One of the continuing challenges of preaching is the challenge of “balance.” Due to our backgrounds, culture, and preferences, we sometimes lack balance in our presentation of truth. Therefore, I want to propose the following challenges…
- Preach a sermon on the role of women without once mentioning what women cannot do. Is it not the case that most sermons you’ve heard on the “role of women” have been hijacked by a discussion about what they can’t do in worship? Don’t misunderstand. We need to teach the truth on this subject and confront error, but we also need to eventually get around to teaching women what a pivotal role they have in the church! Our women (and men) need to know just what woman can do in service to God, not just what they cannot do!
- Preach a sermon on the thief on the cross without mentioning baptism. Have you ever heard a sermon on the thief on the cross that didn’t spend the majority of the time focusing on why he wasn’t baptized, or why he didn’t need to be baptized? Brethren, I don’t believe the account of Jesus saving the thief on the cross was intended to be a proof-text for or against the necessity of baptism. The message of the thief’s salvation is a message about the scope of God’s love and grace. Talk about that for 30 minutes. Again, I’m not saying don’t answer the arguments that have been made concerning the thief’s salvation. What I am calling for is balance.
- Preach a sermon on God’s grace without mentioning we can fall from it. When’s the last time you heard a sermon about the grace of God that didn’t include a significant portion of the time spent on reminding us that we can fall from it, despite what some of our religious neighbors teach? Of course the Bible teaches we can fall from grace (Gal. 5:4), but is there not more to explore about God’s grace than the fact that we can fall from it? Can we just one time talk about how we should bask in it, give thanks for it, and appreciate the scope of it? I’m not calling for compromise, I’m calling for balance.
- Preach a sermon on worshiping in song without mentioning mechanical instruments. Do you remember the last time you heard a sermon about singing that didn’t involve arguments as to why we don’t employ mechanical instruments of music in our worship? Again, don’t misunderstand. The reason we sing and reject the mechanical instrument needs to be taught, but for the sake of balance, don’t you think our people need to know why singing is so important? Don’t they need to better appreciate the value of singing; the opportunity it gives to teach and admonish each other; the way it can lift our spirits; and they way it pleases God? Balance!
Don’t get defensive, and don’t unfairly “size me up.” For the record, I believe there are gender-based role distinctions in the church. I believe one must be baptized to be saved. I believe one can fall from grace so as to be eternally lost. And I believe there is no authorization for the use of mechanical instruments in Christian worship. The only agenda behind this article is to challenge you to greater balance. I don’t ever want to know more about what a woman can’t do than what she can, or what a passage doesn’t mean than what it does mean. My agenda with this article isn’t hidden, it’s overt: BALANCE!