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Moderation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Afton Richards   

The Banner of Love--December 1976 

The Apostle Paul said at one time to a church (Phil. 4:5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

This is a term that we see used now days in relation to politics.

We have people to the far right that are known as conservatives. And then we see those on the left who are known as liberals. People who are not in agreement with either of these extreme views call themselves moderates. Politically, I myself have tried to align my actions with this type of political philosophy.

But how much more important it is to be a moderate spiritually and church-wise. That is what the Apostle Paul thought. That seems to be a good position to be occupying when "The Lord is at hand."

The word "moderate" or the position of "being in moderation" is a place between the extremes, either extremely liberal or extra conservative. And the apostle not only seems to be of the opinion that we should be moderates, but we should let this be well known.

In my observations, I can not recall a time in which there has been as much extremisms practiced and as much need for moderation as there is today.

There are many areas in which moderation should be made known.

In the doctrine, moderation is needed. We can take the conservative position on doctrine, and it will promote division and trouble. We can be so extreme, that we will as they say "split hairs" in interpreting doctrine. And, if anytime any interpretation is put on a scripture that differs with our views in the least, then make an issue of it.

Or we can take the ultra-liberal view, and even overlook outright heresy, not counting it worth arguing over. This position will lead to a departure from the fundamentals.

Somewhere between these two extremes is a safe position of moderation.

The same is true with church practices and church procedures. We can demand that all other churches do exactly as we want them to do, on the one hand, or we can take a "don't care" attitude on the other, and both will cause a situation that will not add to true spirituality. But somewhere between these two approaches is the part of moderation.

We have some people who are conformists. They just want to be agreeable. And they will follow along, not asking any questions.

We have others that just want to be contrary. Any idea is alright with them, just so it is their own idea-Just two ways, theirs and the wrong way.

Then we have some who want to help everybody attend to their business, and we have some who are not concerned at all how anyone else gets along. One is a meddler, the other is lukewarm or even cold.

On the one hand we have the liberals who will accept just about anything. They may even say so long as we believe in salvation by grace that is enough. Nothing else is important enough to fuss about.

Then the other extreme is to be fussy about every little thing and every detail. And adopt the attitude of the Pharisee and refuse to associate with anyone who does not measure UP completely to the standard of self-righteousness that we would have others to think we have attained.

Either of these extreme positions are fruit of seed sown by Satan, and will divide and destroy and one will do it just as quickly as the other.

Jesus and the apostles condemned both these extremes.

Now, again, somewhere between these extremes is a position of moderation.

If we will be careful, and search diligently. I think we can find the part of moderation in every instance. And when we have found it, than we should stand there and let our moderation be known.

We need to use moderation in our lives and in our attitude toward others.

We should strive to live righteous, and to avoid sin. But while doing this, we should not adopt the attitude of the Pharisees.

In the parable of the good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite lacked considerable living up to the law of God. They were not letting moderation be known in their lives. They had not time for compassion to the wounded man that they could have helped. Sometimes people in the church get so good in their own estimation, they forget to show the basic christian virtue of compassion, or love and mercy.

A sinful life is one extreme. An attitude of self-righteous3ess is the other extreme. In between these is a path of moderation.

The path of moderation is not to sin, but to try to help those that need help, even those who have sinned. It is a path of understanding –not all negativism toward the extremists.

Paul said the Lord is at hand. This is the reason for moderation. The Lord is judging our actions. In being moderate we take time for the will and the judgment of the Lord to be manifest.

There are many ways that we can disguise things, and by such deception we may deceive, even good people for a time, but we cannot deceive God, for He will know the truth and will bring it to light.

I have for some time been of the opinion that if we are Patient and take the way of moderation, God is at hand and will bring a situation to light.

Sometimes we observe the actions of people, and we feel sure there has been a departure of some nature from something that is fundamental. If we watch this situation carefully, in time it will manifest itself. If they make a mistake in judgement and went into error by mistake, and will turn away from it. If they lost regard for right and deliberately went into error, this will soon be manifest, and there will be further departures, and all will be able to see it, and it can be handled without causing trouble.

I spent some 20 years as a volunteer fireman. This spirit of moderation has well been proved in fire fighting.

I have known of a fire alarm being sounded, and the firemen get to the scene, and find a small fire, inside a tightly closed building. The thing to do in this instance is to stand by and let the fire burn itself out, or to use up all the oxygen and die. It takes some will power to do this, but it is the best way.

On the contrary, in such an instance, I have seen some hotheaded fireman, or bystander grab an ax and start breaking the windows and doors to get in, and this lets it get air, to fan the flames, and immediately the fire gets much hotter. And then they start pouring on the water to try to put out the fire that they gave fuel to, and before they can get it stopped, they've done more damage with the water than was done by fire, and the whole thing is a total loss. And many times the firemen are badly damaged, or lose their lives, and also many innocent bystanders get hurt.

Sometimes we act just about this way in church matters, when we see people volunteer to put out a fire when they don't know what they are doing. One thing for sure, they can really make a big mess in a hurry.

To be moderate is sometimes difficult, because the extremes on both sides will be unhappy, but the Apostle Paul was so certain that it was a good position, that he admonished the Philippian Church to "let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."

Wonder if there would be anything wrong with doing this today?

I have tried to be moderate. I have tried to let my moderation be known.

A.E. Richards

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.