Biblical and Balanced
We don't even have to mention it, yet it identifies who we are and what we do. Prospective students, visitors, supporters, alumni—they all know it. Faculty, staff and students learn, appreciate and practice it. Balance.
We want our students to learn God's word—first how to love it, then how to mine its depths and apply its rich meaning in ways that every Christian can readily grasp and willingly employ.
We emphasize academic excellence, but we don’t want our students or graduates to be such eggheads that they can’t function in practical matters.
We emphasize doctrinal purity, but we don’t brag about it. Soundness, has nothing to do with how much sound you make, or how loud you make it. It’s about spiritual health—and that demands balance.
Concern for souls, in and out of the kingdom, should never generate rudeness or ungodly attitudes or bad behavior. You can be firm without being mean; you can be sound without being caustic. Balance.
This kind of balance is not an accident. It is not a decision to be a “middle-of-the-roader,” or a weak, wimpy Christian. It is instead a conscious decision to be the kind of Christian that God wants us to be.
Perhaps the best way to understand this concept is to examine the Biblical terms epieikes (adj., seeming, suitable; equitable, fair, mild, gentle) and epieikeia (noun, mildness, gentleness, fairness).
You are probably familiar with the KJV rendering in Philippians 4:5: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”
The term rendered “moderation” in this passage is epieikes. It is elsewhere translated as patient (1 Timothy 3:3, kjv) and gentle (Titus 3:2; James 3:17; 1 Peter 2:18, kjv). It also appears as forebearance (asv), forbearing (nasb), gentleness (nkjv, niv) and reasonableness (esv). Its use in some contexts might cause us to think of weakness or timidity, but further study reveals something very different.
In 2 Corinthians 10:1 the term refers to “the meekness of Christ as a model for Paul and the community” (TDNT, Vol 2, 599). Christ in this context “is gentle as only one who has full power can be” (ibid.). This must characterize our own attitude and character as well: gentleness and forbearance as a sign of strength—even under trial.
In Philippians 4:5 the term refers to the conscientious restraint that Christians must demonstrate even in the midst of persecution (NIDNTT, Vol 2, 258). How can this be?
Consider how another source defines the term: the quality of making allowances despite facts that might suggest reason for a different reaction; clemency, gentleness, graciousness, courtesy, indulgence, tolerance (BDAG, 371).
What does this mean? It means that even when it might seem that we have good reason to retaliate when we are pushed, we willingly and lovingly choose not to do so. We are gentle and tolerant—indicating not weakness, but strength under control.
Christ lived this way perfectly. Though able to call legions of angels to his defense, he suffered “gently” to demonstrate a strength far greater than sheer physical force.
When we are attacked or criticized unjustly, when we are physically beaten for our faith, when we face the inequalities or injustices of this life, the temptation to strike back must be tempered by a willing decision to suffer for righteousness.
Because the Lord is always near, we must let ourselves be known by a gentle spirit. The aorist passive imperative verb in Philippians 4:5 requires a willing surrender that corresponds to our surrender to Christ in the baptism of Acts 2:38. In a very real sense, when we submit to baptism into Christ, we pledge this degree of controlled gentleness for the rest of our lives. That’s the kind of biblical balance we stand for.
- Jody Apple