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Revival_Centres_Discussion_Forums > Bible, Beliefs, Scriptures and 'The Word' > Didaktikon debunks Revivalist 'Theology' Go to subcategory:
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Date Posted:06/12/2009 12:26 AMCopy HTML

Good morning, all.

Shoes wrote:

As mentioned in the Chatbox I particularly enjoyed this question and answer. Much has been said here about the doctrine of: "Speaking in tongues to be saved". Many Revivalists wouldn't understand at all the doctrine and underpinning scriptures of "Saved by grace". I would love to read Ian in a similar vein to above your explanation of being saved by grace alone. Failure to understand this is what left me in condemnation for so long in Revival.

Instead of attempting to write a systematic theological treatment on the subject of "grace" as it appears in Scripture, I've elected to set myself the far more manageable task of expositing two passages from Ephesians chapter two in a little detail. Verses four and five, and verses eight and nine, explicitly address the connection between God's grace ("cause") and human salvation ("effect"). Furthermore, in the latter passage Paul outright rejects any possibility of personal, human action or activity being involved in the event: salvation begins, and ends, with God. 

By way of a contrast, Revivalism places considerable stress on the direct action of the individual in effecting his or her redemption. He or she is taught that human effort is necessary to (a) achieving, and (b) to retaining one's "salvation". The former is generally introduced via the un-biblical concept of "seeking for the Spirit", where the candidate is urged to earnestly pray until "one achieves the victory" and babbles (even if hesitantly) away in "tongues" as for Revivalism, "faith" is consequent upon glossolalia. But the real human struggle begins after the point that "tongues" is reached. The respective Revivalist groups believe that salvation can be lost, in effect, that something that we might do can actually undo what God, through Jesus Christ, has done on our behalf! With this fear of failure being constantly reinforced by the Oversight, Revivalists spend their entire lives striving (and often struggling) to perform a list of "works" that they believe will assist them in "meeting the Lord in the air". They've reached this rather bizarre conclusion via the illegitimate interpretation of several key biblical passages, passages which when taken in context, teach something altogether different. Importantly, and significantly, the Revivalist position undermines Paul's explicit teaching on what it means to be "saved by God's grace apart from works of the law". Given their strong emphasis on "rules" and on conformity to certain accepted "behaviours", Revivalists present asbeing modern Western equivalents to the Judaizers that Paul contended with in his own day. Ergo, much of what he had to say about them, applies quite neatly to Revivalists.

The context for our discussion is to be found in verses one through ten of Ephesians chapter two. Therein Paul sought to contrast the former status of the Ephesian believers against their new status "in Christ", and he did this by explicating exactly what (or perhaps, "who") wrought the change. Of supreme significance our passage (specifically verse 10) teaches that "good works" result from a redemption by God in Christ, they don't lead to it!

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:1-10 (TNIV)

I'd like to hone in now, on those verses that specifically address the nature of God's grace.

ο δε θεος πλουσιος ων εν ελεει δια την πολλην αγαπην αυτου ην ηγαπησεν ημας και οντας ημας νεκρους τοις παραπτωμασιν συνεζωοποιησεν τω χριστω χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι

"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." (vv.4 and 5)

In verse four Paul introduces the impetus that effects our redemption: God's supreme and unyielding love for us! Put simply, humanity is the object of God's great affection; we are the "apple of his eye", his consuming thought, and his eternal passion. Biblically, "love" is presented as a choice rather than it is an emotion; ultimately "love" is the consequence of the desire to ensure the very best outcome for the object of one's affections. Love is also invariably sacrificial, and this leads us to the second revelation on the subject presented by our passage: a completely holy God graciously extends his mercy to us. We can be loved by God, we can enjoy the eternal benefits of his love, only because his compassion is extended to us. Scripture teaches that God is merciful, but also that he is righteous and holy. Righteousness demands the imposition of justice. Holiness demands the imposition of separation from uncleanness. Our lot should lead to God's judgment falling upon us; however, via the sacrificing of himself through his Son, God's compassion results in mercy. We receive the reprieve that we simply don't deserve, and which we simply cannot earn.

And what is the result? We have been "made alive with Christ", even though we were dead in our sins! God's love towards us, his mercy extended, enlivens walking corpses! Note clearly: God granted to us this life before we could have done anything to earn it (and, therefore, deserve it). We were still sinners when the transformation took place; there was nothing that we could do to effect the change, it began and it ended with God. "Tidying up one's life" didn't effect the transformation. Doing this or forgoing that didn't effect the transformation. Striving to "earn" right-standing with God didn't effect the transformation. One thing and one thing only did: mercy. God's mercy. And this is succinctly encapsulated by Paul's summary clause: "it is by grace you have been saved." Grace. Completely undeserved favour. Completely unmerited favour. Our salvation, our eternity, hinges and rests not on anything that we may do (or not do), but on God's grace towards us, and on it alone.

τη γαρ χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι δια της πιστεως και τουτο ουκ εξ υμων θεου το δωρον ουκ εξ εργων ινα μη τις καυχησηται

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one boast."

Grace. Saved. Faith. Three incredibly rich theological terms bound together in such a way that they can never be separated conceptually, though many legalists often try to. God's grace outworked through Christ's death on the Roman cross is what saves us, and we grasp this freely offered gift through simple faith. Crucially, there is an element to faith
which is the noun form of the verb "to believe"which often goes unrecognised by Revivalists. Faith isn't a "product" that is internally generated. According to verse eight, faith, even faith, begins and ends with God's activity and action alone. What is needed to believe is also a gift that is graciously extended from a merciful God to an undeserving humanity! Consequently one can't view faith as a being human "work", such that would result in us "earning" our righteousness. Contrast this with Revivalist "seeking", it's aims and supposed outcomes.

In closing I'd challenge you to compare what we've briefly considered against the credo of Revivalism: You must repent. You must be baptised. You must "seek" until you speak in "tongues". You must not drink. You must not smoke. You must attend all meetings. You must obey the Oversight. You must witness to others.

What presents as the common denominator in all of this legalistic nonsense? Upon whom does the emphasis for "salvation" rest? Is it God?



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Re:Saved by Grace

Date Posted:06/12/2009 6:51 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon
Good morning, all.

χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι


= perfect tense  !!!

Wow Ian you ARE on the ball. !!

( The perfect tense communicates a past action with a present effect. The past action is seen as completed ( the action itself is not continuing in the present), but it is not simply past history; it continues to have an effect in the present.  source:  Jeremy Duff, The Elements of New Testament Greek ..Third Edition. Cambridge University Press pp178 2005.)

Awesome one Ian !!

charis soi

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Re:Saved by Grace

Date Posted:13/12/2009 9:15 PMCopy HTML

Probably posting  this in the wrong thread, but have been spending a lot of time with a very damaged ex GRCer and over the last 6 month or so she has been attending our local Presbyterian Church and Bible study group. Lots of deprogramming has taken place and she is entering a real relationship with Jesus and is is seeing tremendous blessings in her life. There is a light after the darkness of revival, but its not easy to find if you are not preparred to search.
¡uıɐƃɐ ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ƃuıʎnq ɹǝʌǝu
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Re:Saved by Grace

Date Posted:13/12/2009 11:57 PMCopy HTML

Never mind Prezy, you got this right:

"darkness of revival"

And many of us who are now qualified as "ex'ers" can say "amen" to that. And those days in "revival" were indeed dark days but not all was bad. Even Ian admits there is some good to be found in the darkness of revival. After all he found his life partner there.

But the real problem with revivalism begins with their monumental failure to exercise full accountability to the whole body of Christ and to the whole contemporary Aussie community. And speaking along such lines, how weak and badly built is the word of God in revivalism when it is NOT built upon the Rock "Christ" but rather the sand of "British Israelism" and "pyramidology" and "numerics". And then to try and strengthen the sand by mixing it with legalism in the hope it might stop the "revivalist building" from toppling over especially with the Duker storm about to break. 

Anyway must away as I have to go pick up my travel insurance.

Blessings all

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