Introduction to Gospel of Grace: Abraham
first Parents, by this Sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them, whereby death came upon all; all becoming dead in Sin, and wholly defiled, in all the faculties and parts of soul and body...From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions."
"We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul ... All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger ... The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul..."
Use of Biblical Truth By Which System Is Implemented
Any doctrine, honestly held, is acceptable to God and cannot limit fellowship between believers.
"Basis of Fellowship"
"Unity in Diversity"
we are right about Christ, we can be wrong about matters of doctrine."
"Perfectionists, Legalists, Pharisees, believe one must be right on every matter of doctrine."
"There should be room in the Christian fellowship for those who believe that Christ is the son of God, but who differ on eschatological theories such as premillennialism, ecclesiological matters such as congregational organization, on soteriological matters such as whether baptism is 'for' or 'because of' remission of sins"
"One who accepts the deity of Christ is God's child in prospect and my brother in deed."
"I agree with the brother who wrote that disagreements over instruments should not prevent us from enjoying a common Lord's table."
Whenever I see a man call God 'Father', I see a brother."
present frontier is the frontier of a grace-based fellowship with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. A truth began to dawn on us in the 1960's and 70's and increasingly through the 1980's. That truth is that God's grace extends not only to our moral imperfections but also to our doctrinal short-comings.
is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Rom. 4:8).
is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Rom. 4:8).
"We are Under Grace, Not Law, Rom. 6:14."
also believe that anyone who studies the Bible with a pure and sincere heart will be led by the Holy Spirit to complete their salvation. And I do pray that if in my ignorance I said or did something to wound or to cause a soul to reject baptism, that God will consider their life and if that is all that would cause them to miss heaven, that he will allow his grace to forgive us both."
"What is the basis of one's hope before God? Is it not that we sustain a right relationship with God through Christ? Therefore - does our salvation depend upon being right about everything or being right about Christ? In other words - if one is right about Christ then that one can be wrong about some doctrinal instruction without being lost, can he not?
"I believe I urged you once to get hold of Chuck Swindoll's book 'Grace Awakening'. Did you? I really wish you would if you haven't. I know brethren often look down upon reading works from outside sources, but there is much light we can gain even from those who are not all the way in the light. Max Lucado's book 'In the Grip of Grace' is pretty good too, though not nearly as meaty or as good as Chuck's. I know what brethren think about Max Lucado as well -- and I don't agree with Max's ecumenical leanings at all (his chapter on Rom 15 I totally disagree with) just as I don't agree with Swindoll's 'faith-only' views. But I believe overall Swindoll and Lucado are correct in showing that we need to change our focus and our motivations. 'We are not under law but under grace' (Rom 6.15)."
"It is a matter of overall focus. I have come to realize in the past few years that the focus in the gospel is the grace of God and the cross of Christ. While obedience is certainly important, my righteousness is not based upon my personal righteousness but upon God's grace. This is what churches of Christ have long lost sight of. There is so much focus on perfect obedience and perfect understanding and perfect agreement with each other. There is so much legalism and Phariseeism.
strife and division and negativism is killing us. And at camp we are trying to keep the focus positive and uplifting and to be "strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 2.1).
(Note: The application of this is seen in that the Bible class director for the camp is David Ford, from the institutional church in Edmonton, AB, Canada. The teachers are advertised as "chosen not only for their Biblical knowledge and teaching abilities, but also for their exemplary lives making them role models for the young people of the church"
"I believe in strict observance of God's book. I just do not think it is the basis of my justification. I am not under law but under grace (Rom 6.14). That does not free me from the need to obey God or from the conditions to his grace. But it does free me from the demand of being perfect. If I am wrong in MDR, I hope I will one day find out about it, but I know and am absolutely confident that it does not effect my salvation because I know my heart and I know my Lord."
(Note: Application of not "under law but under grace"permits belief and practice of error, typical application of Calvinism.)
"My salvation is not based on my 100% perfect knowledge. Thank God that my salvation is not based on whether or not I am correct on one topic. If it were, I would have no hope, for even if I were correct on MDR I would be wrong on something else, for sure. Are you 100% perfect in your understanding of all of God's word? If not, then why are you not a false teacher and an "enemy of the cross of Christ"? Is it because you pick and choose which things you can be right or wrong on?
"I too believe in the Biblical pattern and I try to call men to it. But simply because I happened to disagree with you on ONE issue, you marked me as a false teacher. It's your overall attitude portrayed in your articles and actions that are Pharisaical, arrogant and self-righteous.
"It is the idea that men must be 100% agreed on every issue in order to be in fellowship and everyone who is not 100% agreed with YOU is a false teacher. Right here is the whole crux. It is this gospel of perfectionism rather than of grace that I am opposed to. You place on men a yoke that 'neither we nor our fathers were able to bear' (Acts 15.10). There is no room or need for grace in your doctrine. It is rarely spoken about. Or if it is spoken of, it is mere lip service, because you make it all null and void by your actions. By forcing on everyone a yoke of perfection, you destroy the gospel of grace. The apostle Paul would have nothing to do with that kind of gospel. Most of what he wrote concerned that very issue. You "tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men's shoulders" (the load of 100% perfection)."
"I have contended that the guilty party cannot remarry because Jesus was referring specifically to the innocent party when he spoke of remarriage -- that is, He was silent as to the guilty party remarrying. But, again, in all fairness, we should admit that we are all having to make a judgment call on this--and where such judgment has to be exercised, we should not be disfellowshipping one another. This does NOT mean that this matter is unimportant or a matter of indifference. But we are simply letting the Lord be the judge in each situation..."
Grace "frees me from the demand of being perfect..."
We Preach Grace When We:
e-mail this author at email@example.com
Return to Watchman Front Page
return to February 1999 index