Amidst the many controversies in the Christian church today, there seems to be one that clearly stands out head and shoulders above the rest, and that is the one many refer to as ‘hyper-grace’ or ‘the gospel of grace’ or ‘the grace revolution’. I’ve heard some even say that there are now two camps in Christendom; the 'mixture camp' and the 'grace camp'. Both claiming to be correct in their interpretation of the scriptures and defending their stand, and sadly too often accusing the other of heresy, deception and misinterpretation. As a result believers are almost forced to make a choice and identify themselves with one or the other.
Like any reformation or revolution, there are extremist on both ends. In the 'grace camp', there are those who take the grace of God to extremes and thus allow those of their ‘opposition’ to justify their accusations and assumptions about their supposed heretical teachings and beliefs. In the 'mixture camp' there are those who for so long have believed and proclaimed the same message that they feel longevity and popularity qualifies and validates their self-proclaimed correctness, and thus heartlessly (all too often) attack and oppose those who they perceive to be misled or deceived in the ‘grace camp’.
Those who actually take the time to research and make the effort to hear and see for themselves the doctrine or interpretation of the scriptures the so called ‘grace camp’ is eagerly and openly embracing, end up discovering that the accusing and slandering voices are all to often baseless and driven by self-preservation. What I mean by that is the preservation of their ‘established legacies’ and the financial benefit and lifestyle those legacies generate. After serving and being exposed to it for some thirteen years and having now experienced both ‘sides’ of the spectrum, believe me, my assessment is more accurate than any of them would probably be willing to admit. I too passionately spoke and campaigned against anyone I perceived or was told was a 'once saved, always saved grace preacher' ― That is until I made the decision, for myself, to investigate (with an open heart and mind) and see for myself what exactly it was that I was so fervently opposing, accusing and slandering, and why! ― My life was radically transformed and I will never look back!
The following portion of scripture was my guide and motivation for launching my own personal investigation. Not only was I a voluntary victim who knew no better and thus willingly subjected myself to the control and manipulation of the mixed and legalistic interpretation of scripture, but I honestly thought I was living in God’s perfect will! Looking back, I realize how foolish that approach was …
Acts 17:10-13 (NLT)
10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble.
Once I was able to determine the facts and see the reality of the controversy for myself, I have to admit, at first I felt angry. Angry at those whom I had trusted to teach me the truth for so long and realized that they had not! But then I also had to admit that they were only teaching out of what they were taught and the interpretations of scripture they had inherited from their teachers and mentors. Much of it sadly tainted by the extreme skewing of the word of faith and prosperity movements.
In my opinion, the motive and intention behind the accusations hurled at the ‘gospel of grace’ (often referred to as the 'grace message' or 'hyper-grace') are not out of a genuine desire to see believers continue living in truth but out of the self-preserving desire and attitude mentioned.
The type of controversy we are seeing in Christendom in our time, goes all the way back to the days of the early church. In those times it was the Pharisees and Sadducees (teachers of legalism) who opposed, accused and slandered the first apostles (teachers of grace). Today, it is the so called 'word of faith' and 'prosperity' movement ‘fathers’ (teachers of legalism/mixture of law and grace) who accuse and slander those whom God is using to restore the purity and pedigree of the Gospel (teachers of grace)! Here are some examples:
Acts 17:13 (NKJV)
But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds.
Acts 13:45 (NLT)
But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.
The reason why the leaders of the 'established religion' in the days of the early church viciously opposed what the apostles preached was for the same self-preserving reason we see today; They did not want their established system of faith and doctrine challenged because of how it would affect them, not the people! ― Scripture shows us clearly that their accusations and slander was based on lies and hearsay, it had no truth in it. Its purpose was to simply degrade and discredit the message of grace (and no law) the apostles preached! ― The very same thing we see happening in our time!
No one likes to be challenged, but unless we are challenged, how will we ever know if we have discovered all there is to know about God and us in relation to God? ― Most life-changing discoveries in our history were as a result of someone challenging the status quo!
For more, check out our video playlist titled "The False Accusations the Gospel of Grace Faces and Why" at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/newcreationchurchsa/videos/
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