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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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    Sola Gratia is so un-American...

    There is no teaching in Christian theology that offends our contemporaries (especially our Christian friends and family), any more then the teaching of sola gratia. Americans hate to be told "no," that they are helpless. Surprisingly, the greatest opposition to the biblical teaching on this point comes not from a secular culture, but from household-name leaders in the American Church. From contemporary figures such as Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel to Bill Bright and Campus Crusade, to virtually all forms of revivalism and Pentecostalism which spring from the loins of one Charles Grandison Finney ... to Alexander Campbell and the Restorationist movement, to Joseph Smith and what later on became the cult known as Mormonism, to William Miller and the Adventist movement, and we can go on and on; all of these movements are based, at least in part, upon a denial of sola gratia, in direct opposition to Reformation theology, and the biblical teaching on this point. Americans hate to be told that God does not depend upon them and a decision that they make. And it is here, then, that we as Reformation Christians and historic Protestants run smack dab into our culture and to much of American Christianity. This is why our friends and families look at us like we have three heads when we speak of these doctrines. But this is the historic Protestant position, and the wholesale rejection of sola gratia demonstrates how far the "evangelical movement" has departed from the historic and biblical Evangelical faith. - Dr. Kim Riddlebarger, from his article "Grace Alone, an Evangelical Problem" found here.

    Posted by John Samson on August 15, 2009 11:00 AM

    Comments

    Amen. Sola gratia is one of the most precious truths in our faith. It seems evangelicals embrace Sola fide, but only in such a way as to attempt to divorce it from Sola gratia. You would think Eph 2:8 (at least) would be foundational to the doctrine of evangelical churches.

    This is going on facebook!

    Amen to that! I was so screwed up in the head and heart that just hearing I could die to myself and rest in Christ's Work was enough for me!

    You just can't kill a dead man anyway!

    The Gospel of "Sola gratia" is truly life after death!


    If you do not die and go to Heaven before you die, you do not go to Heaven!

    That's God's honest fact! Christ is a fact of History. He was born to a woman. He died a man. He rose again from the dead the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. He is Alive!

    Besides, to die daily as Christ teaches it is something one cannot do for oneself!

    Consider that we are to be crucified with Christ daily. What's that old saw of Paul's:::>

    1Co 15:31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!

    Ok, I can imagine nailing my legs to the Christian's cross. That's step one in this daily dying to self. That's the easiest part of "I die every day!". Next though is a bit trickier. I can imagine holding that nail steady enough in one hand at the point of impaling my wrist to the cross with a hammer pounding it through to the cross beam in the other hand.

    But what about step three then?

    I, with this analogy, point to the fact that I still need the "Holy Christian Church" to pick up the remaining nail and hammer it through my other wrist for me.

    That alone isn't enough. A few will still have to raise the cross up so that I die by my own body weight!

    Then there is also, after death, the burial and then YEAH, resurrection comes! Then night falls and I go to bed to awake to a new day where I start all over again and then again and then again and again and again til the day I go on to be with Him permanently in His Glory forever!

    I believe there is a daily death cycle the Holy Ghost leads us too that one must experience in the Household of the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

    What's that portion of the Apostles creed?

    "...I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    the Holy CHRISTIAN Church;
    the communion of saints;...".

    Oh yes, so death by communion within the Household of the Faith!

    Oh blessed death by the Hands of the Body of Christ indeed, daily!


    Mat 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
    Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

    Thank you for making a very important point so clearly and succinctly. Thank God for sola gratia -- without it, I would have been lost. And so may more.

    When teaching the doctrines of grace I frequently run into opposition on this point. I sometimes hear things like, "I have free will," and "God can't violate my free will."

    The Arminian misunderstanding of man's will aside, it has often puzzled me to hear people say there is nothing they can do to earn salvation and then insist it is their decision on which their salvation hinges.

    I don't think it's a uniquely American thing, however, it may be stronger in America than in other parts of the world given the reputation Americans have for a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps mentality.

    @Justin
    "If you do not die and go to Heaven before you die, you do not go to Heaven"
    I'm not sure I understand. Is there a biblical basis for this? Is there a name for this teaching that I might google it?

    Also, that one cannot nail oneself to a cross is interesting. I never noticed that. Do you know of any passages explicitly confirming that dying to oneself is monergic (sp)?

    Good stuff. I've been called a heretic for teaching this doctrine.

    Jason

    I would tred lightly in here with answering your comments as this isn't my blog.

    If there is no objection I would gladly respond?

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