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As important as our personal testimonies may be, even more important is who God is.  Regardless of how morally right our life may be, we still falter and fail our profession.  God is exempt from that charge.  So, we do well, very well, to point the flashlight toward Him rather than toward ourselves, and let those seeing the object of the light’s rays make their own judgments about those holding the flashlight!!!

Let’s change the image now from a flashlight to a cake!!  But, still thinking about God and who He is.  A flashlight is a great thing to have, especially when you want to highlight (pun intended) a particular slice of reality while leaving in other things in the dark.  On the other hand, the flashlight analogy doesn’t address the matter of balance when wanting to both understand and then explain who God is.

Having a balanced theology is necessary.  But, balanced doesn’t mean having the same number of theological statements.  A balanced theology is like the cake with its varied amounts of ingredients that achieve a balance in that delicious German Chocolate cake.  The same amount of vanilla as sugar would achieve numerical equality, but destroy the balanced taste!!  All true theological affirmations are important, should be made, and explained.  But, for a balanced theology some affirmations need to be numerically emphasized more than others.  And, God doesn’t appear to have given us a cookbook for putting together our theological cakebook!!

Still thinking of theological balance, let’s also remember that a full Gospel, which I take to refer to all the content of the Gospel, is not the same as the basic Gospel, which I take to refer to the essential components of the Gospel.  CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity, NT Wright’s Simply Christian, and Scott McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel all in their own way recognize that some points in theology are more basic than others. If you haven’t read them, help yourself by doing so.  (I recommend you read them in the order mentioned.)

When trying to establish the “essentials” of the Gospel let’s not expect to find only a very few Scripture references to those components of the essential Gospel.  If they are essential, they should be obvious.   So, if one identifies in the Bible a given theological point, but can only point to one or two citations where the point is clearly made, we probably should be leery about how essential it is to the Gospel.