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A Balanced USS Doctrine

Updated on June 2, 2014

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Image you’re on a small boat with a friend, both of you are standing in the middle and the boat is balanced. Suddenly your friend rushes to the side of the boat making the boat lean hard to one side. Afraid the boat will capsize, you instinctively rush to the opposite side, hoping to restore balance. Sadly, you do not weigh enough and the boat continues to role. You call to your friend to return to the center but he does not listen. In the end all you can do is head for the life boat, leaving your friend in God's merciful hands.

I have been discussing doctrine with a friend. We are both committed to avoiding extremes. We much prefer the unity and stability that is found in the middle of the boat. However, I have noted that when one of us strays to close to the sides of our small vessel, the other instinctively runs to the opposite extreme to compensate.

I am not an Arminian nor am I a Calvinist. Yet when I converse with someone who subscribes to one of these doctrinal paradigms more then I feel they should, I find that I rush to the other extreme to compensate for what I see as their lack of balance. When reasoning with a Calvinists, I suddenly become an Arminian or vice versa. I hate this. I am forced to become something I am not. There must be a better way.

A stable Church depends of a stable doctrine. As a father, husband, Christian brother, and as a bible teacher, I wish to stay in the middle. I no longer want to restore balance to the USS Doctrine by reacting to my friend’s extreme with an opposite but equal extreme. Rather, I wish to remain in the safety of the middle and beckon my friend to return.

There are some very basic rules to follow that will help us avoid extremes. They are not bullet proof but they are a good start. I think the very first thing we must do is anchor ourselves to God’s Word. Make the study of the bible a high priority. The best way to spot a lie is to know the truth. Make sure that everything we believe can be supported and proven by scripture. If it’s not found somewhere between Geneses and Revelation avoid it. Follow the 20/20 rule. Read 20 verses before and 20 verses after your proof text. This helps keep the verse in its proper context. In addition, try to understand the times in which the scripture was composed. This helps avoid becoming legalistic.

Lastly, compare scripture with scripture, allow God’s Word to bring balance to its self. For example, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:34 that women are to remain silent in the church. This verse has needlessly given birth to a multitude erroneous and extremes doctrines. We are able balance this verse out by looking at the whole of scripture. There are other places within God’s Word where women pray, prophecy, and even teach. Clearly Paul does not intend for women to never speak while they are in Church. We have to remember that in Paul’s day women were deliberately kept ignorant and illiterate. It would happen, in the course of a meeting, that that the ladies would demand so much instruction that they hijacked the lesson. Paul was instructing the ladies to have their husbands explain things better when they returned home. Evidently they were demanding so much time they destroyed the order of the meeting.

I recognize that extremes are a part of the maturing process. I’m OK with that, but as a friend and a teacher, I desire to limit the time you spend there. If you find that your friends all seem to be running for their life boats leaving you isolated from the greater body of Christ. If you are becoming critical and judgmental of yourself and those around you. You may need to come away from the side of the boat. Sadly I can't come to where you are and drag you back for this will sink us faster. Nether can I run to the other extreme for I do not wish others to follow me there. All I can do is call to you and make your danger known. If you terry to long, I too will have to abandon ship. Ultimately, it is up to you to return to the center.

Your Brother in Christ



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    • christinekv profile image

      christinekv 4 years ago from Washington

      Another well done hub and I appreciated the video as well.

      I'm sorry you've been experiencing frustration with your friend. I can identify as there have been many times people have just not understood, been on the same page, and are truly closed off to seeking whether or not there may be some truth in another's convictions. I personally have learned to only invest my time in those who are humble, respectful and OPEN. I have the heart of an evangelist yet I've experienced more frustration with people in the church than I have in the world. This has resulted in my beginning to learn that when it comes to some, perhaps I should not share my convictions without first asking permission.

      That being said, this is a place where I think we can share. I believe we are on the same page, it's not about following a "doctrine" but about following a person, Jesus Christ.

      This being said, let me throw another "term" or "label" out there and make another point and hopefully I won't be viewed as hypocritical. Messianic. Wanting to closely follow Jesus, or "Yeshua," within the last year, I have become part of a Messianic congregation. In having done so, there are some things about my living out my Faith which have changed. A couple of examples, I have given up pork and shellfish and I am worshiping on the "original" Sabbath. The reason? The decade old question, "WWJD?" Those are a couple of examples of how He walked when on this earth. I know it's external when what's in the heart is what's most important and some in the body of Christ/Messiah see me as having become "legalistic." It saddens me when I realize this is how I'm viewed since this is not the case. Again, it goes back to people unfortunately not getting it, or being UNCOMFORTABLE with MY convictions. I'm not telling others they need to walk out their faith as I do. As you say, we all need to go to the WORD of God for ourselves and seek Him for leading, direction, for deeper revelation of TRUTH and how He wants to transform us and how He wants us to spend our time. The most important thing after all is LOVE and in the end, it's just between Him and us after all. We are to live to please Him, not man.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks Brother for some good stuff! Well said and of course - balanced. The video was great and absolutely beautiful pics. Up and awesome!