In my last post in this series, I discussed the pride of moral self-righteousness. Today, I continue my discussion by focusing on the pride of correct doctrine.
The Pride of Correct Doctrine
This sin manifests itself when we think our belief system is superior to others. It often occurs in those who are theologically minded, or even in someone who believes doctrinal distinctions are erroneous or unnecessary. Personally, being theologically minded and having attended seminary, I struggle most with this form of pride.
What does Scripture have to say?
Scripture is not silent when it comes to the pride of correct doctrine. In 1 Corinthians 8:1 Paul addresses this form of pride, when he writes,
“Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.”
In this verse, Paul does not disagree with their knowledge. He too believes that idols are nothing and that eating meat offered to idols is permissible. What he disagrees with is the pride associated with their knowledge.
Apparently, some in the church in Corinth had become puffed up because they thought themselves doctrinally superior to the other church members, since they realized food offered to idols was not wrong to eat.
Paul tells them that their knowledge is not to puff them up, but it is to cause them to act in love. Knowing that others will stumble when they eat meat offered to idols, should result in them limiting their eating of it to certain times and places; times and places when and where their weaker brothers are absent. In doing so, they would be acting out of love and not pride.
However, if they chose to partake when their weaker brother was present, they would not only cause them to stumble, but they would be acting out of pride. Since they would be touting their knowledge of correct doctrine.
How do we guard against this form of pride?
First, by treating others with respect. Realizing that many godly men and capable scholars hold differing beliefs than we do for good reasons. We should not down them, as if they are stupid, ignorant, or less intelligent. Rather, we should disagree with the system to which they hold, while still respecting them and their abilities.
Second, by being humble about our beliefs. So what if we have it right? Being doctrinally correct does not make us better than someone else.
In my next installment in this series, I will focus on the pride of achievements. Until then, reflect on this post through the questions below.
Questions for Reflection
- Are you susceptible to this form of pride?
- What belief systems might we believe are better than others?
- Has God convicted you of this sin in the past? If so, how did you deal with it?
- How might it affect our church if we rid the pride of correct doctrine from our church?
Post Adapted from Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges, 89-100