The Meaning of Dogmatism and Doctrine

I believe that of all men Jesus was the most dogmatic. Having said that, let’s make sure we understand the meaning of dogmatism. The word “dogma” means “strict doctrine.” The word “dogmatic” means

  1. of a dogma
  2. positive in stating an opinion and
  3. arrogant

When speaking of Christ’s dogmatism, we can disregard the third definition because Christ was never arrogant. The word “arrogant” means “proud,” and the Bible says that God resist the proud (James 4:6). And we know that God never resisted Christ, who was known as the meek and lowly Jesus (Matt. 11:29).

The other two definitions of dogma, however, were true of Jesus throughout His entire ministry on earth. He proclaimed strict doctrine or the true doctrine of God. And He was positive in stating the word that God had given Him to preach.

The word “doctrine” means “a body of teachings of a religious, political or philosophical group” and a “principle or body of principles that is taught or advocated.” From the New Testament we learn that a doctrine can be one item of Christian teaching, such as justification, or all of the doctrines in the doctrinal structure of New Testament Christianity. That structure is sometimes called “the faith,” such as Jude called it when he exhorted believers that they should “earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

– Robert E. McNeill, Christ’s Dogmatism