Some Quotes on Balance in Doctrine and Life

Today I would like to just share several quotes regarding the subject of balance from several Bible teachers in the traditional dispensational movement through history. This balance is presented as being needed in both a well-rounded faith and a well-rounded life of faith. I will share quotes from C. I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Charles Ryrie, and make comments to James Hall Brookes and John F. Walvoord, all teachers in the great heritage of dispensational Bible teachers. I plan on a subsequent post about this topic of balance.

The first quote (emphasis is mine) is from C. I. Scofield, the editor of the well-known Scofield Reference Bible, regarding his mentor and predecessor in traditional dispensationalism James Hall Brookes. The quote is found in Charles Trumbell’s work The Life of C. I. Scofield.

James H. Brookes was the greatest Bible student I have ever known. His great strength lay in the fact that he held truth in balance–he always balanced whatever truth he was giving by some other truth; that is, whether he mentioned the other truth or not, he held it at least in his mind over against the truth that he was giving, and thus was kept from unbalanced or false emphasis.

While speaking of James H. Brookes, one can rightly take this statement as Scofield’s person acceptance of this idea for himself. In this case, the focus is on balance in formulating doctrine from our interpretation of all the Word of God.

The second quote (again emphasis is mine)is from Lewis Sperry Chafer’s book Major Bible Themes on basic Bible doctrines. He studied under Scofield and founded Dallas Theological Seminary. In his chapter on sanctification, he offers this thought:

Disproportionate emphasis on any one doctrine, or the habit of seeing all truth in the light of one line of Bible teaching, leads to serious error. The doctrine of Sanctification, like all other doctrines of the Scriptures, represents and defines an exact field within the purpose of God, and since it aims at definite ends, it suffers as much from overstatement as from understatement.

Chafer’s work (published in 1926) was later revised by his successor as president of Dallas Seminary John F. Walvoord (published in 1974), and this statement is left essentially intact and thus would seem to reflect Walvoord’s agreement with it like previously noted with Scofield in his comment about James H. Brookes.

The final quote (emphasis is mine) is from Charles C. Ryrie who did overlap Walvoord’s generation to some degree, but I believe he stands as part of the subsequent generation slightly. The first is from his work Balancing the Christian Life.

Genuine and wholesome spirituality is the goal of all Christian living….By wholesome I mean balanced. There is nothing more devastating to the practice of spiritual living than an imbalance. One of my former teachers repeatedly reminded us that an imbalance in theology was the same as doctrinal insanity. The same applies to the realm of Christian living. An unbalanced application of the doctrines related to biblical spirituality will result in an unbalanced Christian life. Too much emphasis on the mystical may obscure the practicality of spiritual living, while an overemphasis on practicality may result in a lack of vision. A constant reiteration of the need for repeated rededications could lead to a stagnant Christian life in which there is no consistent and substantial growth. An overemphasis on confession could cause unhealthy introspection, while an under-emphasis might tend to make one insensitive to sin. Balance is the key to a wholesome spiritual life.

In this, Ryrie seems to give word to the essence of what was said by the others and gives word to all of it and applies it to both doctrine and life.

More is to be said on this topic and what we mean when we say we should be balanced. Some in fact, speak of balance in a very negative way. At this point, I would only conclude that I think the reason I view balance is so important is because it allows us to take the whole counsel of God together. In that light, it is not surprising to see the kind of continuity demonstrates in these quotes in the traditional dispensational history all the way back to James H. Brookes in the mid- to late-1800s. I will offer some more thoughts on balance next time on this blog.