Spiritual Balance – Swinging Pendulum
Time recently called him a “theological traffic cop.” “The [evangelical] movement has no formal arbiter,” it noted.
But “J.I. Packer, 78, an Oxford-trained theologian, claimed the role informally with his 1973 book Knowing God, which outlined a theology deeper and more embracing than many Americans had encountered.”
Jim, a Christianity Today executive editor, teaches theology at Regent College in Vancouver.
What He Said…Swinging Pendulum
Fifty years ago, evangelicals taught Christian living legalistically: “Don’t smoke or drink, cheat, lie, or chew, and don’t team up with those who do.”
In those days, avoiding the world’s defilements was the main concern. This school of thought discounted the idea that Christians are free to enjoy God’s creation while they try to change the world for the better.
Reaction against that thinking has led now to an opposite extreme. Many Christians have uncritically bought into the self-indulgent lifestyle of the secular world. Biblical condemnation of sexual irregularity and the self-serving quest for wealth, pleasure, and power is ignored, and the behavior patterns of most Christians seem indistinguishable from those of unbelievers.
In short, ghetto legalism has given way to uninhibited worldliness. Reaction? Yes. Recovery of balance? No.
Shall we ever achieve Christlike balance and involvement in the world on the basis of being utterly different from it? Let us try!
Adapted from Leadership (Fall/88)
Prayer for the Week: Lord, I realize that Satan would love to switch me off on some siding. Please keep me on the mainline of Your will for me.