21 January, 2014

I Question This "Grace" Trend

I know even as I type the first sentence of this blog, that this one will draw fire and criticism, but I feel this must be said. There will be many who disagree with me. Some will accuse me of being legalistic. Others will have far worse to say, but that's OK. I'm going to speak my mind on this anyway. So, here goes.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 5 years or so, (or if you are not a Christian or do not attend church) then you know that the most popular trend in preaching right now is on "Grace."  Let me say from the outset, that grace is a wonderful thing. Without God's grace, we are all without hope. John Newton's hymn, "Amazing Grace is so powerful because of the truth that it is only by grace by which we are saved. So let me be clear, I am not speaking against grace. That said, I must say that much of what is being preached and taught as "grace" today is a shame. It is the latest buzz word in the Christian circle that sells books and draws crowds. It also is leading people astray and causing many to turn their backs on Christ as many are presenting a view of grace that implies that God simply over looks our sin, or put another way, gives us a license to sin and proclaim grace. A good way to view it is to compare it likewise. Here in America there is a legal loophole called "Diplomatic Immunity" which allows foreign Diplomats immunity from prosecution when they commit crimes on American soil. They can break a law right in front of the police and declare "Diplomatic Immunity" and they cannot be arrested or prosecuted. The Diplomatic Immunity provision is recognized in most countries as set up by the United Nations, but it was never designed or put in place with the notion of someone willfully going out and breaking laws and being free from prosecution. Over time, it has been abused however, and it is not uncommon for Diplomats to have hundreds of unpaid traffic tickets, or even much more severe crimes and they cannot be touched. (Unless their home country waives Diplomatic Immunity for them, thus allowing them to be charged.)  Anyway, many Christians have gotten to the place that they abuse grace in much the same way. They think they can freely and willfully commit sin and wave the "grace" card at God and God simply ignores their sin. I've read books by well known preachers who declare that God does not demand repentance of sin, only that we trust in His grace. They claim that anyone who expects another Christian to repent (turn from their sin and stop doing it) is legalistic and is attempting to put bonds on others.  This is either a gross misunderstanding of the Word of God, or a blatant false teaching. I contend that when a person is truly changed by faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice, and they understand the depth of grace that is afforded to us, grace will cause us to turn away from sin because we do not want to break the heart of the one who loves us so. So it's not salvation by works, but it is works because we are saved. 

This whole misuse of grace has bothered me deeply for several years now, and I've watched people I dearly love become deceived and fall back into sin and drift away from God. I've not penned much about this in quite some time because it always starts a fire-storm of controversy. But today I was speaking with a friend who has been in ministry for more than 40 years and he said something that disturbed me. He told me that he never understood grace until the past 2 years since he had started following the teaching of a preacher on television. We got into a very serious discussion about this, and I can't let go. Try this on for size. A man has been saved and preaching for nearly 45 years, holds a bachelors and Masters degree in Biblical Studies and he never understood grace until now?  I say that there is something deeply wrong with that picture. Sounds to me a lot like Paul's words to Timothy about how in the last days they would run to those who tickle the ears.

1 comment:

Robert Stilwell said...

Spot on, my brother! That's exactly what Paul is saying in the 6th chapter of Romans:

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

I agree that this type of false teaching is a perfect example of what Paul refers to in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, as well as the mindset of so many "professing" Christians today, "Tell me something that makes me feel good and doesn't hold me accountable for my actions."

So sad that so many will here those words from the Lord that bring about that final conviction, "I never knew you; depart from me..."