Saturday, June 23, 2018

GCI: Fully Embracing Revised Common Lectionary For Worship Practices

Grace Communion International has informed its members across the board that it is moving into a liturgical style of worship.  Many congregations have been doing this for some time, others not so much so.  Liturgical worship is geared towards the seasons of the church year and also involves using a standard set of Bible readings for each day of the year.  The GCI is now using the Revised Common Lectionary, which is standard for Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, some Methodists and in recent years, many Evangelical churches. In the course of three years, the entire Bible is read if a person follows it on a daily basis.

Many people find liturgical worship to be richly rewarding, but this is going to be a heavy cross for many GCI congregations to bear, as some are still steeped in the belief that anything connected to the Catholic Church is wholly pagan.  However, many will adjust to this once they realize that it has a purpose.  Fitting in good liturgical worship music will be a challenge for many GCI congregations.

Music to fit the liturgical calendar follows hymns that have been traditional for hundreds of years.  COG members have been ingrained to avoid those hymns as being too Protestant. Thus the assumed need to sing Dwight Armstrong hymnody. For many in the GCI, having to listen to modern day hymnody that borders on songs that sound like someone is making love to Jesus or that he is some long lost boyfriend that someone has been panting for and never quite finds him, is not the best worship mood setter.  There certainly are some great modern worship songs out there, but spending a lifetime trying to sound like Hillsong singers is NOT a good thing!

For those that have a strong avoidance to Easter and Christmas, this new liturgical practice will drive the nail in the coffin even faster for some.  Liturgy is all geared around Christmas and Easter.  Those still uncomfortable with Christmas and Easter will now have full in the face.

The other issue this will present for some is that weekly communion will now be a recommended practice. For those that like to leave Jesus on the High School gym floor after Passover each year and never mention him much after that,  it will be a struggle to have Jesus as a weekly reminder.

Here is the GCI stance on liturgical worship:

The worship of God is central to the church. Through its worship services, GCI seeks to glorify God and edify those who attend by proclaiming the gospel through Scripture reading, preaching and singing; the administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper); praise and intercession in prayer; and the giving of offerings.

Gospel-focused worship pattern

Along with many others in the body of Christ, worship in GCI follows the Christ-centered and gospel-shaped pattern of the Western Christian calendar as detailed in the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). This pattern of worship is organized around a weekly celebration of the gospel (see the recommended order of services below) that is typically held on Sunday, the day the risen Lord Jesus was first encountered. As shown in the diagram and list below, the worship pattern then includes several annual celebrations that highlight key aspects of our Lord’s life and ministry along with other key aspects of the gospel.

  • Advent (four Sundays preceding Christmas)
  • Christmas eve and Christmas day
  • The season of Christmas (Christmas through January 5)
  • Epiphany Sunday
  • Transfiguration Sunday
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Lent (Ash Wednesday through Palm Sunday)
  • Holy Week services:
    • Palm Sunday (celebrated as Passion Sunday when there are no Maundy Thursday and/or Good Friday services)
    • Maundy Thursday
    • Good Friday
    • Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
    • Easter Sunday
  • Easter season (Easter through Pentecost)
  • Ascension Sunday
  • Pentecost Sunday
  • Trinity Sunday
  • All Saints’ Sunday (Sunday after All Saints’ Day)
  • Christ the King Sunday

Liturgies for church services & ceremonies

To assist congregations in following its standard worship pattern and content, GCI publishes RCL-synced sermons in GCI Equipper (click here to access) and the liturgies linked below for worship services and church ceremonies.

Flexibility granted

GCI congregations may adapt the denomination’s standard liturgies to accommodate local customs and needs (though the basic formats and content should be followed). Congregations may also adapt GCI’s standard pattern of worship, though all should provide services that celebrate Jesus’ birth during the Christmas season and his resurrection during the Easter season. It is then recommended that the other key events in Christ’s life (see the list above) be celebrated in a weekly worship service at the designated time of year.
GCI congregations may hold their primary weekly worship service on any day of the week, though Sunday is the norm. Also, congregations may determine how often to offer the Lord’s Supper, though it should be offered no less than quarterly, and at least once during Holy Week. Offering the Lord’s Supper every week is recommended.
In making decisions concerning adaptations to GCI’s standard worship pattern and liturgies, congregational leaders should seek divine guidance, understanding that worship is the divinely created response to the glory of the triune God revealed in Jesus Christ. 


Anonymous said...

So GCI will now be doing infant baptisms and confirmations? Oy vey!

Ronco said...

Now they are doing infant baptism?

Anonymous said...

Step by step they are becoming the opposite of what they were. This was the plan all along. They are just pretending each change is a new idea led by God. The deceitfulness is sicking regardless of what one thinks of their new teachings. The whole society is similarly infiltrated and manipulated.

Byker Bob said...

The big problem in the past, and the chief factor responsible for the cultishness of the old R/WCg has been that HWA, or whomever, were not reponsible or accountable to any governing body, or even to other than a rubber stamp board. There were attempts to standardize through the Systematic Theology Project, but HWA scuttled that as a “tool of Satan” in favor of his own lifetime unilateral absolute authority. The ACOg leaders have largely repeated that same pattern in their own mini-Herb personality cults. UCg and the COgAWA have a kind of board of elders, and hold elections, but have these actually made a difference?

Regardless as to whether one agrees with the theology involved, structure and uniformity will improve the consistency of the spiritual guidance, and the ethical treatment of members. Even today, after decades for the splinters to learn from mistakes and to mature, we still see savage bulls and loose cannons like Rod McNair, Cal Culpepper and Dennis Leap, Dave Pack, and the likes running amuck and mistreating and abusing their sheep, not at all looking out for their best interests.

Had HWA had a real board of elders or directors in place, and his theology systematized, with a program of due process and the right of appeal to impartial parties active, it is unlikely that anyone would have seen a need for reform or that the massive splintering since 1995 would have ever even gotten off the ground. Once HWA shed the boards and government of COG-7, it immediately became apparent by their absence precisely what they had brought into the equation.

A certain limited amount of control (protections) actually results in an umbrella under which freedom can flourish.


Anonymous said...

If I wanted to worship like the Lutherns or Methedists why would I consider the GCI?
Why not stay with the Luthern church or Methedist churchs. Or, why would I stay with the GCI if they are no different then many old mainstream Christian churches?

Anonymous said...

This is not going to go over well.

Most of the members of GCI are former WCG. Many of them still have aversions to mainstream methodology of liturgy. I agree with 7:50.

Unless their entire goal here is to replace WCG'ers with "new" members, without a COG past. Unfortunately, the internet is not their friend here, nor is their history.

I just can't see COG-GCI'ers embracing infant baptism. That may be the "sleeper" in the changes that causes the biggest stir.

For all the things that WCG to GCI'ers have gone through, to go through more changes is probably going to be too much.

Anonymous said...

When are the robes coming?

I wonder what color they will be. White? Green? Red?

Apart from the robes, I can't see any difference now between GCI and any Lutheran or Methodist - or Presbyterian church even.

Anonymous said...

And some sneer when I bring up crown stealing. That's the game and motivation behind these ongoing changes. It's the elephant in the room that many are reluctant to acknowledge. I've experienced it many times, both inside and outside the church.

DennisCDiehl said...

When it was obvious the changes coming to WCG in the '90s were seriously going to occur, my first thought very early in the game as I was mentally transitioning out for many reasons was "why would anyone now even bother to drive the miles to church anymore?" To me it was obvious this would shortly be the death blow to WCG and the Tkaches were kidding themselves if they thought much of anything would be left to administer.

I don't look at the WCG story as a story of transformation as I do of destruction. . Not much of it transformed. Most of it defected and wandered off and rightly so as I just never believed you could turn an entire group around from where most had come from, into WCG and then back to where they came from again. In hindsight it was simply insane.

The mind jerk pushed me into the freedom to pursue and answer for myself all the theological problems and Biblical difficulties I suspected but repressed.

While a religious journey might be a group event where, for the sake of there being no division, "we must all speak the same thing." A spiritual journey is personal and comes from the inside out and not the outside in. That is the journey I prefer for myself. While most here know me for my love of and respect for the findings of paleontology, geology and cosmology, there is a deeply spiritual journey of self discovery going on and always will until my days are over. It's the seeking that inspires, not the finding anymore.

I can see why the Hag Nammadi text of the Gospel of Thomas was not included in the Canon. However, if any Jesus said this, then I would profoundly agree...

" 3 Jesus said: If those who lead you say to you: See, the kingdom is in heaven, then the birds of the heaven will go before you; if they say to you: It is in the sea, then the fish will go before you. But the kingdom is within you, and it is outside of you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will know that you are the sons of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you are in poverty, and you are poverty."

All the current churches of God would NOT be happy with anyone whose goal was to simply know themselves over participation in group think and support. I have personally gone deeper and know myself more deeply since separating my-self from organized religion of any kind. It is not selfish. It is evidently what the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas said was of utmost importance and any who did not go inward would be left poorer for the lack of doing so.

Anonymous said...

"..celebrate Jesus’ birth during the Christmas season.."

That's a stretch; will test acog mental plasticity.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the GCI congregations in Western Canada still meet on Saturdays, which is mostly to appease old WCG members, many of whom came from Catholic and other mainstream Christian groups. It is ironic how this is finally coming to full a circle. One can only imagine how well these changes will be received.

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that the RCL is not used by Catholics, although it is based on the Catholic lectionary. (See the Wikipedia article.) Also, the RCL does not include "a standard set of Bible readings for each day of the year"; it has readings for Sundays and feast days. Some denominations have their own daily readings, such as the Episcopal Church's Daily Office found in its Book of Common Prayer.

Claire Voighent said...

Anon 7:50 PM, Some of my friends in GCI do on occasion visit mainstream churches such as baptist, methodist, pentecostal & lutheran churches. Nothing wrong with attending Christian churches. What is wrong with doing good?

Anonymous said...

yeah like a dog returning to it's vomit...

but hey, it's difficult to believe that there are any members of The Church still in GCI...

they might as well join up with the RCC, there is no real difference in the two and the GCI members won't have to drive so far, and will have larger congregations to hang out with.

Anonymous said...

There is no real reason for CGI to exist since it is more and more like so many other churches. I am looking forward to the day when more and more local churches have to merge with others in order to survive. Jesus prayed for unity, not uniformity (John 17:20). HWA demanded uniformity. According to The Handbook of Denominations, there are over 250 distinct denominations in the U.S. alone. There are over twelve different Methodist and twenty Baptist denominations. Resources wasted on overhead could go towards ministry if there were fewer denominations. As for accountability with a having structure and accountability, other churches have this, on paper, at least. The Methodists have their Book of Discipline, which spells out how a church is to operate. But in practice, once a pastor is assigned a church, he can do whatever he wants. The denomination will protect the pastor at the expense of the members. The problem here is power and money. Groups split off because someone else wants to be in charge and control. To justify this they make a big deal about a minor doctrinal issue. The leader takes a small group with him so now he is the head of his ever smaller group. They pretend to be purer and more legitimate than other groups and they have increasing less impact on the world. Following in the steps of mainstream protestant churches is not going to save the GCI. Mainstream churches are dying. More and more we find the most committed Christians leaving these churches because they are more focused on maintaining the organization and traditions than doing the work of the church. These people have been called "dones", they are done with the mainstream church, though they haven't turned their backs on Christianity. Some start their own group out of their homes with no power positions or money to compete over. They are involved in ministry outside the walls of the traditional church, much like the NT church met in homes. With mainstream churches, church work has replaced the work of the church as their cause for being. Maintain the building, keep the staff, fund the pensions, maintain the denomination structure and traditions. It is sad that to reach out to those in need and help them some have to go outside the church to local secular organizations to find others to work with, such as Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, etc.

Near_Earth_Object said...

The symbols and forms in Christian worship differ from denomination to denomination. We are ready to jump to conclusions because we have all been indoctrinated in the WCG and will be recovering from that for the rest of our lives.

For example, all the infant baptism naysayers believe they know all about what infant baptism means and how it is used because they were taught it was wrong as the official view of the WCG. They operate from a baseline of Armstrongist doctrine. And they believe that these beliefs are really their own.

Look, the early church did not have as a part of their worship three opening songs, a sermonette, announcements and maybe special music, a sermon, one more song and then closing prayer. Where did that come from? Certainly, not the Bible.

Early Christians met in someone's home and anyone who wanted to say something as a part of services could. Services were free form. While early Christians did some fund raising for ad hoc purposes, they did not have a paid ministry. (Have a look at a book called "Pagan Christianity" by Viola and Barna.)

The only church order of worship that I know of that comes close to the NT model of worship is the Quaker church. All the others, including the COGs, have devised orders of worship that are non-Biblical but are pragmatic. While they may appeal to "administrative decision making," technically I don't think they can find a foundation for change services in the NT.

I am not a worship legalist. And I do not think various denominations can make war with each other over the features of worship. the topic is too soft. And if various denominations want to get picky about this, they should follow the precedent of primitive Christianity and go to free form services and move their ministry to a non-salaried basis - after all, I don't think the zealous David Koresh got a salary.

Anonymous said...

How would a member of GCI define their church? Most of the congregations have little or no money, they have no church buildings, some have no full time minister, pastor, bishop, or what ever the title would be. No one except those in Joe jr’s inner circle knows what happened to the money received from the sale of WCG properties. Now Joe is going to retire and Greg Williams is going to take over the reins. He now wants to have a structured liturgical format. Drive through any city or town of a few thousand people or more and you will find a Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran and all the other mainstream churches. Many have beautiful buildings. Most have programs designed for different age groups. Inside many have big screen tv’s. The have musical groups, often a band or choirs with a full time music director. On Sunday mornings, the parking lots are full. Now there is GCI, trying to figure out who they want to be like. They can’t be a mega church because they don’t have a charismatic speaker for their leader nor do they have the money for hundreds of hours of TV time, nor do they have the money to build a beautiful church building. Usually in these mainstream churches, the deacons and board members are prominent people of the community. I am sure there are some fine people in GCI. The picture I see for GCI is some will embrace a liturgical format and others will not. Some will drift away from GCI. There will be small independent groups meeting wherever they can find a meeting place. WCG is history! The remnant of WCG is growing old, Joe jr is riding off into the sunset. The ACOG’s are still arguing which splinter is the “real” church. The soap opera continues.

nck said...

Amen to BB and especially DD.

Since I believe differences in religion reflect different perspectives on God and creation, one can see why SDA has developed those excellent hospitals around the world.

By now one would have expected the WCG to have developed world renowned management centers, executive programs or leadership training programs for governments, ngos and business paying hefty sums to be able to have a chance to participate in the programs and benefit from the excellent perspective offered. After all werent we supposed to rule the universe, which is an excellent thing to behold.

Instead it has turned into a debillitating money scheme with leaders proposing the most absurd of mental sickness that even I, destined vice governor of tatooine would have to reject. (there's rock over there gerry , on south tatooine space base.....success with chopping).

And indeed HWA placed the seeds of destruction himself by rejecting basic knowledge on leadership, excercise of authority and what education constitutes. The idealism of it all is an innate function of humanity though.


Connie Schmidt said...

Does this mean that we can now watch pro Catholic movies like "Lillies of the Field" , "Rudy" , "Angels With Dirty Faces" , "The Cardinal" , "The Exorcist" and even reruns of the "Flying Nun", without any regrets , or doing any internal mental religious dismissal???

Anonymous said...

You can watch anything you want, just like I did when I was in WCG. You can watch Doctor Who, Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, or even The Artful Detective. ;)

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing.

One of the things that made WCG unique unto itself was it's embracing of a "unique" draw to itself. It was the very things it embraces now that it formerly relentlessly attacked which caused such substantial growth, because many of those who made WCG what it was had bad experiences in the mainstream world.

WCG successfully used every negative construct imaginable to de-legitimize mainstream calendar events to support and promote their own. They thoroughly investigated every nuance, and from their origins to their hypocrisy, to the financial impacts, hammered their congregations on how wrong "they" were and how right "we" were. From this came a lot of agreement from those who finally had an organization who not only outed mainstream corporate Christianity on their very blatant and obvious weaknesses, but had a different and seemingly more appealing solution.

Now, regardless of your theological opinion, you find them embracing the exact construct they previously spent generations dismantling, pulverizing, and burning. The problem with is that in the audience that is their congregation, the memories of the previous hurts of corporate Christianity have not faded, even though they were generations ago. Though many GCI'ers embrace Christianity and Christ Focus, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to embrace such a traditional mainstream liturgy. Most GCI'ers came out of that many decades ago.

What this is going to do is invoke flashbacks to a time they forgot and intentionally left. There is no differentiation nor uniqueness in GCI. They are simply blending in, melding with a subsection of Mainstream Christianity that is stable - but not growing. Maybe this format has found favor with Greg Williams, because it appears to be the most "Christ Centered". But.

It still focuses on days, and seasons, and times, and years. It does not eliminate the WCG-GCI'ers fear that they are embracing paganism. For those who want such a format, there are FAR more successful churches out there they could integrate into. Plus, there are seemingly insurmountable challenges concerning worship, times, places, structure, positions that should have been in place decades ago. It's like they turned their backs on their local congregations, suddenly see what's going on, and are yelling at their lead pastors all of a sudden, "What's going on? Get with it!"

Decades of mismanagement and neglect are catching up with GCI leadership. If they were really concerned about their denomination as a whole, the foundational issues should have been dealt with from the very beginning. Now, trying to patch up the cracks and crumbling areas is showing that any shift in the wrong area could cause the whole dang tower to crumble. It'd be better to tear the whole thing down then try to fix such an unstable, crumbling, aged, and tired structure.

No one tries to repair a house just hit by a massive tornado. The house is labeled condemned. They tear it down, and rebuild. GCI needs to learn this lesson. They are playing with lives - again. Especially when the Vice President simply says "Something needs to be done". Hello - it's your job to figure out what that something is, and do it. But, caught in a no-win situation, he just delegates it to everyone else.

Thumbs down. The leadership is making themselves out to be incompetent.

Anonymous said...

The Flying Nun.

Connie - this is a very difficult show to watch on the reruns on Antenna TV. Because I don't understand it, thanks in part to my WCG background. Maybe those with more Catholic backgrounds could understand it. All I knew was some nun with a weird "habit' with wings on her hat had the ability to somehow supernaturally fly. Seemed more like she was a "holy witch" I guess. It just never made sense to me. Sally Field seemed like she fit the role of "Gidget" much better. Oh - and the "Dad" on "Gidget" seemed like he fit the WCG Pastor mode perfectly.

Byker Bob said...

My own interests in GCI are limited to the extent that it has been effective as one of the paths to freedom from Armstrongism. Whether it continues as an entity is unimportant. My thoughts are that it has already done its job.


Anonymous said...

In your 5.53 AM comment, you accuse posters of rejecting baby baptism because "we have been indoctrinated in the WCG." Believe it or not, we do have minds of our own.
Your post shows a high degree of intellectual independence, yet accuse us of lacking this same facility.
Not everyone who disagrees with NEO is a Borg drone.

Anonymous said...

Near earth, as I read your comment "where did that come from" Frank Viola's book Pagan Christianity is the first thing that came to my mind and I was about to post but as I read on I noticed you mentioned it.

I bought it not long after it was first published on 08, yes a very good read.

Kevin McMillen

Anonymous said...

The hate laws targeting Christians are growing. Perhaps they should all convert to Islam.

Anonymous said...

Ted Nugent once said in a radio interview that a young person leaving home will often reject nearly 100% of what his parents had taught him. Then the sifting process begins, as he attempts to discover what actually works. Several years later you might find that the kid has reembraced about 75% of what he had rejected, as being useful in his own life. Same thing can happen in a cult. Members’ minds were suppressed to a childlike level, and when they leave they must redevelop the skill to think for themselves.

In Old Covenant times, recognizing and elliminating paganism was very important, because only Israel knew the true God, and how to worship Him. Now, thousands of years later, almost everything conceivable has been used in the worship of pagan gods. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about all of that. So long as you’re not indulging in horrible evils, like ritual prostitution or sacrificing your children, Jesus has sublimated it all. Humans have great freedom in Christ to express their worship of Him, and not to worry about whether the ancient Sumerians whom you don’t know and have never met, used some practice or ritual to worship some fictional god or goddess you never heard of. It’s what’s in the heart that counts.

Infant baptism was raised as an issue, as if that’s something horribly pagan. Even under the Old Covenant, the firstborn were considered to belong to God. There were consecration and dedication rituals in which the parents dedicated their children to Yahweh. There is nothing wrong today with parents dedicating their children to Jesus Christ. The child as he or she reaches maturity or accountability still confirms that by his or her own decision and behavior. In the Jewish community there are the mitzvahs, Catholics and Protestants have their later confirmations as well.

Anonymous said...

In Old Covenant times, recognizing and elliminating paganism was very important, because only Israel knew the true God, and how to worship Him. Now, thousands of years later, almost everything conceivable has been used in the worship of pagan gods. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about all of that. So long as you’re not indulging in horrible evils, like ritual prostitution or sacrificing your children, Jesus has sublimated it all. Humans have great freedom in Christ to express their worship of Him, and not to worry about whether the ancient Sumerians whom you don’t know and have never met, used some practice or ritual to worship some fictional god or goddess you never heard of. It’s what’s in the heart that counts.


This is the truth that has completely avoided Armstrongites. They sit in fear - that, because of origins of this and of that, that certain things are still as "pagan" as they were in times past. They do NOT believe Jesus has sublimated anything. So they sit in fear that God, in vengeance and wrath, will misconstrue what they are doing as pagan, and they'll lose their crown based on (fill in the blank).

And then there's the second truth: "It's what's in the heart that counts". This "heart" thing is completely different than the "government" thing that HWA and his legalist cronies always pounded about from the lectern. "Heart" is the emotion of care, concern, love, and affection. "Government" is about rules, law, prosecution, and control. Armstrongites hated "heart" because of their extreme aversion to emotionalism, embracing "Government" as the answer. This caused them to hang Heart under Pagan Origins, thinking God's concern over "Pagan Origin Events" was more important than the "Heart". And so, we had the mass condemnation of virtually every thing mainstream Christians did, and do, with absolutely no thought or care about the issues of "the Heart". It was all in the way we looked at it: Where was our concern - Ancient Pagan Origins and Customs, or love and kindness towards God, Family, and People? In the name of OBSESSIVE aversion of Ancient Pagan Origin Customs, which in our world are meaningless and without power, and yes, have been sublimated by Christ, we'd totally and completely reject the more important attributes of Godly Love toward people. And we ended up looking like and acting like the pompous, prideful, cold-hearted, isolated, love-less jerks we were.

Anonymous said...

Any self-styled “Joyful GRUMPs” (God's Remnant Under Much Persecution) still hiding out in the Graceless Community of Iniquity (GCI) are by now probably just grumpy old GRUMPs. Their own continual tithing has helped to support the Tkaches' Great Apostasy that was written up openly in a January 1995 issue of the WCG's Worldwide News newspaper. The WCG members who really embraced the new teachings of Joseph Tkach, Jr. and his buddies quickly abandoned tithing, which was initially done away with along with everything else.

Anonymous said...

Let's parse out that GCI acronym, shall we?

Graceless: No grace.
Community: Unified Body of Individuals.
Iniquity: Immoral or unfair behavior.
Immoral: Not conforming to acceptable standards of morality.
Morality: Principles concerning the difference between right and wrong/good/bad behavior.

Graceless Community of Iniquity: A Community of Individuals, without Grace, who are not conforming to acceptable standards of the principles concerning the differences between right and wrong.

Nice that you are charging a whole group as not under Grace when the Bible is clear that any believer in Christ IS under Grace. Also nice that you are judging the standards concerning the differences between right and wrong. That's quite the charge.

To charge a whole group as not under grace is to deny Christ. To judge them as iniquity as a whole is flawed, as you don't know the people. To judge them as not knowing the differences between right and wrong is only judging the group on what YOU believe is right, and what YOU believe is wrong - presumably based on the Law. Though it's a nice play on acronyms, your accusations are actually quite intense, baseless, and against the teachings of Jesus Christ - who boldly said we are all under Grace. Again, quite a charge. I would love to see the explanation you would give Christ as to why God's Grace does not apply to the GCI group - but somehow does apply to yours. Oh, the Arrogance of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law. Somehow I don't think they comprehend the weight and the charge of their words and judgement.

Romans 3:20-24 New International Version (NIV)

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Anonymous said...

4.50 PM
In Russia, it's the law that all cars have dash cams. So there's a rich stream of videos on YouTube of Russian motorists being killed and maimed. It's a excellent example of why the law, and why law keeping is important. Grace means squat to the dead and maimed drivers.

Anonymous said...


I believe your point is that the law ensuring dash cams is meant as a deterrent to violent accidents because the dash cams catch what happens and ensure justice. No one disputes that.

But when the Law is written on your heart, you:

1. Will act in a way and a manner that is safe for all parties, you and pedestrians.
2. Will not speed out of concern for others.
3. Will willingly, and without thinking, do the right thing in all areas of driving.

When the Law is written on your heart, you will automatically act in a way that is careful and loving to everyone. It's who you are. It's what you do. You'll just want to because that's who you are. Grace comes in because Jesus Christ through his blood gave the way to life for everyone, granting access to all who believe. Grace does not depend on how well one keeps the Law. Grace justifies where the Law can not. And this, only through Jesus Christ.

You use that analogy of dash cams. Ok, let's go with that. Dash cams record the event for the enforcement of the Law in our physical realm, but do nothing for the spiritual realm and the after life. Grace allows for access to the father both in the physical AND the spiritual life. Grace doesn't stop nor prevent accidents from happening or the horrible results of an accident in our earthly realm. Grace gives his eternal goodness to those who do not deserve it in the form of a gift, far beyond the physical realm. Without grace, the vehicular accident would be the end. With grace, you are with Jesus. The post that condemns GCI as graceless means they have no chance of justification in Christ. That's the point here, not the debating of the importance of earthly law.

Ronco said...

"Infant baptism was raised as an issue, as if that’s something horribly pagan."

Yet another assumption... "Believe it or not, we do have minds of our own."

Besides, the Book of Mormon clearly states in Moroni 8:9 "And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children."

So there!!! LOL!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

6.41 PM
My point is that keeping the laws of man (if just) and laws of nature is important. It preserves peoples lives and enables success. Car accidents are a concrete example of why law keeping is important.

The book 'The subtle power of spiritual abuse' nailed this obeying 'from the heart' rather than obedience 'because we have to' point of view that is frequently mentioned.
According to this book, page 66, obeying because we have to might be to "avoid being shamed, to gain someone's approval, or to keep their spiritual status or church position in tact. This is not true obedience or submission, it is compliant self seeking. When behavior is simply legislated from the outside instead of coming from the heart that loves God, it cannot be called obedience."

So motivation from profit is wicked 'self seeking' (religiously never defined) but motivation from altruism is just. So it's the old commie live for others collectivistic crap. Self love is evil, rather serve others hand and foot. Forget about 'life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' Just serve the state. Karl Marx couldn't agree more.
When Peter said to Christ that they had forsaken all to follow him, what did he reply? Did he rebuke him for being 'self seeking' or did he say that they will have a hundred fold now, and eternal life thrown in?? Christ honored self interest and self profit. The commies can weep and gnash their teeth.