Friday, June 3, 2011

Biblical Grace Under Assault

Marc A. Dupont (Published by NECF)
Mantle of Praise Ministries, Inc.
November 2010

God's grace does not give us the freedom to do what we like and get away with it. It releases the power of God's Word and Spirit to become individuals conformed to Christ.

Over the last few years a number of ministries have embraced a perception of grace that, Biblically speaking, is demonically distorted. True God given grace does not give us the freedom to do what we would like and get away with it. Rather, it releases to us the power of God's Word and Spirit to become individuals conformed to Christ Jesus. Two passages found in Romans- 8.29 & 12.2 both address the conformity God is after in our lives. Perhaps more directly to the point, however, is Peter's writing found in 1 Peter 1.14-16, which reads:

"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

1) The assault of Old New Age Gnosticism

There are three primary sources feeding the current perversion of grace. First is a resurgence of Gnosticism. This, in essence, as with much of ancient Gnosticism, is a false separation between what is spiritual and what is physical. In ancient Gnosticism there was the teaching that the two were completely unrelated. In effect the belief was that what one believed and nourished in the spiritual realm was unrelated and untouched by one's actions within the physical realm...............

2) The Assault of the Fear

As much as the church growth movement has been a help to many leaders for the last several decades, I believe, it has also proven to be a curse for some. It has mandated the wrong measuring stick. God measures the success of leadership by things like obedience, fruitfulness, and the making of disciples. Strictly using the 'nickels, noise, and numbers formula' to qualify/quantify one's ministry is like trying to assess heaven by earth's standards. By many church standards today Jesus would have to be labeled as a poor leader due to His message of 'eating His body, and drinking His blood'. Because of that message He went from the multitudes following Him to barely the twelve. It would be a contemporary pastor's worst nightmare. Jesus, however, measured success by obedience to the Father, not the accolades of man or the size of the crowd!.............

3) The Assault of Unsanctified Compassion

Due to past movements, which practiced a focus on the control of individual Christians, the word 'accountability' has almost been thrown out the window. Accountability, Biblically speaking, is not so much a thing of control, but rather of encouragement and strength. The truth is all healthy relationships demand some sort of accountability in order to function well. A relationship where there is a fear, or pride, based resistance to honesty is doomed to fail to reach it's potential.............

Pseudo Restoration

Due to the onslaught of adultery taking place among church leaders today there has arisen a common scenario of what I call 'pseudo restoration'. Pseudo restoration is a less than real healing process that in many ways is simply waiting until the dust settles and then reinstating the still fallen leader back into their ministry position. Pseudo restoration has more to do with spinning the message than it does true accountability of the messenger...........

True restoration takes time.
As stated it takes time to allow God's truth to filter past layers of guilt, shame, and bring about deep down change at the root level. It takes time to rebuild equity and trust between a leader and his/ her followers and supporters. It takes time to close the doors to condemnation so that the enemy can no longer manipulate one through the memories of sin. It takes time simply to rebuild trust in one's own self towards one's own will. When we see patterns over several years of sexual sin, or financial impropriety, or substance abuse some of the blame lies at the church which places greater value on that stumbling leader's ministry than on the leader as a person in need of true, not false, compassion.

"If the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?"

Full articles here NECF.

Related articles:
Caution: "Destined to Reign" by Joseph Prince
“Destined to Reign” book review by Dr Gordon Wong

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