However, taken to extremes, radicals in the first group might promote “cheap grace,” while extremests in the other camp might encourage “cooperating grace.” The first group, in their error, might present grace without any demands or compulsions. The second group might push the ideas of performance, demand, and compulsion too far.
In my own readings, I have been going back and forth between the “Grace Boys” and the “Law Boys.” Both groups are greatly concerned over the church’s errant teachings of that DEMANDED or COMPELLED by God’s free gift of love, mercy, and grace.
For the most part, these two camps agree in their soteriology. Their roots are all planted deeply in the Westminster Confession of Faith and other evangelical presentations of doctrine.
However, taken to extremes, radicals in the first group might promote “cheap grace,” while extremests in the other camp might encourage “cooperating grace.” The first group, in their error, might present grace without any demands or compulsions. The second group might push the ideas of performance, demand, and compulsion too far. Immoderate “Grace Boys” might lean towards antinomian sloppiness and Rob Bell-like universalism. Unbalanced “Law Boys” might find themselves drifting toward a Roman Catholic, Federal Vision, Wesleyan, or legalistic ideas of covenant keeping.
However, today in my reading, I have come upon a list that presents grace in all its glory. It is a grace that is both positionally and practically powerful. Here is a grace the changes relationships, thoughts, words, and deeds. Scotty Smith, in his book “The Reign of Grace,” communicates a full-orbed doctrine of grace that shows the loving Father gracing us where we are, and gracing us too much to leave us as we are.
Perhaps his thoughts will help ministers in their dialogue and presentation of God’s grace.
Perhaps this list will be of help to all disciples as we seek to walk in accordance with the grace that has been so freely given to us. The following list is not repeated verbatim. His thoughts have been reworded:
- Let us extend the free offer of grace while also extending a clear call for repentance.
- Let us warn against performance-based spirituality while also exhorting grace-based and grace-empowered obedience.
- Let us proclaim both the delights and demands of God’s love. Again, he loves us too much to leave us stymied in our development.
- Let us present a Gospel that delivers from both heart-felt pain and heart-invading idols.
- Let us see the ongoing value in God’s Holy Spirit who both comforts with his voice mercy and convicts with his truth.
- Let us be horrified over our ongoing performance-based legalism and our ongoing lack of practical holiness.
- Let us glory in the Father who has made unaltering promises to show both affectionate mercy and affectionate discipline.
- Let us, in our promotion of discipleship, run from the ideas of merit and demerit, while passionately seeking to worship and represent our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ more faithfully.
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.