Why “Grace” Doesn’t Seem to Make Anyone “Nice”
Ran across this debate http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/39479-shouldn-t-grace-make-us-nice by a guy writing a book apparently criticizing what he calls “hyper-grace”, and someone from the Pantelism Facebook group was involved, so I saw the link.
The author complains that many of these apparent “grace”-believers in Facebook feedback were responding angrily and hatefully and he includes a back and forth correspondence with one, where the person reacts to him insinuating he doesn’t know the Lord “in a personal way”, and the author keeps pointing us to his nasty reactions.
In the comments, others testify to the nasty reactions of those opposed to more conservative forms of Christianity. Of course, it’s usually the other way around. “The world” has long tagged Christians as being hateful and judgmental. So now, it seems some Christians are trying to throw the charge back at the world.
One person stated in opposition, “Publicly revealing another person’s faults after having a disagreement with them is far from mature and will certainly not help your cause to have civil, loving and Christian debate with them. All I see in the comments you pointed out are angry people who feel attacked responding with agitation. I recall the Apostle Paul being agitated with a group of people and saying that he wished they would just cut off their private parts. The things these people said are rather light and minor.”
Who’s right? Both, really!
Neither side in this or any other dispute has a monopoly on unemotional “objectivity”.
People who believe in complete grace (which is now being called “hyper”) are likely reacting from having given significant portions of their lives up to fear and a fear-based “orthodoxy” masquerading as “grace”, but is still ultimately just as controlling (in practice) as the “works”-based systems it eschews. (Or if never giving up any of their life to it, still being subjected to fear tactics by Christian relatives and others). Just like many “orthodox” or “conservatives” are just as angry, and historically more loud and vocal about a feared loss of influence in culture (including from so many in their ranks giving up the fear-based doctrine, which has been credited with being the “glue” that kept society together). Or more closely corresponding; evangelicals coming out of stricter works-based religions (Catholicism, cults, Judaism, etc) and then preaching strongly and often angrily against them.
At least the hypergrace believers don’t question one’s standing in Christ, since that is based purely on His grace, and not our efforts of getting our beliefs, attitudes or behavior in order. (One version of this grace doctrine holds that the NT reflected a “transition” period between Law and Grace, so that’s why you still see an emphasis on behavior with a fear of judgment for sin).
It should also be noted, that whatever is the truth, it is clear that God is no longer giving new supernatural revelatory validation of it, like in scripture, so religion (and irreligion) has spiraled out of control, and everyone is left to adopt any belief with no absolute certainty. (Something obviously changed since the close of the canon, but that’s another debate). So we all have doubts that we try to suppress, yet when someone else believes differently, and especially if they confront us with it, it triggers this, and we essentially fight our own doubts in the other person. (A guy named Robert Johnson points this out). And everyone is susceptible to this, because no one has any new revelation today (including those who claim to).