Sovereign grace

"Blown here and there by every wind of teaching", Eph.4:14.

There is quite a bit of push-and-shove in the Anglican church these days. The sacramental, liberal, charismatic and social justice battles continue their merry way, along with an increasing conflict between the Church Growth accessing management marketing cause and the doctrinaire proselytizing purity cause.

These troubles find their origins in theological shift. The shift has to do with our understanding of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. Many Anglicans have moved away from what Wesley called "a full understanding of justification". By this he meant, justification is achieved and sanctification progressed, by the same mechanism, namely a gift of God's grace appropriated through the instrument of faith. We have moved slightly on the truth of God's sovereign grace.

The inevitable result of this shift has prompted reliance on technique in nurture and evangelism, guilt-dissipating piety, religious enthusiasm, "bells and smells" or social justice. Rather than seeing the Kingdom built by the proclamation of a Word, too many of us have come to rely on human devising. The sovereign grace of God active in the gospel for the seeker is set aside for a more pragmatic method of building the Kingdom.

Our forebears ministered in the Anglican church, remaining loyal to its peculiar "reformed catholic" traditions, because they believed in the sovereign grace of God. They understood that the "Kingdom of God is not of this world" and therefore human structures, relevant or not, were neither here nor there. "The gospel is the power of God for salvation."

Preaching and teaching the Word of God is the business we are in. Matters of technique, of "mint and cumin", are a diversion.

[Pumpkin Cottage]