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Knowledge, action in balance guide Christianity

When the Apostle Paul wrote his Letter to the Ephesians he split it neatly in half. The first three chapters deal with doctrine while the last three chapters discuss practice. His implication -- understanding the faith should lead us to Christian behavior in our daily actions. However, Paul's premise can be lost when we emphasize one aspect more than the other.

There are those who place greater stress on what we know than how we behave. Christianity has always been a knowledge based faith, requiring its adherents to understand its teachings in order to avoid heresy. Understanding is also necessary if one is to exercise faith for salvation; after all, how can we believe if we do not understand (Romans 10:14).

On the other hand, there are those who champion behaving over knowing. In fact some are threatened by knowledge, feeling that too much of it can result in heresy that distorts the faith. One's Christianity should not be expressed in deep concepts, but in everyday actions. Faith, as the Apostle James writes, without works is dead.

As with most extremes, the answer is found in the midst of the opposing views. In this case, Christianity lived correctly, is expressed outwardly what one embraces inwardly. Without this balance, Christianity becomes distorted. We either come across hypocritically implying: "Do as I say not as I do" or we become staunch legalists enforcing a long list of regulations.

True Christianity challenges us to live what we know, and know what we live.

Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.