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  • Writer's pictureDon Walker

Head, Heart, and Hand

“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:38-40)

Jesus tells us that loving God involves the whole person. For that reason I have entitled this entry, “Head, Heart, and Hand,” to describe the lifestyle of a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. To follow the Lord fully it must involve my head (intellect), my heart (emotions), and my hand (serving others). To exclude one aspect in favor of another is to rend what should be a “seamless garment.”

Different groups within the Body of Christ have picked up on aspect or another of these three dimensions and made that the “whole” rather than a “part.” Some have focused on the heart - to them it is “better felt-than-telt.” Some have focused on the head – to them the knowledge of how to parse a Greek verb, or how to define supralapsarianism is of primary importance. Others have focused on the hand – to them the primary issue is that we are “saved to serve humanity.” Some believers are like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, without a brain. Others are like the tin man without a heart. While others never venture out of Oz, to help those along the “yellow brick road.”

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not putting any of these groups down because of their particular emphasis. But Christianity was never to be merely a “heart-felt religion” that was based upon feelings and emotional stirring. But neither was it meant to be merely a theological “head trip” that turns our faith into an intellectual exercise. Then again, Christianity is not another “social service agency” that simply turns believers into welfare workers. Yet, when the heart joins with the head and the hand, the whole Christ is made visible through His people.

My own journey has been through these various “parts” of the Body. I was converted in a Salvation Army church, managed a Salvation Army thrift store, and was preparing to enter the ministry as a Salvation Army officer. I then became involved with Pentecostals and charismatics. There I encountered people who carried a passion for the Lord that they were not afraid to express outwardly. (As a point of clarification, I do not mean to imply that non-charismatics are necessarily passionless or emotionally suppressed.) I later encountered reformed theology, I began to study Greek, I became a student of church history, I read Francis Schaeffer, Cornelius Van Til, R.J. Rushdoony, R.C. Sproul, and many others. (I recall speaking to R.C. Sproul many years ago, telling him I was the pastor of a charismatic church. His comment, spoken in all seriousness, was, “I love charismatics, they know how to worship, they know how to pray, and now some of them are starting to study the Bible.”) My journey has been through the hand, the heart, and the head. In this journey I have come to realize that each has its place, and that I need all of these parts to be a true disciple. I do not want a faith that has been “dumbed down,” nor do I want a faith that is passionless, and I do want to live in a Christian ghetto that is out of touch with the needs of the world.

I previously wrote something that I believe has application here:

“There is symmetry to Biblical truth that must be properly maintained. Paul admonished the Ephesian elders to follow his example and "preach the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), recognizing the necessity for the balancing of one truth with other truths. This is not to say that with an individual, church, or ministry there will not be a particular emphasis, but not at the exclusion of other truths.

There is a word called "equipoise" which refers to a body standing erect and balanced on two feet. The Body of Christ needs both feet, firmly planted on the Word of God, in order to properly stand. It’s not a matter of choosing either the right foot or the left foot. We need both in order to stand.”

May God grant us, both individually and corporately, to bring these three areas together in balanced way.

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