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.

Leith Anderson is president emeritus of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor emeritus of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He served as NAE president from 2007-2019, after twice serving as interim president. He served as senior pastor of Wooddale Church for 35 years before retiring in 2011. He has been published in many periodicals and has written over 20 books. Anderson has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, and is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Bradley University and Denver Seminary.