Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Grace and Truth Paradox

I just finished this book... on loan from Jeff Noble. Here are some of my favorite parts and my thoughts.

The book is basically about having truth and grace in the Christian life... God never meant them to be opposites but compliments.
This is something I really struggle with... I tend to lean more to the side of grace (partly b/c of my Methodist influence and partly b/c I'm a people pleaser)

One of the things Randy points out is that non- believers LOVED to be around Jesus... they were friggin rippin off the roof to get to him! Why don't non-christians love to be around Christians? Jesus had this amazing way of showing grace and truth at the same time (think the woman at the well)

"our culture is riddled with the poisonous spirit of entitlement"
As Americans today we are so greedy and never stop to realize what we really deserve in life. We complain when things are not fair... when we don't get our way... when you really stop and think about what we DO deserve... it kind of floors you!

" John Newton "I remember 2 things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great savior"

"Grace never lowers the standard of holiness"
I think sometimes (at least for me) I want to almost water down God's truth to make it more "friendly" to non-christians... telling people that it will be ok if they sin... this is something Jesus never did... he always presented the truth in black and white with no sugar coating. Sometimes the truth is harsh and is hard to tell, but it shows true love and doesn't cheapen God's grace.

This story comes from a British comparative religions conference... scholars were trying to decide what made the Christian faith different from others... they couldn't think of anything until C.S. Lewis walks into the room and is asked his opinion... He simply replies "Grace" Only the Christian faith presents God's grace as unconditional. This so goes against human pride, that man never would have made it up. (and that's a major reason Lewis believed it)
Wow... that is something I never really thought about... but it is so true... and what a testimony to share with lost people

Last one... I liked this one b/c it relates this principle to politics
Liberals' commitment to fighting racism in the 60's was commendable. But sometimes liberals fight against true standards, like the beliefs that abortion, fornication, adultery, and homosexual behavior are wrong. They often embrace tolerance as a grace substitute. Liberal Christians often end up being liberals first, Christians second. Conservatives want to restore lost values. They want to go back to the days when prayer was allowed in schools. But they forget that the same schools that allowed prayer didn't allow black children! By trying to conserve so many things-even things that were clearly wrong- conservative Christians have sometimes been conservatives first, Christians second.


Anonymous said...

So glad you liked the book! It remains high on my list of favorites. Amazing how good it is when it's so small. You can't go wrong with anything Alcorn writes - including his fiction stuff.

dean said...

I like Alcorn too... but I was blown away to see on your sidebar that Mike Yaconelli's "Messy Spirituality" is your favorite book... mine too! Most have never heard of it (or him), so it was really refreshing to see that!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! Feel free to come back for more.

I know a few folks (all from the same family) from Hobbs. Our Sponsorship Director here at the Baptist Home, DJ Hale, is from there, and her mother still lives there and her son Justin moved back there and has been living there for a few years. DOn't know if you know any of those folks, but she tells me it's a pretty small town, so...

Anyway, I'll cetainly be praying for your family as you make the move back to NM. Did you teach at Monticello Schools? Some of our kids might know you :-)

Mandy said...

Never read that book but you make me want to borrow it next. :) I loved the points about being a liberal, or a conservative FIRST, and a christian second. Something that I've thought of a lot but never been able to really put it to words. The thing I struggle with the most is how to be truthful and have grace and remain UNJUDGEMENTAL. I think that I'd be considered a more "liberal" christian because of it. I lean towards the side of reminding ppl that we're all sinners more than the side of reminding ppl of God's laws and rules. (maybe b/c I have a hard time following some of them myself.. and does that then make me a hypocrit?) As you can see, my mind struggles!