More “Cheap Grace”?

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More “Cheap Grace”? – 12 September 2007

“Religion/Spirituality/Salvation” is the title of an article from John Bardsley that appears in the 7 September 2007 issue of The Vision – The Newspaper of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church.

In this article, which refers to “Amazing Grace – William Wilberforce and the Campaign to End Slavery, pp. 7-8, Eric Metaxas,” John Bardsley seems to be an apologist for what Dietrich Bonhoeffer labeled “cheap grace.” *

After mentioning John Wesley, Charles Wesley, and George Whitefield as members of the Holy Club at Oxford University in the 1730’s, and ‘the trio’s fussy doctrines and white-knuckled efforts to be “holy” and “moral,”’ he says:

“that the Bible didn’t teach that we must work harder at becoming perfect and holy, but that we must instead throw ourselves on God’s mercy.

Moral perfection wasn’t the answer: Jesus was the answer. Jesus had been morally perfect, and we weren’t supposed to save ourselves – we were supposed to ask him to save us.”

Yes, we are saved by God’s grace and mercy; but it doesn’t stop there. Grace isn’t cheap. We are saved for good works – Ephesians 2:10:

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
~ New American Standard Bible

Also, why would John Wesley write A Plain Account of Christian Perfection – As Believed and Taught By Rev. John Wesley From 1725 to 1777? Wesley’s opening statement in this book is –

“What I purpose in the following papers is to give a plain and distinct account of the steps by which I was led, during a course of many years, to embrace the doctrine of Christian perfection.”

That’s right! John Wesley embraced the doctrine of Christian perfection!

In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says:

48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
~ New International Version

“Perfect” is translated from the Greek word τέλειος that means perfect, complete, or finished.

Furthermore, in John 14:12 Jesus tells His listeners:

12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
~ New King James Version

* In The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, New York: Macmillan, 1963, p. 188, the author writes:

“If there is no element of asceticism in our lives, if we give free rein to the desires of the flesh…we shall find it hard to train for the service of Christ.”

So much for “cheap grace”! Isn’t it interesting how those who, for whatever reason, resist changing for the better try to discourage others from moving up the ladder of “perfection”?
 


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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