I recieved an email this morning that reminded me that I forgot to follow up on my Sovereign Grace discussion.
Yep, that’s me, Scatterbrain. So I will address my concerns now so that I can keep my word, however late the hour, lol.
Anyway, I have been familiar with SG for several years, especially with the Joshua Harris courting book boom over the last decade. In addition, I have personal aquaintances either directly involved with a particular SG church or related to high-ranking leaders.
So I won’t be dropping names of persons or the specific church involved.
Folks I know who recently left their SG church complained about the following:
1.) Too much focus on sin.
2.) Too much focus on obeying the pastors.
3.) Too much elitism among the home schooling/courting crowd.
For the record, I have never been a member of an SG church nor do I plan to become one.
Firstly, the persons who complained felt that their church spoke far more about how sinful humanity was without balancing out that statement with an equally strong emphasis of God’s redeeming grace. If that was indeed the case, then my question would be why make an idol out of our sinfulness? True, there are far too many churches erring on the side of license, slapping a stamp of approval on whatever is convenient in the name of “grace.” But such grace is cheap and unbiblical, completely antithetical to what the Bible teaches us. But we don’t earn points with Christ simply because we keep reminding people how wicked we are. The gospel comes with a coordinating conjunction: “but.” We are sinners, BUT God sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. But the story does not end there because Jesus not only saved us FROM something but also FOR something (Eph. 2:10). It’s all about balance, not forced humility that is really nothing but spiritual pride.
Second, enough cannot be said about the obsession with submission when it comes to how believers relate to leadership. The Bible is clear that leaders are placed in the church by God and command our respect and submission. But they are NOT little Holy Spirit Jrs. who become bootleg go-betweens for us. The most effective leaders I’ve personally seen are those men and women whose humility, commitment to Christ, to the Word of God, and to the people attracted those they served. I don’t recall once ever having to tell the youth I served “I am your leader.” Character and humility speak much louder and do more kingdom good than obsessing about one’s position. In fact, I’m convinced that controlling leadership and legalism go hand in hand, converting folks not to Christ but to man-made rules that couldn’t save a Word document on my laptop, let alone an unregenerate soul.
Thirdly, I have heard enough horror stories about gossip mongers destroying the reputations of young men and women simply because they did not order their lives by the homeschooling/courting mandate. Frankly, I think good ideas become cultish when adherents squeeze out other options for saints. Homeschooling and courting are not essential doctrinal issues so why in the name of common decency would we allow folks to become marginalized by them? Something is wrong with that. We are not called to build our own little kingdoms with our own little rules. We need not encumber people already weighed down by sin with more nonsense that has nothing to do with the cross of Christ.
The Cross-centered life is not a life that tells only half the story. If we do that, we are merely plagiarizing some condemning script written by the Adversary. No, the cross-centered life tells the ENTIRE story, stresses the Good News of Jesus Christ, that despite our sinfulness and depravity, God has an answer and that Answer is Jesus, who gave Himself sacrificially for us.