Monday, October 08, 2007

The Emerging Church and Blogging About Grace

I have been blogging for over four years now... which I guess last May was my anniversary. Missed it myself.

In that time I have been chronicling my journey in the emerging conversation which commonly is called the emerging church. I have seen the conversation change over the years and move from being "postmodern" to "a conversation" to a "movement". I have seen many whose lives have been changed for the better and some that have lost their faith... which i do not blame the ec about... as I have seen many walk away who were not even involved in the ec walk away.

I have seen many grow in love more and more with Jesus and mature more in their faith, and I have seen really ugly things as some attack others in the name of Jesus and in the name of truth.

I have been called every name in the book... which used to bother me until I realized that it is not me they are attacking but Christ in me. I do not and have never demanded that "all" need agree with me on all things as I accept people where they are at and choose to love them as Jesus loves me... unconditionally (as much as possible).

I know I have made mistakes along the way, yet in all of this know more and more that most often when we attack another, we have lost sight of Jesus. We have taken our eyes off of Jesus and placed them on others... or ourselves.

We all fail in the presence of Jesus. We all stand wanting and in great need in His presence... and that is how it should be. Yet, in His presence we also lack nothing and need nothing. What a powerful paradox!

On our own none of us are "right". We may be close to knowing right and wrong, yet, on our own we cannot know how right is to be used properly. In that we often start with "right" and even good intentions and are just plain wrong... we cannot sustain goodness on our own for any length of time.

Many think that we are saved by Grace through Faith... and then miraculously then all we do is as good a God is. Somehow after we believe in Jesus and receive His Life, some think that God just blesses all their own works from that day forward. That is a seductive lie. It is the lie Paul wrote against in Galatians 3. 1-5

"You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?"

Paul shows us that not only are we saved by Grace, but we are sustained by Grace and maintained by God's grace.

I have met many who teach contrary to this... i could name some big names. In fact some of my biggest critics teach that we whose fruit of self is turn to good when we are saved. I say again any fruit I produce on my own is always and will always be, rotten. The only Good Fruit, is of the Living Vine and we the grafted branch, can only produce the fruit from the source of the Life Giving sap as it flows through us. We are to abide in Christ... for in Him we have Life.

If one settles for accepting Jesus as just a "title" or even see Him as God, I see that as settling for less than what is given. For Life overcomes death in Christ Jesus. God is the God of he Living not the dead, so to be one's God, one must Live and Life is only in the Son.

I am amazed how often when I state these things I am called a heretic, liar or something worse. I am amazed that some who teach self righteous works as a form of godliness miss this truth... yet I see that they miss they are the ones who have fallen from grace to works... they have placed themselves under the Law and have forsaken grace by faith... for their salvation.

I do believe that one is saved, and can wander into works... yet I also see that some pervert the true gospel with this teaching. This is not as some call it, "old truth" it is "Living Truth" for our God is a living God...


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