For the Bride: Vanishing Grace

I have intentionally entitled this week’s post with the title of Philip Yancey’s new book that will be available on October 21st.

I find it interesting that this highly-esteemed and long-respected writer has concluded that our problems have increased in the Church as grace has decreased.  I look forward to learning how he describes our peril.  He has always been a valued mentor, and I expect that he will be again.

But we do not need to wait for Philip Yancey to speak up.  The Bible already has, the Spirit moving Paul to write, “where sin increased, grace multiplied even more” (Romans 5:20, CEB).  And what we take away is the clear revelation that when the level of grace is higher than the level of sin, there is hope!  It is only when grace vanishes that the Church ceases to be the Church.

As a Christian in the Wesleyan tradition, I recognize Wesley’s desire to see Methodism be a grace-filled community–a united society of people who interpret theology in relation to the story of grace, calling that story an order of salvation.

We are in a confusing time–in a time when calls for the increase of grace are rebuffed by mistaken allegations that such calls are “soft on sin.”  But the fact is, the restoration of grace–the reversal of vanishing grace–is not peddling cheap grace; it is the proclamation of amazing grace! Grace is the key word God expects the Church to use in understanding its nature and its mission.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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