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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why do you believe...?

Baptism is fast becoming a topic of debate here in the blogsphere and Kris has suggested it as a topic for discussion here. I am very much looking forward to that discussion but today something else has my attention and I’d like your thought and opinion. What exactly is grace? I have defined grace as “unmerited favor”, something not earned or deserved and originating from the giver by their own virtue as in God’s grace toward us. This definition alone prevents me from accepting any act or ritual as a means of grace as that would specifically contradict the definition. If grace can be obtained through certain means then it is no longer grace. What say ye?

Why do you believe in sacraments?

Update: Bobby Grow has posted two articles that address the meaning and perception of grace from a Biblical perspective. They can be found here and here.

Update 5/1/07: Moved to top in light of recent discussions.

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46 Comments:

Blogger dorsey said...

Indeed.

Grace tends to contradict the notion of a just God. In fact, I tend to see grace as God's radical injustice. I heard Dick Foth offer this analogy:

Justice - You kill someone, you're executed.

Mercy - You kill someone, you're let off, scot free.

Grace - You kill someone, you're let off, then given a mansion and a million dollars by the family of the person you killed.

Grace can only be given and received, never merited. More to the point, if I have been given such an incredible gift, how can I credibly demand justice from others? For that matter, how can I be satisfied to merely extend mercy?

How far down the rabbit hole do you intend to go with this? I'll follow quite a ways. ; )

4/20/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dorse I couldn’t agree more but I wonder if others have a different perception or definition of grace that includes some form of merit. I would be first to say that God has ordained certain things concerning the Church, as well as the individual, that if not adhered to can certainly hinder or prevent us in His blessings but I see His grace as going far beyond His blessings.

4/20/2007 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

I have seen lately that it seems almost everyone is in agreement as to the meaning of grace as "unmerited favor."

But it seems what may be considered favor to one, might be considered a punishment to another.

Take for instance, the killer in Dorsey's scenario. Say a person sets out to kill someone and does so. As time goes on, the murderer begin's to realize the finality of the act and begins to feel sadness for the crime and the family members of the victim. The murderer wants justice and an end to the guilt, but the father of the victim has mercy on this repentant killer and asks for the murderer's freedom. Not only that, but in a moment of pure grace, requests that the murderer be remanded to his care, and he gives the killer the very room of his slain child to live in.

It sounds incredible, charitable and graceful to the world. But to that killer, it's a nightmare. She knows she doesn't deserve any of this and would rather die than face this sort of maddening torture...

To be honest, I did not start out writing with this idea, but I think this is why I hold so dearly to sacraments: for my own comfort, I need to feel I deserve the Grace which I have recieved.

4/20/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Interesting thought, Missy. Your reference to the murderer as "she" struck me. In my mind, the murderer is a "he" (with blue eyes, oddly enough). Sometimes, though, he's bald, with a goatee, and has a southern accent. hehe

I think the real release from the bondage of that guilt is in the understanding that we are all each as guilty as the other. The father of the victim is only really able to extend grace when he sees that he is also an undeserving recipient of such favor. The murderer cannot then hoard all the grace to him (ok, her)self. "Paying it forward" is the logical next step. I don't know if it would be fair to say that a person can only give as much grace as they receive, but it might be worth exploring.

I'm not talking about a quid pro quo. I'm just saying that grace is something that grows, it's receipt naturally(?) resulting in the further giving of it. Humility, not more guilt, evidences a true perspective.

4/20/2007 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Dorsey, I totally agree with your last comment.

Dorsey, is it kinda like the woman at the pharasee's house? When Jesus said those who have been forgiven little, love little and those who have been forgiven much will love much.

Could it be that humility is the unobstructed path that grace travels through for a person to consciously receive the love of God? And grace is the act that the purest form of Love shows Itself by.
Humility is the most freeing thing for my soul, I just wish I would walk in it more instead of fleeing from it.

I hope I didn't kill the kitten on those thoughts. :)

KC
Sacraments, I believe in them because I think they are given by God for me to do to acknowledge what God in Christ has ALREADY done for me.

4/20/2007 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris wouldn't that be an ordinance instead of a means of grace?

4/20/2007 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I've heard your definition of grace before. I have also heard: God's Riches At Christ's Expense.

There are others, but the point is that GRACE originates with God and is offered to all who will accept it. It carries no baggage.

The ordinances are followed as an act of obedience, testimony and introspection. They have no intrensic power.

4/20/2007 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

KC, I am not sure what you mean.

I am calling the "sacraments" a one time believers baptism and regular rememberence of the Lords sacrifice by bread and wine. Am I confused? Are these actually ordinances and something else sacraments or can they be called both?

As far as "means of grace", I never have really understood what the term means of grace actually is. Call me dense...many have LOL, but the only "means of grace" i can wrap my head around is what God did in Christ when He reconciled me to Himself. I don't consider any action on my part wether baptism, the Lords Supper, putting away fleshly desires, or even humility as a means or way to receive grace. Now humility lets me experience grace but it doesn't cause it in any way.

4/21/2007 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Gordon Cloud said...

KC, I would agree with your definition of grace. It is very simply God's act of giving us that which we do not deserve.

Consider the thief on the cross, he received neither baptism, which had already been instituted, nor communion, which had been instituted the previous night, yet he received the promise, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."

That was grace.

4/21/2007 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Gordon Cloud said...

As a demonstration of grace on your part, would you kindly remove one of the duplicate comments that I inadvertently left behind?

Thanks.

4/21/2007 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

KC, in my comment above, the sacraments that I referred to are not baptism and communion of the last supper. I did/do these things, but I know I recieved the HS prior to my baptism not at it, and I participate in communion, but do not think it confers any grace on me.

The thing I held to the longest as the gospel was becoming apparent to me was that I had to be "better" before God would have me. I had to quit smoking, quit swearing, stop yelling at my kids, work on my character, etc. Once I had those out of the way, then I could accept God's grace and become a Christian. When I figured out how lame and prideful that was, I kept all of it a secret because I just knew I was the only one stupid enough to ever think like that. As I am now studying out eternal salvation, I am beginning to realize that I never really shirked all that belief. Even though I know it is wrong, deep down I still believe I have to do something to qualify. These, whatever they are at the moment, are the sacraments I have been holding onto.

As Dorsey said, "I'm just saying that grace is something that grows, it's receipt naturally(?) resulting in the further giving of it. Humility, not more guilt, evidences a true perspective."

Maybe someday I'll have that.

4/21/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

It's interesting, it seems grace is spoken of often, as in this comment meta, as a "quality" or "concept" or even "substance", but often (and in regards to salvific issues) it is related to a "Person", the Holy Spirit is the personification of grace who "immediately" comes to the heart of man (cf. Rom. 5:5; II Cor. 3:3; Ez. 36:24ff; etc.). It is very "Roman Catholic" to think of grace as a "mediated quality" that is dispensed through "sacraments".

Also, viewing "justice" and "grace" as incompatible creates a faulty dilemma. Since God's grace, and the giving of it, is presupposed by His mercy and justice, in the sense that there would be no need for grace if there was no penalty (or justice) required of sin. God's holiness sets the context for both justice and grace. God's grace doesn't "overlook" justice, in fact it is the soil which his love (Rom. 5:6, 8) is able to flourish and be ultimately expressed toward His creation. When we are called to extend grace it is in light of God's justice being satisfied at the cross of Christ--we aren't "overlooking" injustice we are recognizing that the cross of Christ serves as the great "reversal", and that the gospel inbreaks on injustice and fills it up with the redemptive life and work of Christ--this is indeed gracious.

4/21/2007 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

This is a great discussion and I am amazed at the insight, perception and observation of everyone. It seems there are three, perhaps four, perspectives here that I suspect, when taken together, might provide a clearer understanding of God’s grace and perhaps grace in general.

Gordon,
I know that many consider the experience of the thief to be invalid when relating God’s plan of salvation but I find it a perfect example. I’m not sure I would call grace an act but rather the reason for His wondrous act of love.

Missy,
I consider the understanding of grace as punishment that you illustrated to be one of the most poetic allusions to pride that I’ve ever encountered. I think it is a painfully clear illustration of the devastating effect of pride in our life. I would consider this perspective to be based solely in view of self.

Dorsey,
I consider your understanding that we might all assume this same attitude can only be gained through the consideration of others. I would consider this perspective relational with respect to others.

Kris,
I would say that your understanding of humility as the answer to the problem of the self that Missy illustrated is only achieved when we clearly see God’s perfection in contrast to our own. I would consider this perception relational with respect to God.

Joe,
I think your statements concerning the origin, availability and reaction to God’s grace reflect a combination of the three perspectives above. BTW it’s always great to have your thoughts here and I hope Mrs.BJ had a wonderful birthday! ;-)

Mr. Grow, (hehe)
Your observations and considerations always challenge me to expand my thinking and, as I would expect from such a brilliant theologian, seem to be made in view of your understanding of God. I would say your perception is based solely on a view of God. I find your perception of grace unique and potentially the most valid, because it is the only one that addresses how that grace relates to God. While this forces me to examine my definition of grace outside of relational terms I’m not sure that I can perceive it without them.

Given my present thinking that grace is the reason behind any act of love I suspect it is eternal like love, meaning it is not caused or created out of circumstance or need but is only made evident to us through those means. This would again preclude the possibility that any thing could be a sacrament or a means of grace and agrees that, just as love, grace is found only in or through God and through no other means.

Everyone,
Bobby’s current post Eating and Drinking Grace: Do Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants Have a Similar View of Grace [?] is highly relevant to my reason for posting this question.

4/22/2007 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Kitty Cheng said...

Wow this is certainly a great discussion.

KC, I've nominated you for the thinking blogger award.

4/22/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks sis! ;-)

4/23/2007 03:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Gordon Cloud said...

KC, I would agree with you that grace is a quality more than it is an act. However, I would say that the verbs that stem from grace are no less gracious than the noun. :-)

4/24/2007 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Amen Preacher! ;-)

I'm struggling with a much broader perspective on grace as a result of the discussion and Bobby's articles but I find myself still holding to the notion that grace is somehow the reasoning or justification for love.

4/24/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

KC I haven't put in my 2 cents worth cause I'm trying to learn something from these great minds ? Took me three days to learn what the definition of sacraments was? I think sacraments have to do with all we recieve from the point of believing to our baptismal and recieving our salvation from God ? I hope my comment didn't upset anyone if so correct me ! Blessings . Ron.

4/24/2007 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Bro. Ron I sympathize but your thoughts are always welcome late or not. ;-)

4/25/2007 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Sorry I am a late in coming to this discussion.

I must also admit I have not read the comments above before I started my comment.

The sacrement vs ordinance debate is well established in our day.

It appears that both are correct. You mentioned that if grace is unmerited favor then how can a ritual be considered grace. From a sacramental understanding, the "ritual" is not the grace itself but a means for grace to reach humankind. It can still be "unmerited favor". Baptism or even communion are physical means that some would say God has chosen in which to give his grace.

Being still an ordinance person (that is believing baptism and communion are ordinances not sacrements) I am not willing to give up completely on the value of a sacremental system.

Why can't God use physical means (water and the communion table) to communicate his grace?

As I understand it theologically, if the sacrements are taken without faith, the person is simply getting a little water dripped on them and enduring some unleavened bread and grape juice (wine). Now, does this theological understanding reach down to the pew sitter. I am afraid it may not many times. In that sense, the sacremental system breaks down. But I wold imagine the same arguement could also be proposed to those to take the ordinances without faith also.

4/25/2007 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pech, I really would like to alter my perspective on this if possible and if anyone can help me in that it’s you. It seems that for me to do so I will have to adjust either my admittedly limited understanding of God’s grace or my understanding of the means through which He administers it.

Presently I see His grace as the reason for His love and Christ as the only means of grace. What am I missing?

4/28/2007 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Yes, indeed. Christ is the means of God's grace in a technical sense. But how is God's grace appropriated?

Now, since I am still in the ordinance camp I am not sure I buy every jot and title of the sacrement system (nor even understand it fully).

So to help me answer the above question, I have another question. Is it possible for grace to be "transported" (for lack of better word) to mankind through physical elements? Could God use water to "distribute" (again I am falling short of the precise wording) his grace? At first glance, it appears I am asking can one get salvation through water baptism? And some of the, I'll call them, high sacremental systems interpret that question and may indeed answer in the affirmative. To us that looks like gaining grace by an action, or salvation by works.

Its almost looks like saying, "Oh look there in the baptistry, you can see pieces of God's grace floating around, Go bathe in it, and you will by osmosis get God's grace." Now, I hope that is a funny illustration. This is not exactly what I am saying.

I'll use a poor illustration. There is man separated from God. God sees him in his situation and decided to rescue him. That decision was God's grace. He's acting favorable to mankind, who did not earn this rescue. But for man to get this help, he needs a pipe for the grace of salvation to get to him. This pipe is the way (possibly by God's design) for him to get the help of God. This pipe is natural stuff (water, wine, bread etc, things set apart by God as the conduit of his grace). But at each end of the pipe, there is a facet. Man has a facet which is closed. God's end is closed. On God's end, he opens the facet through the means of Christ. Now the pipe has in it God's grace. However, man is still lost. He can only get the stuff (grace) that is in the pipe through Christ. Christ will have to open his end also. When man by faith asks for the pipe to be opened, he asks God to do it. God does open man's facet thru Christ. Therefore, when both facets are open God's grace has been appropiated by physical means.

I must add, this illustration is of my own device and has not fully been tested. I am open to seeing how it breaks down. I must also add that I am simply open to the possibility of a sacremental system (when it is understood that doing a ritual does not confer salvation or grace). It does not invalidate an ordinance understand and vice versa. Otherwise, I would have to move to the other side of the isle in my Christian affliation. I am hopeful that grace can be and, more often than not, is appropriated thru non-physical means also.

4/30/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

If I can comment/elaborate on the pipe illustration, I imagine the grace as an enormous waterfalll, with the man standing in the middle of the falls holding on to the little pipe (which is fixed in the middle of the falls). The grace does not need the pipe in order to fall on the man, nor does the man really need the pipe to get a faceful of grace. The pipe is simply the object that keeps the man in the vicinity of the grace.

Given my bent towards the relational, I tend to think we are largely conduits of God's grace. The sacraments just keep us coming into proximity so that we can spill out on each other. If there is merit to this idea, then I suppose gathering is the sacrament.

4/30/2007 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks to both of you for your help. Pech it may be that my problem is in the distinction I perceive between appropriation and distribution in which case a “means of grace” might be indicative of a form of distribution. That’s a very loose concept to me but I would certainly entertain an argument in that direction. At present I would say the only means for appropriating God’s grace is faith. Dorsey in your analogy I see faith as the pipe.

5/01/2007 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Mmm... I might agree about faith, except that I still receive grace when my faith goes on holiday (and it does, sometimes). Maybe sacraments are a sort of tangible anchor that keep us in the habit of being in grace even when our faith isn't functioning properly? Maybe?

I don't assert this to be truth. I'm just thinking this through out loud.

Um, did we ever decide at what point faith becomes a work? That would bear on this.

5/01/2007 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

“I still receive grace when my faith goes on holiday”

Dorsey do you really stop believing in Christ or is it that you doubt yourself or your understanding? I would say that to be without faith would mean to fall from grace or to be cut off. I don’t see that as revoking what God has already done but I do see it as the loss of any future growth in relationship in Him as well as having to suffer the consequences of a wasted life in judgment.

“Maybe sacraments are a sort of tangible anchor that keep us in the habit of being in grace even when our faith isn't functioning properly? Maybe?”

I could work with a definition along these lines but I’m not sure that most who hold to sacraments could agree.

“Um, did we ever decide at what point faith becomes a work? That would bear on this.”

Actually I think that’s the source of my biggest problem with sacraments. I don’t understand faith to ever be a work but I do find the good works that we do in Christ are empowered by our faith and are illustrative of the same. I just don’t find scripture to indicate that any physical act that we do empowers or enables God’s grace.

5/01/2007 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Kitty Cheng said...

Hehe I like how you all display 'Grace' as you debate about the topic.

I agree with you Kc, that there is no scriptural reference to indicate that acts empower or enable God's grace, as it's given by God, not earned by us!

5/01/2007 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks Sis. I think this is more of an inquiry than a debate but regardless it's way too easy for me to be gracious where these two guys are concerned. They are way salty! ;-)

5/01/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

Hey KC. I've been enjoying this discussion, but I have a question.

According to the NASB Greek Lexicon, here is the definition of grace:
of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

It would seem to me that the concept of grace is much bigger than favor. According to this definition, grace is more of a power or a force that not only turns us to Christ, but keeps and strengthens us as we grow in Him. It's an empowerment from within...

It is unmerited, in that we do not/cannot 'earn' it. But isn't there a level of participation necessary to see it to fruition?

5/02/2007 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Jeff I’m always amazed at how God uses each of us as a blessing to one another. When I posted this I expected my understanding on sacraments to be challenged in the hope that I might find common ground with those who hold to them. God has instead blessed me to be able to open myself up to a “growing” perception of His grace. I knew my understanding of grace was limited but I felt no compulsion to expand it because I knew it surpassed all understanding. I can see now how that attitude was actually limiting my perception. I am now open to allow my perception of His grace to always expand instead of settling for a limited closed perception. I credit that to Bobby’s paper on the Pauline perspective of grace from 2nd Corinthians in which he says, “Graciousness is ultimately a feature of God's nature, when we are reconciled into His nature (cf. I Cor. 6:17, II Cor. 5:14ff.), then His "grace" is communicated to us via the person of the Holy Spirit (see Rom. 8:9)”. Another of his thoughts on “karis” that I found most striking was this, “The basic principle I picked up here, was that God’s grace is the source from which all adequacy and sufficiency for godly living must flow.”

All this to say that while I must agree with this, “It would seem to me that the concept of grace is much bigger than favor. According to this definition, grace is more of a power or a force that not only turns us to Christ, but keeps and strengthens us as we grow in Him. It's an empowerment from within...”, I still haven’t been able to adjust my understanding on sacraments.

“But isn't there a level of participation necessary to see it to fruition?”

I know most often we perceive ourselves as participating but I wonder if it’s more a matter of allowing and accepting than actually participating but either way do you really find our actions as being instrumental to His grace rather than reflective of it?

BTW it’s great to have your thoughts here again. ;-)

5/02/2007 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

"do you really find our actions as being instrumental to His grace rather than reflective of it?"

That's an interesting question. I do not feel that our response to God's grace changes grace from His perspective. I believe it changes it from ours.

So instrumental? For me, definitely! I cannot conceive of grace from His perspective.

Regarding sacraments, I wonder if that isn't more for us, than it is for Him, as well...

5/02/2007 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Jeff how would you define "sacrament"?

5/02/2007 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

I'd define a sacrament as a religious rite or ceremony. Usually, sacraments were originally instituted by Jesus Christ, seemingly for the purpose of serving as a covenant acknowledgement/reminder of a spiritual truth.

I know some have said that through sacraments, God administers grace to those involved. But it would seem to me that if the Christ's act on the cross/in the grave/resurrection was efficacious, any grace necessary to assist us in this life was completely poured out at that moment. The sacrament serves as an opportunity for us to choose to receive it.

5/02/2007 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Muy bueno! Your definition is what I refer to as an ordinance. I was pretty sure we were in agreement in all but semantics. ;-)

5/02/2007 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

Yeah. I'm happy to admit that I'm completely out of my element when it comes to sacraments.

Growing up in a pentecostal church, the closest thing we came to a sacrament was communion on the 3rd Sunday of the month.

I actually heard some teaching on icons, sacraments and ordinances from a Syrian Orthodox ArchBishop that was pretty interesting. But I guess the worship aspect of it never really resonated with me.

I don't want to hijack your post, but I'd be interested to hear your definition of sacrament, and how it is applied in the concept of worship.

5/02/2007 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

I almost forgot...

Are you approaching your original question from a Calvinist point of view? Sacrament as an assurance of grace? a necessity for salvation?

I don't understand much about that either. I'm from that whole 'confess with your mouth - believe in your heart' school of thought... :)

5/02/2007 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

I have always understood a sacrament to be an act or an object that is considered to be a means for “appropriating” God’s grace. Given the pipe analogy above a sacrament could serve as the pipe. With this definition in view I would understand that there are no such things as sacraments and that God’s grace is appropriated through faith alone.

I have to admit I am considering the possibility that a sacrament could be considered as a means of “administering” God’s grace in which case even an individual could be considered a sacrament. My thoughts on this are very loose and I’m honestly still very uncomfortable with the idea but I try always to be very open to any scripture that might show me to be in error.

I honestly hadn’t considered Calvinism in this. In a holistic view of salvation I would agree with you concerning confession but I don’t believe confession or any other action on our part is necessary for or can secure us eternal life or God’s grace. I believe that the only persons who can make confession are those who, by the grace of God, have already secured eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. With confession we begin the process of losing our earthly life so that we might save it eternally.

5/03/2007 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

I believe that the only persons who can make confession are those who, by the grace of God, have already secured eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

So, out of the abundance of the heart (belief) the mouth speaks? An expression of what's already happened inside? That's cool.
(wait! this isn't predestination is it... :)


I have to admit I am considering the possibility that a sacrament could be considered as a means of “administering” God’s grace in which case even an individual could be considered a sacrament.

Can you give me an example of a sacrament that 'administers' grace? Does an ordinance become a sacrament, when approached from the proper heart-attitude?


I have always understood a sacrament to be an act or an object that is considered to be a means for “appropriating” God’s grace.

I guess this makes sense.

Still, I read the book of Ephesians looking for the word 'grace'. It's amazing how many references to grace are past-tense... already accomplished (see 3:8- 'grace given').

Of course, my next question is, "What is the relationship between 'accomplished' grace and 'administered' grace?" Personally, I would contend that 'accomplished' grace is 'available' grace. It only becomes 'administered' when it is 'appropriated' (that whole free-gift thing...).

Where a sacrament fits into all this, I have not a clue. Maybe it'll make more sense when I understand what a sacrament really is...

I'm just glad its available.

5/03/2007 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

As Jefe indicated, in our tradition, the Lord's Supper was the closest thing we had to a sacrament (oh, and water baptism, full immersion only). Neither, however was really considered a means for appropriating grace.

While we practiced them because we believed Christ so commanded, we never considered that they carried any intrinsic power beyond symbolism. Baptism was simply a public proclamation (although "the public" was never really in attendance). Communion was a means of identifying with Christ and commemorating "the price He paid."

These events were administered with the idea of helping us keep focused on Christ. I never understood them to have any supernatural qualities. In that regard, I don't think there is such a thing as a sacrament, either. Sacrament would imply that one action is sacred or spiritual, while another is not. That doesn't fit my paradigm.

5/03/2007 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Jeff, I believe in predestination to the degree that Christ and His body are predestined in many things but I don’t find that any individual person is predestined to eternal life.

I can’t think of an example where any “thing” could be considered as administering God’s grace but I do suspect He uses us to do so. I would be willing to be corrected on that point. ;-)

For the rest we agree and I think you’ve made some excellent points. I can’t see how sacraments as I define them can exist.

I would say I am starting to gain the perception that grace is not so much a “thing” or commodity as it is an aspect of God or perhaps His nature. Still thinking…

Dorsey we agree in our understanding on Baptism and the Communion service.

5/03/2007 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

For the rest we agree and I think you’ve made some excellent points.

Whew! I was a little nervous as I traveled down this path that I know little to nothing about.

I love it when smart people agree with me ;)

5/03/2007 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Ha! Those were my exact thoughts! ;-)

5/03/2007 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

KC I'm still reading everyday and hanging around and trying to fill up all them holes in my brain ? I'm still praying for all of us ? Blessings . Ron.

5/03/2007 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thank you so much Bro. Ron. I'm not sure we're supposed to get all the holes filled in this life but I trust God will bless you for your faithfulness. I truly appreciate your prayers.

5/04/2007 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger pecheur said...

I always seem to come too late. I apologize.

I concede that there seems to be little direct scriptural support for a "sacremental" system. (Otherwise, I would supply those passages)

I am still open to sacremental forms though. But I must add that no institution can say which physical elements are the ones that God's grace can flow thru. I am still working on how all this "works," if it works at all.

I want to avoid the gnostic heresy that the early church combatted, in which material was evil and spiritual good. It is out of that battle that the sacremental system was born. So, that is why I want to remain open to the possibility. And really that is the only reason. Now, there are a ton of things still left for me to understand and find biblical justification.

Again My apologizies for the long delay.

5/06/2007 03:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pech, no problem and no rush ever. I appreciate whatever time you can find to discuss here.

This subject has been very challenging to me and has me deep in study. I'm thinking I'll need to bring it back up to you guys again in the very near future. ;-)

5/06/2007 12:56:00 PM  

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