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Sometimes it can be difficult working in a “mixed economy” diocese, when differences between ministers can be, not only a matter of personality, but also of theology.

In the constant review of how I spend my time, I’ve decided again that I need to devote more time to reading & less time watching TV. This afternoon as I cleaned up a shelf on my library, I found Francis Schaeffer’s book “The Mark of a Christian.” I got given it a while ago & thought it must have been a gospel tract about becoming a Christian. It turns out, however, that it is really about how we are called to live/react, when Christians disagree.

At a whopping 36 pages long, I knocked it off by the end of the afternoon & was really challenged/impressed.

Here’s a snippet to give you a flavour.

“The Christian is to exhibit that God exists as the infinite-personal God; and then he is to exhibit simultaneously God’s character of holiness and love. Not his holiness without his love: that is only harshness. Not his love without his holiness: that is only compromise. Anything that an individual Christian or Christian group does that fails to show the simultaneous balance of the holiness of God and the love of God presents to a watching world not a demonstration but a caricature of the God who exists.”

I wonder whether the (theologically) liberal church tends to err on the love without holiness side. It’s certainly not a one way street though, because I suspect, we evangelicals err toward holiness without love. It’s easy to condemn people for what you might consider to be “fluffy” theology. It’s much harder to be clear that you disagree, but still love them…

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