Posted in theology

Balance in our theology is important

By Elizabeth Prata

My blog is called The End Time not due to eschatology but because we’re IN the end time -the time between Jesus’ ascension and His return – and time is short. I exhort us all to walk worthy and be bold to proclaim the hope that is within us, because the Time is Near.

I love eschatology and I could write about it every day. In fact, when I started this blog, I did write about it most every day. But yes, I enjoy eschatology because His return is the next big event to happen!

Anyway, the Lord grew me from my earliest days of hyper-focus on last things, and I learned about other doctrines. I fell in love with the doctrine of Providence, and I enjoy biblical natural history (flora & fauna of the Bible, agricultural practices, and so on). I love discernment, since the Holy Spirit gave me that spiritual gift, and I like to exercise it, but not to the point that one of my biceps gets bigger than the other. I have to frequently scan my blogs to make sure I’m not narrowing in on one topic too often. This essay is a warning for myself as well.

I first read through all the Old Testament Prophets, then the OT histories and poetic books. I turned to the New Testament and of course, Revelation, an apocalyptic book. When that the first pass of reading the Bible initially was concluded, I now choose Bible reading plans that bounce daily between the OT and the NT.

Our preaching elders preach a book of the New Testament then a book of the old.

We should absorb the whole counsel of God. We should share the whole counsel of God.

In other words, as Christians, we seek balance in our learning. As with anything in life, we strive to be well-rounded.

That’s not to say that we don’t have favorite doctrines, or are well known for having a teaching niche. RC Sproul was known for holiness and philosophy. Phil Johnson is known for his expertise on the Psalms. Alistair Begg is known for being an expert on, well, The Beatles. You knew that was coming! lol.

I’ve noticed that some who have a social media presence and large followings who excessively focus on one doctrine above all others, who make their blog be about only that, or tweet about only that, or who speak about only that. These people tend to drift away from balance and become unbalanced.

Would you enjoy sitting under a preacher who only ever preaches on tithing and money? Or follow a person who only ever urged female submission? ‘Trump bad’ or ‘John MacArthur bad’ is a message from some who never seem to tire of harping on their pet one-and-only topic, but it sadly displays a narrowing of their theological arteries.

Omissions are just as imbalanced as hyper-focus. If your preacher never speaks of the wrath, or of sin, or of the Old Testament, that is not a well-rounded pastor. Of course, a person might know of these topics, but a failure to continue learning about them is part of the problem of drifting toward imbalance.

It’s not just the individual who falls into myopia. The pendulum swing in the global church results in imbalance too. It swings from one extreme to another. The Charismatic movement arose as a reaction against dead orthodoxy theology. The Sonship movement arose as a pushback against an impersonal theology.

Overemphasis in the reaction causes overshadowing of other teachings, to the point almost of neglect in seminaries or in lots of churches in one era.

Theologian Carl Trueman spoke of the importance of balance:

[T]he need for balance is absolutely crucial if the church is to witness God’s truth to the world, and a failure to speak the whole counsel of God is a critical weakness in our testimony as Christians.

He was talking about the need for an equal mental attention to systematic theology and biblical theology, but we take his point.

In the 1970-80s, eschatology was IN. A whole generation of people grew up with Left Behind, Hell Houses at Halloween, and even music on the topic (I Wish We’d All Been Ready).

By the 1990-2000s, eschatology was OUT. Seminaries didn’t focus on it too much, which resulted in a host of graduates for a generation with little attention paid to the subject. In the 2020’s eschatology is back, but not the dispensational flavor, but amillennial.

Theological myopia sets in. Neglect of the whole counsel of God stirs a narrowing of your worldview, which soon enough, views ONLY your pet doctrine or theory. Don’t let that happen to you.

How to stop hyper-focus from happening?


What can help us keep our theology balanced? Of course, the Bible, first and foremost. Read it widely. Read it frequently. The more grounded in the Word you are the more you will stand upon solid ground. If not, you’ll end up cherry picking verses out of context that you want to support your pet theory in conversation (or papers, or tweets). Choose a balanced Bible Reading Plan.


Apart from your own pastor each week, I’m sure you listen to sermons and podcasts online. Listen to a few different ones. I listen to both women and men, cultural issues oriented and theology oriented. I listen to a variety of preachers; some of them are from today and some are from long ago. I read books on different topics, not just the one or two topics I especially enjoy. I am sensitive to the guidance of the Spirit when I’m reading the Bible for new topics to follow up on. Lately I’ve followed up on a couple chapters in Romans (sin AKA Hamartiology) and the Blood of Christ. Absorb material from different eras. I enjoy current magazines but also pamphlets from the past, from the 1800s all the way down to Augustine.


In my discipling of younger women, I always tell them to seek the Holy Spirit in prayer. It’s a common refrain from me, but it’s a truism. His ministry is to point us to truth. He is the Illuminator. He convicts of sin. He keeps our heart aligned with God’s affections and our mind transforming every day. He is our greatest resource! Ask Him to keep you balanced. Ask Him to help you find appropriate middle ground.


If you engage on social media through blogs, tweets, Instagram, or other, look over what you have produced lately to see if you’re drifting into a narrowing. Scan backward and get an idea of the flavors of your output. There is a difference between following up on a topic deeply for a while, and succumbing to a rut where that is all you ever think about, pray about, write about. Social media is a conversation but it is also a chronicle. It can be your own keeper of your recent interests. Check it to see how you’re doing!

We can all pray for what martyr Jim Elliot sought:

Lord, give me firmness without hardness, steadfastness without dogmatism, and love without weakness.”

Jim Elliot, quoted in The Berean Call, Bend, Oregon, March 1997


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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