The word is maligned by some, especially by those to the right of biblical truth who believe any attempt at it is “soft.” The word is misunderstood by others, especially by those who believe avoiding difficult, hard truths constitutes the concept. Yet, in this age of extremism, the need for it has never been greater. While balance takes in a great many things regarding both one’s life and teaching, many seem to have forgotten the importance of pursuing it in following Christ.
Balance is threatened when we equate our opinions, judgment, proclivities, and personal beliefs with divine truth. This is especially of great concern when those with heightened influence among us press these matters to the point that they are portrayed as matters of faith and fellowship. Several issues of late have emerged as such tests–that dating is sinful, that homeschooling is the only biblical means of educating our children, that having a special program or even Bible classes for youth in a congregation is wrong, and the list seems to keep growing. Often, the old “anti” argument is made: “Where is your authority for that?” Yet, like our non-cooperation brethren, there is a glaring lack of understanding about how God authorizes (especially as regards “generic” and “specific” authority). Can we be opposed to dating, public schooling, homeschooling, and the like? Certainly. Can we be divisive or draw lines over them in the Lord’s body? Never! God is as condemning of law-making as law-breaking (Rev. 22:18-19; Mat. 23:2ff).
Balance is threatened through compromise with the world. Balance is not blending in with the world, as a chameleon in its environment. Balance is certainly not conformity (cf. Rom. 12:2). Some preachers never touch hot-button-issues like modesty, marriage, divorce, and remarriage, instrumental music, the sinfulness of denominationalism, and more through a misguided sense that such avoidance is balance. While one must avoid making any of these subject “hobby horses” that are ridden endlessly and exclusively, these are all biblical matters part of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Often, they are avoiding out of fear or favor. Such is not balance!
Extremism, especially noised angrily and vociferously, looks more like the culture than the Christ. Let those of us who teach, write, and otherwise publicly communicate beware of the higher standard to which the Lord holds us (Js. 3:1ff). Let us stand firmly and courageously upon the foundation of Christ while being careful not to press what He has not taught or suppress what He has.