Moderation and Biblical Balance

A second and related thing I am not calling for is this: When I say we must avoid various extremes, that is not the same as saying we should simply always run with a lukewarmness about things. For example, when I recently put up a social media post about these matters, someone responded with this comment: “moderation in all things and setting scriptural boundaries go a long way”. He was seeking to affirm what I was saying, but I had to make this reply. “Yes, although moderation is not always the same as biblical balance. For example, we should not be moderate in our love for Christ – we should love him 100%. We should not be moderately faithful to our spouse – we should be 100% faithful.”

In this brief article I want to clarify something that can easily be misconstrued. A spiritual point that I often make to other believers can be open to misunderstanding or misinterpretation, so let me explain just a bit more about what I am calling for.

I have often spoken about the need to be biblically balanced, and how we must avoid unbiblical extremes. There are many clear examples of this. As but one, we can sometimes get things wrong when it comes to Satan and demons. Some believers live as if neither one exist, while some other believers seem to see demons and the devil under every rock.

Or as C. S. Lewis had put it in the preface to his 1942 classic, The Screwtape Letters: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

So there are many areas in which believers can go to unhelpful extremes. But even this warning about avoiding extremes can be misunderstood or misused. There are various things I am NOT saying when I make this sort of caution about keeping the biblical balance.

The first thing I do not mean is this: On some doctrinal and theological issues in which there are various sides to the matter, there is a need to fully push ALL aspects of a biblical truth. Consider the old problem of how we reconcile the sovereignty of God with human responsibility.

What I am NOT saying here is that the biblical middle and biblical balance means we take 50 per cent of the one and take 50 per cent of the other. Nope, that is not how we proceed here. Instead, we are to take 100 per cent of the one and 100 per cent of the other.

BOTH must be fully affirmed, just as Scripture fully affirms each one. Sure, our fallen and finite minds will struggle with how we can hold the two together as we push each one to the max. They are not contradictory truths, but they seem paradoxical to us.

So in this case, we are not looking for a soft gooey centre, like with a caramel chocolate, but two strong, firm tines of a fork. Both are needed and both must go together.

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