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Cheap Grace – Available at a Church Near You!

Updated on August 13, 2019
The70thweek profile image

I have been studying and teaching Bible doctrine for over 48 years and the shepherding teacher for home based Churches. Sola Scriptura

Who Needs Repentance ... Jesus Can Change Your Life.

It is our sin problem, not the woes of life that necessitate grace.
It is our sin problem, not the woes of life that necessitate grace. | Source

Bonhoeffer Was Right, We Have Made Grace No Longer Grace!

I came across the following quote by Bonhoeffer recently and it struck a major chord in my mind; in part it states the following:

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, … is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This truly sums up the state of the ‘church’ in these perilous last days as they have become peddlers of another gospel, fueled by cheap grace. In the late 1800’s, Spurgeon lamented upon the state of the churches in England of his day, but held high hope for the American churches, as a great revival was underway. When Bonhoeffer made this observation in the 1930s or 40s, the majority of Europe’s churches were basically dying or dead. The Word states that there is nothing new under the sun, voila, what goes around, comes around; we now live in an era of churches on life-support. The true believers, those who hunger for the Word, find themselves trapped within institutions that pander to the self-driven adherents of easy-believism, including both the clergy and the lay. Currently there is an exodus from the mainstream denominations occurring, though it remains largely unnoticeable. I believe that we are seeing an active demonstration of the few versus the many. I have seen social media posts condemning people for 'church hopping', as if everyone who attends for a season, then moves on, are just too picky, they are fault finders, the preaching / teaching is not to their liking, etc. More than likely that is true and at the same time may be very well justified.

For myself, I cannot see me ever returning to any 'church' organization; denominational or not. I want to be around people that are genuinely hungry for the Truth, willingly desiring to grow in grace, bear their crosses and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ. I will teach only the Word and by God's grace alone remain teachable with a desire for the world to see my Savior through me. I know I am not alone for as the Lord spoke to Elijah as he wished for death believing he was the only faithful one left in Israel ... God said, I have 7,000 who have not bowed the knee before Baal. As Jesus stated ... where two or more are gathered ... I will be there.

What has brought us to this place in history? A Jesus stated in Matthew 24:12, false teachers as the last days approach will increase, deceiving many (not few) because of sin (not dealt with), the love of many (not few) will wax cold.

How very Catholic ... with one of the priest class standing before the people.

You have the leader and his audience; participation not required except money.
You have the leader and his audience; participation not required except money. | Source

We Have Silenced the Holy Spirit's Gifts Given to Every Believer.

You will never find, the form of 'worship' described within the Word, that we see today worldwide. The services are focused upon one person, no one is allowed to question or would even have the courage to ask a question due to lack of understanding. Does only one person have all the elite gifts and those with gifts of 'lower' status are relegated to menial chores within the congregation? As Orwell stated in Animal Farm ... we are all equal, some are just more equal than others. The Word has a lot to say on this subject and we should pay attention because we have made today's assemblies a travesty before God.

Do you not know, that the Lord has given us commandments concerning our gathering together in one place? We do NOT go to church, we are the Church, Gr. ekklesia 1577 - the called out ones. When the 'called out ones' gather together in one place, it is not in a church, but a building with no spiritual significance in itself. It is not the house of God, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and in 1 Corinthians 14 addresses the order the Lord commands (vs 37) we are to follow.

  • Confusion reigned in Corinth due to the abuse of the Supper of the Lord and the misuse of tongues, a legitimate gift. Paul's caveat in verse 19: "Yet in the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." NO gift when assembled, following the Lord's commandments, will cause confusion. Rather it will produce growth and per God's grace, conviction should an unbeliever be present (vs 24-25).
  • Verses 26-31 - the theme is that when we come together, everyone has something to bring to the edification of the whole. It is never left in the hands of one being preferred over the others. It does not even address the maturity level of the called out ones in exercising their gifts. It does not negate the need for leadership, but the leaders must follow the same commandments given to His Church.
  • When you meet, does everyone have an opportunity to give testimony to God's faithfulness within their lives, to share scripture or a doctrine that has become dear to them? Is every question accepted and addressed until it has brought enlightenment or comfort to everyone present? Has everyone the opportunity to speak in an orderly manner as the Lord leads? Verse 31: "For ye may all prophesy (propheteuo 4395 - to speak, as one is led by the Holy Spirit) one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted."
  • Verse 33: "For God is not the author of confusion, but of Peace. When you gather, is peace present within your own life and that of others?

Pray tell me; does your assembly meet with the Lord's commandment concerning order within the Church? Many will tell you, that it is for small bible studies only. Does that make the small bible study more biblically based, than when all come together?

Do you realize that seminaries teach the appropriate layout (floorplan) for gathering together, including the color of carpeting, choir robes, the amount of ambient light and of most importance … the order of worship. Can they cite scripture and verse to support their doctrine of one man being the focus of the gathering? When the focus is on the one, the individuals gifts are shelved and doctrines now become the dictates of the one.

What Defines Cheap Grace?

Grace may be free, but it came to us at the ultimate price … the cross!
Grace may be free, but it came to us at the ultimate price … the cross! | Source

How Can One Recognize Cheap Grace?

These are the three most prevalent characteristics of cheap Grace.

Caveat: Always remember, we are talking about the gathering together in one place for the purpose of the saints to minister to one another. In ministering to one another, should perhaps an unbeliever be present, they will be either convicted by your righteous edification and instruction of one another or they will think you are lunatics and go their way. The gathering together is not about evangelism; it is about equipping the saints to do the work of the Gospel, period. (1 Cor. 14:24-25; Eph. 4:12)

  • The teaching / preaching, is topical, seldom addresses the righteous behavior of the saints as the Word commands. It is heavily church centered when it addresses works, charity and the personal goals of each believer. Heaven and hell are topics generally avoided though the saints need the comfort of heaven and the desire see others avoid hell. Repentance is just a vocabulary word that is thrown in every once in a while, to be politically correct, as is calling sin for what it really is … don’t want to offend anyone, especially if they are big givers. If smaller groups are offered, the material is usually a leadership approved book by a supposedly good Christian author. Also, you don’t need a bible, for the overhead screen will fill that need.
  • The big lie … you need to accept Jesus. The bible teaches the exact opposite, Jesus must accept us. The only thing we could ever accept is the fact that we were a sinner without hope and that in itself is a gift from God. Why do I bring this up if I am talking about a gathering of believers only? The problem is, we are NOT a gathering of believers, but of many who claim they have accepted Jesus as Savior. We have become gatherings of those who have NO testimony of being crushed of spirit due to their sin problem. We have people who are attempting to live the Jesus thing, whatever that may be. Their testimony resembles someone whose life was a mess but now wants to try the straight and narrow. This is very akin to AA; righteous-like behavior can clean up a life for a season.
  • Cheap grace is an abomination to God. How can there be true discipleship when the ‘believers’ can only repeat the mantra of their leaders and seek to have others come hear the preacher, for only he knows the way to talk them into the Kingdom? Remember, he has been professionally trained. How can the gatherers walk a truly godly life and not take up their cross daily? They have become seekers of the good life and eschew all potential troubles that may come if one acts too godly. Where is their adoring love of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ? They are a people without a hunger for a deeper knowledge of the Word. They may quote some scripture, but they understand very little and are comfortable with that.

If you are a true believer, no one needs to tell you the price paid for the grace given freely to His own by our Lord and Savior. If you love His Word and long for His appearing; find others who want to journey with you in this world of false, Christianity. Wherever the Church gathers, Christ is.

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    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      18 months ago from Pa

      Thank you for your response, and for sharing your reasoning. While churches may be worldly, we can stand firm in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

      As true believers, we seek to be in the world, but not of it. I just hope to be an example of that Christ-like love no matter where, as I am sure you do as well. He does not want or need us all in the same place, however, He does need us to be used for His purpose. I am sure your heart feels this call as well. I bid you peace wherever He plants your steps. May God Bless your spiritual walk with our Jesus staying strong until His return.

    • The70thweek profile imageAUTHOR

      David Campbell 

      18 months ago from Winlock, Washington

      Thanks for your well thought out comment. My problem is not with an organized gathering but with the institutional gathering that wants to advertise themselves to the world, ipso facto, extends an invitation to the world. Great intentions have been the demise of the Western churches over the last century. 1 Cor. 15:33 …bad company (non-believers) not bad in themselves but by sheer numbers have steered the very public gatherings to become more worldly. A great deal of money has now changed hands and these institutions have unfortunately become 501(c)3 corporations. To maintain who they have become, voila, the worldly must be compromised which makes the gospel second place in their priorities. These days are growing more and more wicked, 2 Tim. 3:13 and for the sake of peace with the world we have become a comfortable place to hang out for those who like the benefit of being religious. The days will be soon upon us should the Lord tarry, that true believers will have to flee these assemblies. It is difficult to convince another of the living power in a gathering of believers only, not just in the assembling but in our daily lives and witness. I have 10 children; 5 were born in a hospital, the last 5 were born at home. I had known what I now know, we would never have used a hospital. Likewise, my two oldest attended public schools whereas the remainder were home schooled. We had a lot of friends say how wrong both choices were. Home birth … too dangerous; home schooling … lacking social skills. My children, all very successful in their own right, now copy their parents and I, of course, have the greatest grandchildren ever. No prejudice. Long story short, I did not come this conclusion easily and it took time, too much time before I decided to follow the dictates of my conscience. There is no going back for me as an option. May God bless you in your spiritual walk with Jesus.

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      18 months ago from Pa

      David, thank you for sharing your thoughts and while I appreciate your points greatly, and agree we are the church, I find it important to be a presence in the community.

      "Organized Church," I can't tell you how many times I have read that this very week. Also moving out and away from the organized church. I get it, there is extreme truth in what you state, as well as the similar presentation of others on social media and media in general. However, if we are the church, aware that true grace is freely given, should we not do the same?

      When in the community of the church (the people), I find a need to accept these truths of abomination, and yet, still love and serve amongst the lost or swayed. Myself a sinner saved by His grace, I feel a need to walk where He plants my steps. Hoping to be His hands and feet wherever He allows, in a church, neighborhood, hospital, field, crisis.

      I personally find the closest connection to Him while in His word or prayerful worship. I love that He allows me the armor to walk into a large setting or small, and still feel Him working. Even when I need to bow my head and say, Jesus, I am so sorry we messed up greatly. I can hear His message regardless of the noise when I am still, and listening for it through the chaos of the world.

      Funny as a society there seems to be a need for pomp and circumstance to connect to a powerful and present God who is always connected to us at our core.

      However, I do go to football games, picnics, concerts, parties, events, not fully understanding the presentation, hoping to connect to the people (the church) around me. Not weak in my countenance, but hopefully unwavering in my desire be an instrument of His peace.

      Thank you for sharing this article I hope these comments make some sort of sense and agreeance. Peace and blessing to you.

    • The70thweek profile imageAUTHOR

      David Campbell 

      18 months ago from Winlock, Washington

      Thank you for refreshing my soul. It is when true believers get together, that the Spirit has His way among us. What a joy to be around and hear from those who love the Lord above all else. May God bless.

      P.S. It also makes new enemies; I must be doing something right.

    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      18 months ago from North Carolina

      Thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. Totally agree. Thank you for sharing!

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