Is there one discovery about the Bible that can help us respond to the challenge of dangerous religious groups, encourage the growth of young believers, and throw light on our personal blind sides?
Over the years I’ve come to believe that the one insight that speaks to all of these areas is that:
All truth is in tension
The Bible throughout is marked by studies in contrast that complement and counterbalance one another.
One way to think of these tensions is organize them in three categories.
There are contrasts of wisdom and timing
- There is a time to obey government and a time to resist
- We should/should not be marked by tolerance
- We should separate ourselves from the world and befriend unbelievers
There are ironies of perspective and principle
- We should and should not be afraid of God
- Jesus came to bring peace and division
- Salvation in Christ is one and for all and continuous
There are tensions of Divine mystery
- God is one and three
- God rules the world and so does Satan
- God is sovereign while giving us freedom
The challenge in considering such tensions and contrasts of truth is to see that, when understood, one side does not neutralize or negate the other, just as knowing how to use hot and cold water does not make all water luke-warm. Rather than resulting in compromise and neutrality a right study in contrasts will develop the spiritual agility, balance, and energy.
Tomorrow I’d like to take a look with you at a study in contrast that we find in what the Bible teaches about forgiving others.
Can you think of an example of “truth in tension” that has helped develop your balance? Or do you see a danger in thinking this way about the Bible?