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Both Sides Are Missing The Other


Unfortunetly I have noticed a sad trend in our churches.  We have some on one side who are serious about seeking truth and understanding doctrinal matters.  We have some on another side who are serious about living the simple truths of Jesus’ teaching.  The sad and unfortunate trend that I have observed is that thes two sides often are in opposition to one another.  The doctrinal side demeans the practical side because they don’t know the truth or seem to have a hunger to search the Scriptures.  The practical side demeans the practical side because they are only concerned about knowing things and not doing things.

From this clunky description, I hope you see that neither side is right.  Some of the most arrogant Christians I have interacted with have been those who knew the most truth.  Some of the most misguided Christians I have interacted with have been those who have minimized knowing truth.  Let’s face it – neither side is doing Christ any favors in their representation of him.

It’s sad that there are “sides” at all in the church.  Those who are concerned about the doctrinal accuracy of our churches need to allow God examine their hearts to ensure that they are not just learning a lot and able to point to a chapter, verse, or definition.  Those who emphasize the practical side of things need to allow God to examine their hearts to ensure that they are not pushing asides the teaching of Jesus, the history of the faithful, or even embracing non-biblical teachings.

In Jesus we see a third way, a middle ground which emphasizes the living of the truths without minimizing the importance of knowing the truths.  A perspective which emphasizes the truth of Scripture without minimizing the need to live in light of those truths.  The followers of Jesus should follow Jesus’ example and look and sound like him.  There shouldn’t be sides – doctrinal and practical – there should be disciples who are shaped in the image of their teacher, in what they think, do, and say.

7 Responses to “Both Sides Are Missing The Other”

  1. on 15 Feb 2011 at 11:09 amAngela

    So true, Victor! I struggled with this dilemma myself, and have been on both sides of the extremes. It’s where these two meet in the middle, in a balanced way, that we truly are able to reflect our Christ. What spoke volumes to me was Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount… practical meets truth…you can’t have one without the other. They are married and become one, lived out in the life of a believer. His teachings are rich and deep in both. We must not pick and choose what teachings of Christ we wish to pursue and believe, but accept ALL of his teachings to believe, obey and share. We must go deeper to perceive and grasp all that he meant for us to hear. We must hunger for it.

  2. on 15 Feb 2011 at 11:57 amXavier


    We must not pick and choose what teachings of Christ we wish to pursue and believe, but accept ALL of his teachings to believe, obey and share.

    Tell that to DT and Wolfgang. 🙂

  3. on 15 Feb 2011 at 12:38 pmSean

    Sadly, in our time truth is culturally taboo. From the ivory towers to the streets everyone pretty much agrees that truth doesn’t matter, so long as you are nice to people (or funny at least). Victor, you are so right, we need both, and I would argue that it is only recently that the two were separated, likely due to Luther’s insistence that works were somehow inferior to faith.

  4. on 16 Feb 2011 at 8:35 pmAntioch

    So what is a good balance – 1 hour of reading/studying the Bible and 1 hour of Christian activity (defending the widows, the orphans and the oppressed) each day? Or is it 2 hours of one to each hour of the other? Is it 2 hours total each day or 12 hours or 16? Anyone care to share what they think is a good balance?

    For myself, I probably average 1-2 hours a day on reading/studying the Bible but probably average less than 30 minutes on activities (like praying for people or helping people). I tithe but not sure how to convert financial equity to sweat equity. I am trying to do more on the latter, slowly getting involved with ministries at church. Not being genetically a people person, it is harder than the doctrinal side, but since becoming a Christian, God has been changing that in me.

  5. on 17 Feb 2011 at 7:53 amDoubting Thomas

    You asked, “So what is a good balance…???”

    I think each and every day, different opportunities arise to help people. Some of these are more time consuming than others, but each just as valuable in the eyes of our Father. According to the Didache the Apostles believed that if an opportunity arose during the day for you to help someone, and you didn’t, then this was a sin.

    It make you realize just how hard it is to lead life without sin, like Y’shua did. That’s why we humans (brothers of Christ) have to be constantly praying for forgiveness of our sins.

    For example – Imagine the number of times you cut someone off when your driving, or make some other rude or offensive maneuver, and don’t even realize that you did it (on top of the ones that you ‘DO’ realize that you did).

    Of course (like always) this is all just my own humble opinion…

  6. on 17 Feb 2011 at 8:49 amAngela

    I can identify with Antioch… I actually prefer my quiet times alone, studying, reading, praying, more so than getting ‘out there’ with people. It is effort and sometimes feels very uncomfortable, to attempt to build relationships and “do” the thing we “believe.” But, that’s where the Spirit of God comes into play, upon which we must rely, rather than our own natural inclinations or talents. Realizing this, this area is where you (and I) can point to God and say, it was all Him, none of me – but obedience – all to His Glory. The more we develop this spiritual discipline or muscle, the stronger and easier it becomes to live out our faith.

    Balance — you will know. You can’t put a time frame on it, but like DT says, every day, different opportunities will arise – if we’re looking for them and willing to follow God’s Spirit quietly, gently, nudging our soul to be His hands and feet…

  7. on 17 Feb 2011 at 11:43 amVictor

    Antioch, I am refreshed by your honest heart.

    You said “but since becoming a Christian, God has been changing that in me.”

    That’s really the most critical point to this whole thing. Some people are naturally inclined to be “better” at doctrinal study, while others seem to be almost pre-disposed to kindness or generosity. I think that because God made us who we are for a beautiful diversity in the body, we may pursue certain things more than others – I think that’s totally fine. But my general concern, as I raised in this post, was that those who are studying, investigating, and the like cannot be jerks. And those who are showing kindness, reaching out to those in need, and the like, can’t be fools.

    I don’t think it’s a “make sure you do one hour of this and match it with one hour of that” but it must be a heart posture that we keep, if that makes sense.

    If you find yourself having negative feelings to learning more of the Bible, go to God about that and ask Him for help. If you have negative feelings towards caring about others or find yourself being abrasive, go to God about that and ask Him for help. Neither of those situations is right – but God can help change us.



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