Thursday, September 9, 2010

Standing Between Extremes

So I'm reading Matthew Henry, preparing for a blog post on The Gospel of Mark at the end of the week, and this quote pops up: "We are in danger of missing our way, both on the right hand and on the left, and therefore must take heed, lest, when we avoid one extreme, we be brought by the artifices of Satan, to run into another" (commentary on Matthew 4.1-11). As examples, Matthew brings up people who go from legalists who say you've got to work to earn God's love, to being open sinners who take mistake God's grace for a license to live however they feel like; also, people who go from being apathetic Christians to self-righteous zealots. His point is that we should be careful not to fall into extremes.

Where else could we get caught up in extremes? Human beings are habitual extremists: we go from spending too much money on national projects to spending too little; from taking too much in taxes to giving back more than the government can afford. We go from fascination with house churches to fascination with multi-site campuses. We escape the liberalizing tendencies of modernist enlightenment thought, only to fall into romanticism, or postmodernism, and ruin ourselves. We move from heretical forms of Pentecostalism to cessationism; we stop believing that Christians can be rich if they have faith, and end up believing that the only good Christian is a poor one.

What the Bible points us toward is that we must avoid the extremist sides of the issues of our day. To be mistaken is to be gravely and seriously mistaken, and to be an extremist wrongly, is to be an extremist sinfully. Don't be an extremist.


Sean Rice is a TESOL student at Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, SK. When not working or in class, he spends his time hanging out with youth at Saskatchewan's largest youth center and making the Gospel known to teenage kids. His passions are Jesus, theology, teaching, and Reese's Pieces.


  1. Noticed your comments over on Justin Taylors (dealing with Karl Giberson) and thought you wrote well and clearly. Thanks for representing Christians well.

  2. Thanks for saying so Andrew, I appreciate the encouragement. Hope to hear from you more often.


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