statements like "Only God can judge me" make them feel better. While it is true that end judgment lies only in the hands of the good and holy God, this should not make someone who is living a life opposed to His Truth feel comfort. One issue is the belief that God turns a blind eye to sin and is not going to bring fiery judgment on those who reject Him. However, Revelation reveals something different. Another issue is that people believe morality is subjective and, therefore, saying that something is wrong is seen as hateful. In our postmodern culture, we are told to do whatever makes us happy regardless of the consequences. Our society promotes selfish ambition and rejects the idea of an absolute moral law, as well as just and righteous judgements. This brings me to my next point. The Bible doesn’t just say “don’t judge.” Even with this verse, if we read further, we see what Jesus was really teaching. Scripture goes on, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (vs. 2-3). If we look at this verse in context, we see that Christ was warning against hypocrisy and wrong judgments. He is teaching us that before we call out a brother’s sin, we must first examine our own hearts. We are to be careful with how we judge because we will be judged in the same way. He echoes this in John 7:24 when He says, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Christians are supposed to judge, but we are to do so righteously and not by superficial human standards.

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

This verse is often used in reference to Christians gathering together for a church service or prayer to assure them that when they are gathered, God is there with them. While this is definitely true, it is important to not lead people to believe that God is not with them when they are alone or that He somehow hears prayers better when there are multiple people praying. But, the biggest problem is that this verse is not referring to Christians being together in worship. It is referring to how we are to deal with a brother or sister who is in sin. A few verses before verse 20, Jesus says, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’” (Matthew 18:15-16). Here, Jesus is actually referring back to the Old Testament law concerning sin and how conflicts were to be dealt with. The verse in Deuteronomy says, “One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:15). So, we see that this verse is not referring to the gathering of Christians to worship or pray like many may think, but it is giving us wisdom on how to bring reconciliation between brothers and sisters in Christ.

“God will not give you more than you can handle.”

I can’t even add a reference to this because it is so badly reworded and misinterpreted. But, the statement comes from Matthew 7:1-3 which says “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” With very little study, we see that this verse is talking about temptation and fleeing from sin. As Christians, we have the ability to escape temptation by obeying the Word of God and by living by the Spirit.

Taking Scripture verses out of context is very dangerous. Even though it may seem harmless at times, we must be careful that we do not misuse the Word of God. It is imperative that we view the Bible as God’s inerrant words written to reveal to us who He is and how we are to live. If we truly believe that Scripture is “God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), then we will be careful not to twist, change, misinterpret or misuse it. We will be diligent in our study of the Bible so that we can understand it correctly and use it to properly edify ourselves, our families and the church.