So much controversy, so much conflict! To answer the division present in the Lord’s church today, many are calling for Biblical balance. I am sure some who are asking for balance actually mean, “There should be less preaching that expects me to change and more preaching that makes me feel good.” Others mean, “Let’s change the truth slightly so that it’s easier to digest.” Neither of these positions should be supported because they show a lack of concern for God’s authority. Godly men and women are also calling for Biblical balance, but what does that mean, exactly? Simply put, it is the narrow way (Matt. 7:14). It means that we will not add to or take away from what scripture has said. We will bind only what God has bound and loose only where God has loosened by command, implication, or authorized example (Matt. 16:19, Col. 2:16). How will we know if someone truly wants balance? Certainly, it begins with God’s word (Matt. 15:7-9) but it ends with attitudes.
Attitude Toward Study — Luke 8:18 reminds us that we have to be careful how we hear. A common misconception about Biblical balance is that it is about finding the truth that is in the middle of two positions. But if our standard becomes the middle of two positions our standard slides away from God’s view over time as the culture changes. Was the truth somewhere in the middle when the Pharisees were arguing with Jesus? Certainly not. Biblical balance is about considering all that the Bible has to say about the subject instead of putting on blinders to the passages that disagree with my position.
Attitude Toward Reflection and Application — Reflection and application are about loving and doing all of God’s law, not just the parts that agree with my thinking (Ps. 40:8). It is not one scripture against another, but one scripture in light of others. Reflection and application are about loving and doing only God’s law and rejecting the counterfeit (Gal. 1:8-9).
Attitude Toward Repentance — This is where the rubber meets the road. Once I understand the proper application of the word in my life based on study and self-examination I must ask, “What am I going to do with this knowledge?” Consider some texts that can be understood in a Biblically balanced way.
1 John 1:7-9: All grace and no law? No. Constantly worried I am going to be eternally condemned if Jesus comes back right now? No. Keep walking in the light (which would involve correcting errors) and confessing fault and your sins will be covered.
Galatians 5:22-23: I’m fine as long as I have most of those down? No. I am weak in all those, therefore God must be so displeased with me? Not necessarily! I should respond by working on those things that are lacking. God graciously allows for time to grow.
2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15: Call out every sin here and abroad without speaking to them first? No. Let it go and never question apparent sin? No. We should be diligent to mark, withdraw from, and admonish those who depart from the faith.
Being balanced is about striving to do all that the Bible says on a subject, with the proper attitude. The answer to division in the Lord’s church is not to justify ourselves by finding room in the middle. Neither do we solve the problem by looking to please those in our inner circle or those with greater influence in the brotherhood. Look to God’s word for the answers and have the attitudes sufficient to make all necessary changes.
– Ross Haffner preaches for the Colleyville Church of Christ, Colleyville, TX