Political advocates for both the Right and the Left devote great energy to criticizing ”moderates” and “centrists” as people who are “selling out” to the culture and refusing to take brave stands. Let me tell you a story! 1/9
When I was teaching at Westminster in Philadelphia I got to know Chip Stonehouse (now deceased) who was the son of one of the founding faculty members, Ned Stonehouse (New Testament). He served for years with John Murray, a Scotsman who taught Theology. Ned died in 1962. 2/9
At that time Chip told me that he was approached by John Murray who expressed love for his father but concern that he died watching TV on a Sunday and therefore, in Murray’s view, breaking the Sabbath. I asked Chip if he was offended and the good-natured Chip said not at all. 3/9
John was just the strictest person he knew regarding Sabbath observance.

Yet consider this. As a young man John Murray had been studying for the ministry in his denomination, the Free Presbyterian Church, when he became involved with a controversy over Sabbath-traveling. 4/9
His denomination called for disciplining church members who used public transportation to get to services on Sunday. A minister named William Matheson publicly opposed this ruling. He argued that if a person had no other means of getting to Sunday worship it was not a sin 5/9
to use public transit. John Murray supported Matheson who was eventually expelled from the denomination. Murray was told that unless he changed his views he would not be ordained. So Murray instead entered the (American) Orthodox Presbyterian church.

The point? 6/9
No matter how strict and conservative (or progressive) you think you are, there is always someone stricter than you who thinks you have sold-out your principles. Everybody in the world except the single most extreme person on the Right and Left-(there has to be 1 of each!) 7/9
—is a centrist compromiser. Let criticism drive you to the Scriptures so you can be more deeply grounded in the Word. If someone says you are being less than biblical—always take that seriously.

But think of these questions: Is God one or three? Is Jesus divine or human? 8/9
Is God sovereign over history or are we responsible free agents? Is poverty the result of individual irresponsibility or of oppression and injustice? The biblical answers to each of these questions are going to look like some kind of Third Way centrism (though they are not—
they are actually off the spectrum of human thought categories). So don’t let the bare critique of “centrism” bother you! Everyone is a "centrist" in some way (except for those two people). 9/9
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