First in Chapter 13 John is relating a time when Jesus had gathered together His disciples in preparation for the Passover Feast and while sitting in the upper room predicted His betrayal. after dumping that load of bad news John begins Chapter 14:1-6 with some good news of comfort, that He must be betrayed and go to prepare a place for them and all that will follow. It is the final verse that has caused so must controversy over the years. Can Jesus really be that dogmatic?
What Dogma and being Dogmatic means has changed greatly since the time of Jesus. So let us see some definitions:
DOGMA, n. [Gr., to think; L.] A settled opinion; a principle, maxim or tenet; a doctrinal notion, particularly in matters of faith and philosophy; as the dogmas of the church; the dogmas of Plato.
Dogma is something that is considered a principle or better put a known and accepted fundamental truth.
1. Pertaining to a dogma, or to settled opinion.2. Positive; magisterial; asserting or disposed to assert with authority or with overbearing and arrogance; applied to persons; as a dogmatic school man or philosopher.3. Positive; asserted with authority; authoritative; as a dogmatical opinion.4. Arrogant; overbearing in asserting and maintaining opinions.
A google search also found the following which I think most people today believe:
To be dogmatic is to follow a set of rules no matter what. The rules might be religious, philosophical, or made-up, but dogmatic people would never waver in their beliefs so don’t even think of trying to change their minds.
So what is the issue or difference between these definitions and or text if any? Let me break it down:
In response to Thomas’s question, ‘about not knowing the way’, v.5 Jesus responds with:
Jesus said to him, – Note that although the answer is directed to Thomas it is intended for all to hear as evident by John’s relating it here.
“I am the way, – Thomas asked ‘how are we to know the way’ Jesus responds I am the only way you need to be concerned about. All you past paths in life are of no consequence any longer Luke 14:25-33, there is a real cost to discipleship.
and the truth, – If that was not enough to tick folks off He goes on to say He is the only complete truth, to be found on earth. He is without sin, without error and therefor is to be trusted above all else.
and the life. – Jesus is reminding them that the only means of rebirth John 3:1-21 the only means to life eternal comes from Him. This is very dogmatic in it’s pronouncement, Jesus is clearly saying there is NO OTHER WAY!
No one comes to the Father except through me. – Adding exclamation to what has been made clear. You want to get to heaven, you must go through ME. No exceptions, no waivers, no free passes.
You are probably wonder what in the world does this have to do with the military, I am glad you asked. Military leadership is a lot like Jesus, okay I better explain that quick :).
Good military leaders are dogmatic in their duties ; they carry out orders insuring that those orders are lawful, clearly understood by all, and the service members under them (disciples) know for certain who’s the boss. In the Army it was the Commanders way or the highway (UCMJ and Leavenworth). Sure sometimes we questioned the Why were we doing this of our orders, but then again our higher ups were not Jesus and incapable of making mistakes
A good military leader or Christian is confident and ready to take charge of their orders or calling never wavering because they are dogmatic in their charge.
Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?
Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on Dogmatism?
Application: How does it apply to me?
Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?