Sovereign Grace Issues

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.


9 thoughts on “Sovereign Grace Issues

  1. Wow, excellent post! I was trying to figure out which part to quote that really spoke to me the most…but I couldn’t! The whole piece packs alot of points in a short amount of space, so I would have to quote the whole thing!

  2. Great post! Furthermore, the Cross-centered life is not necessarily the Christ-centered life or Holy Spirit-filled life. Do you know what I mean?

  3. I agree – great post! Alot of reputations were destroyed by leader madates that were not commandments in scripture. They would make it sound as though their counsel was scripture. Then if you didn’t do what they said you would be labeled as in sin and might even be told your salvation was questionable. I did go to SGM and it is hard to get back to the foundations of the gospel being GOOD NEWS! That we should have joy and celebrate. I know the grace I received is not cheap or to be taken for granted. I know this not because SGM told me over and over and over how totally depraved and sinful I am. I know that grace is not cheap because my God suffered and died for me and rose again! I also have never known such true love and never will. I don’t need to be told how sinful I am to be sancified. I work out my salvation because of how loving my God is. I love Christ and want to be more Christlike because of my union with Him. I love him because He first loved me. I seek to change areas in my life to be more like Christ because I love Him and want to walk closely to Him.

    Thanks for the GREAT post. He came that we might have life and have it to the full!

  4. I agree with Ellie. Great post. I appreciated the way you clearly articulated your points. I like how you pointed out that some teachings, within certain communities, that have nothing to do with the gospel, work to marginalize those who don’t adhere to them. Jesus’ message worked to break down the barriers that divide and marginalize people, so why should we add emphases to His message that work to achieve the opposite effect?

  5. Thanks so much for your comments. I hadn’t a clue whether anything I said actually made sense. And thanks to those who posted links to their respective websites/forums. I certainly hope that the will of God prevails for the saints in this drama and that ultimately His agenda, not ours, wins out. Peace and strength in Christ to you all. 🙂

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