Grace Versus Law - How About a Little Visual Evidence?

Tim and I have been grace teachers and preachers for many years - probably a decade or so. But it was just over three years ago when the Holy Spirit led my Preacher to preach it straight up, hard, and exclusively. Golly. Is there another way to preach the Gospel? (I know...Paul was so sweet and professional about it, and he mixed it with law like crazy, right??)

Out went the mini behavior modification seminars. Performance based Christian living was dealt a death blow in our church. Mixture of any sort was put on a shelf. We took a chance, baby! After all, people might throw sin parties, or become do-nothings.

Oh well. It was pure grace, pure New Covenant, or it didn't get taught. A few literally didn't know what had hit them. Therein lies the sad truth: they didn't know. As in, had not heard it preached quite that way. As a church we were told, week in and week out, that our salvation was a Holy Thing, an act of the grace of nothing. The writings of dead moralists were examined respectfully. (Gasp! I know, right? "Who has the courage to touch the 'holy Oswald'?!", as a dear Jewish friend of ours joked this past week...)

Yeah. "Oswald chapter 7 verses 11 through 15", Wesley 3:16, and Bonhoeffer 1:1 was challenged, held up to the light of Scripture, and parts of it found to be slightly less than the inspired word of God. That messes with the juju of some people's universe. And make no mistake - Oswald is one of our very favorite dead guys. We read him daily - but read him with a firm New Covenant foundation built under us.

We were accused of seeing things in Scripture that were "fringe" at best. After all, the ones upset were not familiar with the big picture, or even with a lot of historic Bible teachers that fell outside their doctrinal performance confines. I do not fault them for that, whatsoever. Such is the case with most of the modern church. We did our best to defend the Gospel and not ourselves, not always succeeding, but refusing to name-drop in some misguided effort to convince the critics, who by that point were even hurling words like "cultish" around. (Whew...a word I would tremble before using against a church. I fear God and love the Bride too much...) But we knew we could name drop.

Fast forward. Harvest is still not a mega church. Or even a big church. But we have been a faithful church. And we are a joyful church...a relating church...a healthy church. Tim is still preaching the Gospel. I think he preaches it with even more bliss and passion than ever. A young man approached him in a Starbucks recently, and asked him to sit in on a men's small group (in another church) which he is facilitating, one that is exploring the issues of New Covenant grace. He asked because, in his words, "You are kind of becoming known as one of the foremost grace teachers in the city." My Tim said he would do it if he could clear his schedule, and have the blessing and permission of that church's pastor. Permission was given - we'll see what comes of it.

Which brings me to my next point. Why do I re-tell our story from time to time, here on this blog? Why not let it lay where it the dusty annals of history, long since moved on from? Because I get new visitors to this blog every week, and based on their search words, they are just now becoming clued in on issues of law versus grace. Some are coming out of Jewish mysticism. A few email me. They visit this blog, and some weep as they read. Some of them could be in the exact same place in their respective churches as Harvest was a few years back - feeling a bit persecuted, needing someone to come alongside and encourage them. (Thank God for our Master Builders oversight!)

Encouragement is a profound thing. I plan on encouraging you, and every visitor to this blog, in the grace of God. Sometimes, that will involve some context...some background...some personal "war stories"...and the resulting "victory stories".

Fringe movement? Are you kidding me? I went to my local Christian bookstore last week, and spent a mere five minutes snapping pictures with my smart phone...I didn't even dig! Here is what I saw:

New book. "Freedom From Performing - Grace in an Applause-Driven World"

new book, "...the tired supergirl's search for grace". Wow. This girl might be my BFF.

new-ish book - note the author. Mmmmmm-hmmmmm. Not quite your "cult" material.

Still not convinced? Still worried your grace-preaching pastor, in your small midwestern or east coast or west coast church might be dabbling in dorky doctrine?  Well.  I saved the best for last:

Yeah. Good old Chuck. "Believing in Grace is One Thing, Living it is Another". When Tim and I said the exact same thing, a few years back, there was talk of burning us at the stake. (Just kidding....but I'm not far from the truth.)

There is another great book Tim and I have been discipling people out of for over ten years, "Grace Plus Nothing". (The title of which was scorned and excoriated and darn near spat upon by a very, very few...perhaps it would have been better received if it had been titled "Jesus Plus Nothing", but that is an exercise in word semantics. The law was given....Grace came. Grace is a person, and His name is Jesus. Search this blog - been saying it for years.)

One time, years ago, it was either Tim or me who remarked how many times the word "grace" is written in the New Testament. I remember a worried someone astutely pointed out that, though "grace" was mentioned "X" amount of times in the New Testament, "Jesus" was mentioned "X" amount of times more.

Yeah.  It really happened.  (Like grace is something SO DIFFERENT from the person of Christ)  That's the sort of thing that makes a Bible teacher want to drop an anvil on his own foot, or smack his own head against a brick wall.

Friends, this New Covenant, Jesus-centric Grace-Gospel is well on its way to being preached with a purity we have not seen in over a hundred years. I am excited to be part of a REAL move of God.

Join me?

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