Tuesday, January 03, 2006
To Whom the Grace of God
I have thought that the Christian world is divided between two modes of grace. Not determinism and freedom of the will but modes of reception regarding those good things (like forgiveness and regeneration) that we enjoy and receive from God. Mode One: A view that Christ died to save the Church and individuals are the collateral beneficiaries of the graces given The Church. Mode Two: A view that Christ died to save individuals and those individuals, due to the effects of that salvation gather with the collateral effect that a church is created. Both institutions are stressed in the New Testament but which mode is embraced seems to have a massive distinction in our approaches to piety. Mode One produces Roman Catholicism and its Protestant descendants, those with a strong creedal and ecclesiastical framework (Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc.) while Mode Two is found in Anabaptists with modern Evangelicalism today. A question as simple as: Do We (the church) walk by the Faith of our Fathers expressed in an orthodoxy of creeds and confessions or do I walk by faith (my own affirmation that Jesus Christ is Lord)? "Anyone who would draw near to God must first believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him." Do you hear that personally or corporately? Is your faith some xerox copy (losing resolution and clarity with each generation) of the affirmations of the Church or is your church the expression of your own walking by faith? Are you more comfortable with being orthodox or biblical?