In Search Of Scriptural Balance
It is simply amazing how people can take the same Bible and come to such radically different positions. The pool of approaches to current issues covers the entire spectrum.
Few things are more repulsive than a self-righteous person snubbing those he deems inferior. If you have ever gotten the cold shoulder from Mr. or Mrs. Flawless, then you know how revolting it can be. But the snob is oblivious to how obnoxious he appears to others.
Loyalty to an institution, position, set of standards, or a leader is his basis for fellowship. Taking the “proper stand” becomes all consuming. Anything or anyone outside the box is deemed “unclean.” The “cause” easily becomes central while Christ increasingly becomes secondary. The peer group, having adopted the same positions, reinforces the preferred, limited frame of reference.
The snob’s platform is Sinai, not Calvary. Perched from this lofty height, he is genuinely baffled why everyone does not agree with him. His legal mind constantly rationalizes its excesses and imbalances, while dismissing the occasional bothersome thought that something is amiss. It is this letter-of-the-law precision that further entrenches the elite into their defensive position. Effectiveness is secondary and “holding the line” is primary. It was the snob mentality that questioned why Jesus would eat with publicans and sinners. Think of it, even the Son of God was faulted for not meeting the exacting standards and regulations laid out by the religious establishment.
So if you joined the F.F.A. (Future Pharisees of America) back in Bible College, maybe it’s time to send in your letter of resignation!
On the other hand there are those who overreact to the overly rigid approach and fall into the opposite ditch.
The pastor of an “evangelical” church stands before his huge congregation on Sunday morning and announces that he and his wife have decided that the time has come to “call it quits.” What he means is that he and his wife are divorcing one another. The congregation applauds this “courageous” announcement with a standing ovation. So much for “what God hath joined together let no man put asunder!”
An innovative church imprints shot glasses with the slogan “Real Church for Real People.” They distribute these in the local bars. Think about it, a church providing the containers to administer the addictive and death-inducing substance which hold millions in bondage. If this church was really concerned about people, they could imprint bumper stickers with a scripture verse like, “Be not drunk with wine…but be filled with the Spirit.”
What about the “relevant” pastor who struts on the platform with his spiked hair, torn blue jeans, shirt tail hanging out, and a sport coat that appears to have been picked up from the dumpster behind Goodwill? He thinks he must imitate the world in order to reach the world. Does that mean he needs to cross-dress before he can relate to the transvestite community?
If you were to visit certain “Christian College” campuses you might think you had been transported via time machine back to the 1960’s. The shoddy appearance, the hollow countenances, as well as the loose atmosphere is reminiscent of the “Summer of Love” in Haight-Ashbury. Christian liberty does not allow for “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness” (Jude 4).
If the snobs have missed it, then so have the slobs. If you happen to dialogue with someone who is entrenched in their unbiblical “broadness,” you will often find they are just as militant, only in the opposite direction.
Remember it is the “narrow way” that leads to life, and not the “broad road.” When scripture says, “Be ye holy”, it is not a suggestion—it is a commandment.
The problem with either extreme is that both ends of the spectrum misrepresent God. Neither snobs nor slobs portray an accurate picture of God’s nature and character. Truth devoid of grace distorts God’s character, and so does grace apart from truth. These two tensions, found in proper balance, are only possible in Spirit-filled people. Jesus was full of “grace and truth,” and we should be too!