3 Reflections on Cultivating Theological Poise

Gavin Ortlund | August 10, 2015

It's easy to lose your balance when you're standing on one foot. The strongest posture is one of balance between both feet: one of poise. Hence boxers putting so much care into their footwork.

In our intellectual and spiritual life also, we need poise. Interposed within the character of the gospel is an intricate balance of truth and grace, mercy and righteousness, glory and condescension, courage and caution, firmness and flexibility. Only Jesus is the perfect blend of all these qualities, summed up and bound together by love. Most of us tend to tilt one way or the other, depending on our temperament and circumstances and various other factors. In fact, we often lean into one error right while trying to avoid another—as Martin Luther put it, human reason is like a drunken man on horseback who, propped up on one side, will tumble over on the other.

The Gospel Coalition ethos is, like that of the evangelical tradition it inherits and seeks to extend, one of balance and poise between opposing errors. Our Theological Vision for Ministry speaks of the rarity of a “full, integrative gospel balance.” Just as evangelical identity was forged through a balanced tension between liberalism and fundamentalism, TGC identity is balanced between the…

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