May 8, 2010

New Name for This Old Blog

I've never really considered myself all that good at coming up with good names for things like bands, blogs, or even sermons, which is why this blog just had my name at the top of it for the first couple of years.  I thought I had a good one when I lifted the title of John Wesley's sermon called "Free Grace."  It was biblical and Wesleyan, and I thought it couldn't be beat.  Not original, but hey.  What are you gonna do?  So, I named my blog after Wesley's sermon and stuck a JW quote at the top of the page to give credit where credit is due. 

Well, I recently realized that "free grace" is a term used to indicate one side of the debate as to whether one can know Jesus as savior without knowing him as lord.  The "free grace" folks argue that one comes to know Christ as savior through faith and that subsequent good works only have to do with heavenly rewards.  The other side, commonly known as "lordship salvation," holds that justification is necessarily followed by good works which demonstrate the authenticity of the justifying faith.  Thus, one can be said to be saved according to works but not on the basis of them, because the works are the fruit that demonstrates that one is indeed rightly related to God through Christ.  Let me say two things about all this:

First, I don't think that Wesley's use of the term "free grace" indicated the same thing as the current free gracers mean.  Wesley was big on good works.  Sometimes to an even worrisome extent, in my view.  I can't imagine him ever saying that one could know Christ as savior without following him obediently as lord.  But some of my scholarly Wesley buddies can correct me if I'm wrong on that.

Second, whatever Wesley meant by the term, I don't want to be associated with the current "free grace" club as explained above.  I fall solidly in the lordship salvation camp holding that obedience to Christ is absolutely necessary as evidence of authentic faith.  If you have the Spirit, you will also have the fruit of the Spirit.

So, I've changed the name of this blog once again.  The new name is "Incarnatio," which, of course, is the Latin word from which we get "incarnation."  If you've read this blog lately, you'll know I've been reading Athanasius and have incarnation on the brain.  Also, I've been having a friendly debate on incarnation with some Jehovah's Witnesses.  So, I'm all the more resolved on the absolute necessity of the Incarnation.  It seemed like a good name for two reasons.  First, the incarnation is at the heart of Christianity proclaiming that God became human in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  That claim is basic and central and there is no Christianity without it.  Second, it also hints at the idea of the church embodying Christ and reflecting his great glory into the world, which is no small thing. 

So, here it is...a new name for this old blog.  Perhaps this one will last longer than than its predecessor. 

3 comments:

ἐκκλησία said...

"Free Grace" was inspired by John Wesley, and "Incarnatio" by Athanasius. It's not certain who influenced the third name.

John Wesley, and Athanasius both, may dearly love God but neither wield Biblical authority.

Why must inspiration come from some source apart from the Bible itself? Do you trust John Wesley or Athanasius as much as the Holy Spirit to make sense of God's word?

Matt O'Reilly said...

You seem to be raising a criticism. I'm not sure I understand you, though.

ἐκκλησία said...

No criticism was intended. Hopefully it didn't come across that way.

This blog is Bible-centric yet its cited inspiration is not so directly Biblical; it is only secondarily Biblical. Cited as inspiration are John Wesley and Athanasius, both secondary sources (magnificent Christians perhaps, but still mere Bible commentators (one step removed from the Bible)). It seems reasonable that Bible-centric blogs (even excellent ones) cite as inspiration sources more directly related to the Bible, rather than ones, one-step removed.

There is a trend [2 Tim 4:3-4] in modern Christianity of relying more on those {who came after canonization} that have {expert} opinions about doctrine than letting the Bible interpret itself or by citing the Holy Spirit as a source of revelation {and inspiration}, though the Bible absolutely provides a method of discerning the sound doctrine of God as conveyed by the Spirit from that of lying man's [1 John 4:1-5] and [1 Thess 5:21].

Although it would be amusing to see a footnote in an essay, referencing the Holy Spirit as a source of insight, it likely would not meet most academic standards. The problem isn't with with the approach but with the standards. This trend falls out of academic skepticism born of the enlightenment. It leads to teachers and watchmen who lack authority because they fail to trust the complete work of the Spirit. It is nothing less than a lack of faith.

You've seen the following quote cited before about the modern Christian tendency to feel as though the Holy Spirit isn't capable of, isn't worthy of, or simply isn't interacting with Christian's today.

“It is difficult to follow an early church example when we value a book they did not have more than the Holy Spirit they did have. It is not the Father, Son and Holy Bible.” Attributed to Bill Johnson at the Open Heaven Conference in Bethel.

Incidentally this statement was not a low view of the Bible since the Bible IS the word of God and of infinite worth. But the Bible works hand-in-hand with the Holy Spirit since it is by the Holy Spirit the word is out-breathed, and the comment suggests that the two cannot be separated as tends to be done.

Even so, it is a low view of those who do this since they refuse the authority Jesus Himself offered to His followers after his ascension. The opponents of Christ, such as the Pharisees, all recognized, and were stunned by, the authority Jesus exercised in his ministry [Matt 7:29][Matt 8:9][Matt 21:23-24], and yet the purpose of sending the Holy Spirit was so that his followers could carry on with the same authority he bought and bequeathed. The same Holy Spirit involved in the out-breathing of God's word, afterward works in the ear of the hearer to reveal the truth of it {this is how the doctrine of Later-Day Saints or Jehovah's Witnesses, is exposed as false, for example}.

Matt, these comments were not critical but charitable. If the problem with Calvinists are that they become more like Calvin than Christ, because their theological target is more Calvin than Christ, than this cannot be different for John Wesley or Athanasius.

Although both may have been excellent Christians, God himself trumps either and both as inspiration.
[Ezekiel 33:6-7]