Unconditional Love. It’s all about establishing trust. When our only daughter (only child for that matter) headed off to college it became painfully obvious that my wife and I were about to experience a “loss” in our lives that we only understood on paper, not in reality. After 19 years, with only three children around the household (my wife, daughter and I), there was a pretty inseparable bond that had formed. Some might call that codependency. We called it camaraderie and love.Total love, total trust. The sort of glimpse that God gives us into His heart toward His sons & daughters.
Fast forward only a few months and we just knew that a replacement “child” was on the way, from somewhere. Let’s face it, we can’t produce one ourselves anymore so let’s go buy one.I mean, come on. You can’t live this way for too long, right? Enter Barnabas. A tiny little toy poodle (you can see him in the photo the day he came home). Before too long we understood why dog spelled backwards is God.
In our final installment of the Legalism vs. Hyper-grace discussion, I’m pinpointing three areas of concern that can act as deterrents to the Church’s level of obedience and effectiveness.
Tolerance – Tolerance, much like its counterpart, compromise, has plagued the American church, in my view, by clouding right vs. wrong issues that are intended to be crystal clear. In essence, tolerance is a good virtue, in fact it’s an emotion or reaction that has the capability of being Christ-like. The problem is that tolerance is not synonymous with love, nor is it a fruit of the Holy Spirit or even a term that is mentioned in the bible; and I’m not even able to find its equivalent in scripture. I say all of this to uncover the very blunt realization that tolerance isn’t really biblical, unless associated with a greater truth and applied in the right context. It’s apparent that our culture would teach that tolerance is interchangeable with love, and although important to accept other people, (Jesus didn’t show partiality) it’s not an act of love to reinforce those who are wrong, like the Pharisees.If love mirrored tolerance than why would the mark of those who love Him be to follow His commandments?
In Part 1 of our blog series, we prefaced the spectrum (hyper-grace to legalism) of thinking in the American church and uncovered a few biblical truths that are too often passed off as hyper-grace postures. In this entry, we’ll likewise expose biblical principles that put on the façade of legalism, but in actuality convey the truth of the Gospel.
Three Trouble Areas:
One Way, One God
In a universal world, many roads lead to heaven, but in a biblical world, with a narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14) there is actually only one way to heaven. I suppose it’s a matter of what world you choose to live in. Confessing an “exclusive” perspective on this point is NOT legalism, it’s scriptural. In fact, Jesus declares in the above Matthew verse that “wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” This doesn’t need to be condemning but it does speak to the exclusivity of how we can approach God the Father. Through Jesus. Period.
America the Beautiful- ‘Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great.’ – Dr. Ben Carson
‘America the Beautiful’ serves as many things, all of which are truly valuable. In it you’ll receive an American history lesson, a personal rags-to-riches testimony, expert analysis of our healthcare system from the Director of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, and many other assorted political, social and “religious” proposals that in the very least are worth considering with all due seriousness.
We’ve all probably heard of both extremes of this spectrum in the Church. Hyper-grace has been identified by many of the Church’s watch dogs as a theology which focuses too much on grace and dismisses things like discipline, transformation and repentance. Legalism, likewise, is often seen as a traditionalist, ultra-conservative view that seemingly points more frequently to Old Covenant theology and assuages the redemptive work of Jesus.
Perhaps the key in this is finding moderation between the extremes and exposing falsehoods put out by either side, while even debunking myths that masquerade as extreme, but contain biblical truths.
While exploring the Legalism to Hyper-grace spectrum , it’s important to note that finding moderation between the extremes is in no way hiding or finding the politically correct ground; this isn’t a centrist view, in fact, it’s far from it, this is seeking out and finding the truth between the extremes. In the same manner, we must not abandon boldness in our search for moderation. In other words, moderation, in this case, is not non-confrontational, it’s bold.
Knowledge – Awareness – Intentionality – Obedience
For those of us who find practical tools (something we hang our hats on at Live with Purpose Coaching) useful in accomplishing things and moreover boosting your spiritual livelihood, KAIO could change your life. The system focuses on accountability and action with what God has for you on a weekly basis.
Rather than “over-spiritualizing” things or simply going through the motions, Pastor Adam Bower has developed a tool, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to escalate old-fashioned obedience in the modern American Church. He calls it KAIO.