Dogma and Drama - Seeing God

"The dogma is the drama." This is a quote I've heard often, probably from Michael Horton the most. It took me a while to see what it meant, but now that I do, I see it played out all over scripture. Here's a simple explanation in case you are already lost. Dogma is basically a teaching about something. Church dogma is the teaching of the church, or the things that define what the church is. It is a definition of something. Dogma regarding God might be something like, "God is loving, sovereign, patient, gracious, holy, and just." However, we don't find scripture speaking like this about too many things, much less God, until well into Exodus, and even then it is just a verse here and there. But God doesn't limit Himself to being revealed in little, dogmatic sentences. He reveals Himself through the drama of scripture.

"The dogma is the drama" tells us that the truths about God, really all of theology, are revealed not in concise, well-structured statements, but in the drama of how God acted and still acts within history. The dramas of the exodus, the story of Joseph and his brothers, Daniel and the lion's den, and many others that we heard as kids in Sunday School make God known to us. God doesn't have to say, "I am loving." He shows it to us in the book of Ruth by bringing a child to a childless grandmother, a husband to a foreigner, and joy to a bitter household. (I particularly enjoy songs that show this truth, like "Rise" that I featured a few weeks ago)

This morning I read Genesis 1-11. This passage covers several thousand years of history and reveals a ton about God, all through dramas. We see Him as Creator (1:1), Holy (4:4), Just (3:14-19), Merciful (4:15), Gracious (3:15), Covenant-Keeping (9:9-17), Sovereign (11:8), Wrathful (7:11-12), and a host of other things as well, just in these 11 chapters. I love how God continues to show Himself as a God of action. He isn't some king, sitting on a throne making up things about himself so people will worship him. He has done great things and continues to work in amazing ways. Each time He acts, He reinforces another bit of truth about Himself.

Sometimes dogma can get a bad reputation. We don't want to be dogmatic about certain things. However, certain things are completely fine to be dogmatic about. In fact, it is very appropriate to be dogmatic about the things scripture is clear on, like our amazing God and all that He is.


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