I was thinking today about the section in Jerry Bridges book, “Respectable Sins” in which he is dealing with pride as a sin that we tolerate and excuse in our lives. He says,

…the assumption that whatever my doctrinal beliefs are, they are correct, and anyone who holds another belief is theologically inferior.” (p.92)

I think it is a great statement that needs to be made in light of our present situation in Christendom. We all can be guilty of this sin of pride, whether we are dispensational or covenant theology or calvinist or arminian. What struck me as I thought about this subtle sin, is that we somehow justify our attitudes, words or actions in the name of Christ or His Word. When we say that we have cornered the market on a certain doctrinal belief, we are actually saying that we are Spiritually superior.

Now, by no means do I condone not being passionate about our convictions from Scripture. But my point, along with Bridges, is that we need to hold to those beliefs with an attitude of humility. Bridges brings out the passage in 1 Corinthians 8:1 as a support of how we sometimes allow our doctrinal stances to turn into sin. “Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that all of us possess knowledge. This knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor. 8:1, ESV) Bridges writes, “Paul agreed with their ‘knowledge’ — that is, their doctrinal belief regarding eating food offered to idols — but he charges them with doctrinal pride. Their ‘knowledge’ had puffed them up” (p.92)

I have just recently been in a conversation with a believer who was very upset with those that hold to post-tribulational view of end times. He was so disgusted with this view that he was sharing how he couldn’t see how he could even be a friend to those that hold to that belief. He was choosing isolation over friendship because of his doctrinal pride. The issue is not the belief, but the attitude in which we deal with the differences that we have. Maybe we don’t have anyone right now in our circle of friends (or acquaintances) that differ from our belief system, but we will someday.

My hearts desire is to hold to my doctrinal beliefs with passion and zeal; but also to hold to them with genuine humility that honors the name of Jesus Christ.

-jeff

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