“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
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
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
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”?