First Baptist Church of Niles
Balancing Your Bible; Stay out of the ruts
I recall reading of a sign posted on a muddy road in Canada. It read; “Choose your rut carefully for you will be in it for the next one hundred and fifty miles.”
This is a danger for us all who love the Lord, fellow believers, who believe the Bible is the Word of God. When we fail to balance our Bible, we are in danger of traveling in a rut. Failure to see but one side of a truth often causes confusion, unnecessary division and a lop sided theology. Truth is truth and Bible truth is many sided, and all Bible truth is certainly double sided. Often it is revealed from the Divine perspective while another scripture reveals the same truth from the human perspective. We need to comprehend the whole counsel of God even when we cannot understand how it all fits together in our human understanding.
I can still recall a professor's reply when asked by a pastoral student “What do we do when we see a passage that seems to contradict another scripture?” I thought his reply was classic. He said” preach it for all it's worth ”
Charles Spurgeon who ministered in England was and still is known as the “prince of preachers. “I think much of his strength and usefulness in ministry lay in his ability to balance truth. He did not compromise truth at all but proclaimed the whole counsel of God.
He made this observation in a sermon on John 8:39-40 preached in 1873.” You know, beloved friends that the general custom is, with the various sects of Christians, to take up one part of the Bible and preach that part. And then it is the duty of all divines not to preach anything but that. Or, if they find a text that looks in rather a different direction, these gentlemen are expected to twist it around to fit their creed, it being supposed that only one set of truths can possibly be worth defending, it never having entered the heads of some people, that there can be apparently irreconcilable truths which nevertheless be equally valuable.
Think not that I am come to defend the human side of salvation at the expense of the divine, nor am I desirous to magnify the divine side of it at the expense of the human; rather would I beseech you to look at the two texts which are together before us and be prepared to receive both sets of truth. I think it a very dangerous thing to say that the truth lies between the two extremes. IT does not; the truth lies in the two, in the comprehension of both, not in taking a part from this and a part from that, toning down one and modulating another, as is too much the custom. But in believing and giving full expression in everything God reveals whether we can reconcile the things or not, opening our hearts as children open their understanding to their father's teaching, feeling that if the gospel were such that we could make it into a complete system, we could be quite sure it was not the gospel, for any system that comes from God must be too grand for the human brain to grasp at one effort; and any path that he takes must extend too far beyond the line of our vision to make a nice little map of it and mark it out in squares.
Are you acquainted with the world “antinomy”? I ran across this word in a book by J.I. Packer “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” He explains that an antinomy is a contradiction between conclusions, which seem equally logical, reasonable and necessary. But he goes on to explain that in theology that definition should read. “An appearance of contradiction. ”In Theology” he states, it is not a real contradiction but the appearance of one, though it looks like one, it is an apparent incompatibility between two apparent truths. A pair of principles stands side by side by side, seemingly irreconcilable, yet both undeniable. Each rests on clear and solid evidence. You see how each must be true on it's own but you do not see how they can be both true together. He asks, what we can do with an antinomy? He answers we must accept it for what it is and then learn to live with it. Both are true, they stand side by side on equal footing.
Don't try to get rid of Bible antinomies. Make it your business to believe both doctrines with all your might and keep them before you” He was dealing with one set of Bible teachings, but it encompasses much more than that.
Open your whole mind and heart to all God says in His Word. Do not try to explain away or ignore parts of it. . Believe it, live by it, even when you do not understand everything. It is all there for you to enjoy. All of God's revelation of Himself and His ways are there for your benefit. This is the best way to stay out of a rut.