The DARK color page bothers me somewhat. Regarding sin, there are things I'm working on theologically speaking. Though there is one question I felt confident in asking.
I asked in class, "Is this okay? The transition between DARK and RED goes like this:
'But God has a wonderful plan so that you and I don't have to be punished for our sins.'But I'm wanting to include the word 'already' because His plan was set forth from the beginning, that Jesus would come and die for our sins and reconcile us to God. Can I say,
'But God knew from the beginning that we would have this problem and he already had wonderful plan so that you and I don't have to be separated from God'?"
Her reply was, "Michele, this comes down to fine points in theology. We don't want to get into theology with kids."
I said, "Okay, though to me, saying the word 'already' gives them a small dose of comfort to know that their sin is not the totality of God's concerns."
She said, "Yes, of course, there's nothing wrong with saying the word 'already' and this is certainly a variation that is up to you personally."
I thanked her.
Next, during the CLEAN page presentation there were many statements that a prayer would enable them to receive Christ and be saved. To me that was off the mark, and I knew that as long as I was gracious, my next "can I?" question should be well received.
"Got another 'can I?' question," I ventured with a grin. "So, when we are preparing the child to review and respond to the gospel, can I, instead of postponing salvation to think about praying to receive Jesus 'in a little bit,' can I instead encourage them to realize that if they believe those things that they have become a child of God? I'm thinking specifically of examples where, even before the apostles were done preaching, the Holy Spirit fell upon those who were listening and hopefully this is exactly what would happen while we are preaching, too. We want them to look back on this moment and know they're reconciled because they had faith, not because they prayed the prayer, right? That the promises of God are the source of their assurance, and we don't want to postpone them from that foundation of the Word?"
I got a "Wow, yes," from both teachers regarding that. Phew!
"One more 'can-I' question, if you don't mind?" I asked a little later. "On the CLEAN page, as soon as I give them assurance by reading their name into John 1:12, and then I ask them,
'Now what happens if you sin again?'can I do this? Can I flip right back to the RED page? I want to ask them,
'If you sin again, well, tell me, what happened at the cross? Did He die for that sin? Yes! He did! And because you believe He died for those sins, what? The CLEAN page reminds us that we are a child of God, right? Yes! That will never change, will it? So when you sin you go right back to the cross and remember what He did, there, okay?'and then I can go into next how they ought to confess their sin?"
Another "Yes!" with an illuminated smile. She liked that idea a lot, because it puts the cross of Christ as the central fixture of the Christian walk. I love it! With one KA-POW! I knock out all the cults. I saw a lot of Catholics and other teenagers beg to understand that part of the Wordless Book at the fair.
I am thankful that somehow my editions to the CEF gospel were allowed and even taken well!
Because I know my opinions don't matter, and most likely they never will. I live down here in the real world where, if I want to serve with the support of those who make me qualified, I have to be incorporated into what is already available. CEF has a few bits of unsound principles to their gospel, but if I happen to know better (theologically), then what should I do?
Truth and grace advance one another.
I attend a church where free grace has gone into retirement. The leadership has packed up and moved away. The congregation is asking itself, "where are we now?" I listen and this is what I hear from fellow congregants:
"I understand, and I agree that we are saved by faith alone but I've always believed that."
"I understand that everything we do now matters in eternity but what about holiness? I know we're saved by faith but God wants us to live holy lives!"
"The pendulum for awhile was swinging away from Lordship Salvation, toward Free Grace; and now the pendulum is swinging back the other way."It didn't impact sufficiently did it? Then there are some at my church who have decided that free grace is a divisive teaching. After seven years of graciously and patiently preaching the free grace gospel Sunday mornings and the doctrine of eternal rewards in the evenings, it is impossible to know why it would not take root.
I hold that reputation is nearly everything, it is more important than "being right right now."
I'm concerned to think that my church might be a microcosm of the movement, fast-forward say a few more years. I consider how few evangelicals have heard of the doctrine of eternal rewards. It has the power to completely overthrow the backloaded gospel. Think about what we're asking, for some people. It completely re-orders how they understand their walk with God. For some Christians it's a big deal.
It is incomprehensible how the LORD only let me in on the tail of seven years of free grace teaching. That is why it hurts so much that free grace is gone. It is surreal to have such confirmation only to be left alone again. My voice never mattered, but when I could say that others believe as I do, then I had legitimacy. Since 2005 I have been saying, "Can I?" to pastors and friends. They thought I was wrong even though I had the Word, but when I found free grace, whose mission is to protect the integrity of faith which saves, I wasn't wrong any longer. I need others with titles, experience, and a reputation, in order to make it!
Though that is not completely true. Being alone now with little more than God, well, He's not so bad a partner. Every day I wake up and put on the fragrance of the joy of the LORD. I went back to my old, soft-LS class and raised my hand, then was told hence-forth that I should not disagree in the presence of the class. Still I see God's power in my life. Defending the doctrine of faith alone to justify and sanctify turns out to be a full time job, always something here or there to say and for some reason, I am used for that job and I am pleased!
My goal is to both submit to theological authorities who are in some things wrong, and still speak the truth manifesting hope in them. When I can't speak, I always have faith which is His Spirit accomplishing much on my behalf. I don't give up on the truth. How could I? For that reason free grace means so much to me. I want to see it endure. I need it very much.
"Can I?" -- That's theology in the real world. Where having friends who will stand up with me, saves not only my passionate conscience amongst the saints, but most significantly the power of God's truth.