The Swinging of the Pendulum

The swinging pendulum reminds me of the Christian life.

For a book I avoided for so long, I am sure getting a lot out of it.  The study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians has been great for my spiritual development.  I know I am in great company because many of things that Paul admonished the Thessalonians about, are some of the same things with which I struggle.

He had to correct them about the “Day of the Lord.”  He gave them some truth in 1 Thessalonians, and then they swung the pendulum too far over to the left and he had to come back and correct their thinking again.   This is what has recently happened to me.  In the last four or five years, I began to explore and embrace Reformed Theology, and because of my personality type, and my prior church experience, I swung the pendulum too far to the right – no pun intended.

The wrath of God is upon sinners, yet God loves the world.  How do we reconcile those two truths?

I discovered through the Scriptures and other reformed authors that God has used the foolishness of preaching to bring sinners to a saving knowledge of Himself.  We presume on the grace of God when we exclude the bad news of our fallen state from our gospel presentations.  The Wrath of God is upon mankind must be proclaimed if we are going to encourage the unconverted to flee to Christ for safety.  But will I ever be able to say again, “God loves you,” to the unconverted sinner?


With the help of John Frame I was reminded that God sends rain and sunshine; He gives food for all living things; and He calls people to faith and repentance.  The gospel has brought about improvements in society, in the condition of the poor, in marriage and families, in political and economic freedom, in justice, in education, in work ethic and many more (Doctrine of God, p. 433).

“The wrath of God is upon unrepentant sinners,” AND “God loves you!”

There, I said it.  Now my pendulum is headed toward the middle.


Brian L. Spivey

2 thoughts on “The Swinging of the Pendulum

  1. mmmm hmmm, now you’re preaching to the choir!

    It’s important for us to be cognizant of our tendency to swing too far one way or the other, especially in response to theological controversy. We are in danger of overemphasizing some aspect of the truth in order to combat an opposing doctrinal error. Case in point, the Puritans generally condemned all recreation on the Lord’s Day because King Charles II officially approved of and sanctioned it. However, recreation on the Lord’s Day is not specifically condemned in Scripture and (I think) a matter of individual conscience.

    With regard to your last comments:

    It’s in the context of God’s holy wrath against sin that His redeeming love is so glorious and beautiful. We need to preach both. I’m in your “Amen” corner….

  2. I should also add that since confessions of faith are usually written in response to the prevailing doctrinal errors of their day, we should be mindful of this when considering their declarations and evaluating them. Always back to Scripture…

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