Volume ranges come with diminishing returns. If a voice is too soft we can’t make out the words. If a voice is too loud we just hear the noise. Too soft is irritating; too loud is painful.
My friend is a distinguished scholar on the faculty of a well-known Christian graduate school. While evangelical orthodoxy is a mark of the institution shared by my friend and all of his colleagues, there are some professors who are especially adamant about their particular theological bent within evangelicalism. He seemed discouraged and disheartened when I last talked with him due to the arrogance of his fellow teachers. I sense that he is distancing himself from a theological camp where he wants to belong but is uncomfortable with the behavior of those in the tent.
Paul said, “Let your conversation be always full of grace” (Colossians 4:6). Maybe if he were writing today he would say,
“Let your blogs be always full of grace.”
“Let your politics be always full of grace.”
“Let your email be always full of grace.”
“Let your fundraising letters be always full of grace.”
Grace and truth are Christian virtues. It is never either-or. The blunt reality is that whether sharing the gospel, advocating for the poor, opposing heresy or promoting justice we must always speak with grace. Let us never shout like pagans.
This article originally appeared in the NAE Insight.