Sunday, October 2, 2011
I’ve never tried to walk a tightrope, but I have a passion for balance. Admittedly, this is a strange characteristic for someone called to church leadership. Overstatement and exaggeration come naturally to most leaders. It’s how they inspire and motivate people, but it makes me cringe.
Throughout church history Christians have struggled to find balance in belief and practice. One generation over-emphasizes some aspect of biblical teaching. Then a later generation over-corrects and winds up at another extreme.
Right belief is pitted against right behavior. Faith against reason. Intellect against emotion and experience. Holiness and purity against love and compassion. Human responsibility and effort against God’s power and control. Evangelism of the lost against the edification of believers. The pendulum swings back and forth, again and again. But I’m convinced that to be faithful to biblical teaching we must seek to balance these emphases.
This concern for balance exercises significant influence in my ministry. Take my preaching, for example. People love a fight, and some pastors cater to that love by pummeling the latest movement or fad. I, on the other hand, approach issues like eating watermelon. Enjoy the sweet parts but spit out the seeds! There’s always seeds.
I encourage you to keep the “eat and spit” approach in mind as you think about our Growth Groups. This year we’re using studies from several different authors. This doesn’t mean I necessarily endorse everything these authors teach. You’re bound to encounter some seeds (maybe even in my group with the curriculum that I’ve developed!), and when you do go ahead and spit them out. But don’t miss the sweet parts. I think each of these studies offer much that will help you grow in Christ.
If you run into something in one of these studies that doesn’t sound right to you, bring it up for discussion in the group. If you want to discuss it further, email me or give me a call.
I think Paul captures this whole process of examining truth together in Ephesians 4:14-16 where he says, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
May God cause us all to grow this fall!
– Bryan Craddock