WHEN, AS A NEW CHRISTIAN, I heard a Pastor praying that a person might be given wisdom and balance, I had no real understanding he might have meant by “balance”. At that time I thought he was talking only in terms of human behaviour. I had some understanding about physical balance, balanced states of physical equilibrium, about gymnasts needing good balance, of what happens when credits and debits get out of balance, of balance in equations, and even of idioms such as “plans hanging in the balance”, but any thought about balance referring to doctrine escaped me completely. It was a long time before any application of balance to doctrine came to me. This was because I had not been taught about it.
To explain what I mean by “balance”, I will jump ahead to a popular church position held today, and that is to the idea that common experience is more important than doctrine. This may be within a singular church, or between different groups. This position has been strengthened in the popular search for church unity, and also in the inter-faith movement, where the idea is presented that people who have similar experiences of “God” are one in their worship, regardless of doctrinal position. In short, experience and unity are understood to be more important than doctrine. For instance, Protestants and Roman Catholics who experience similar charismatic “second blessings” are supposed to have some mystical unity, (which incidentally, is promoted as being a tool for ecumenism with Rome). Likewise, the New Age, together with most evangelicals, claim a mystical experience of “new birth’ whereby entrance is made by means of a heightened state or stage of consciousness, encouraged by some emotional message.