While I was looking at things yesterday for my dissertation, I was listening to a YouTube video. Michael Brown was on Sid Roth’s show, criticizing the hyper-grace movement. According to Dr. Brown, these are preachers who believe that Christians are saved by grace, so they don’t need to try to please God or live a holy, obedient life.
“Oh, James, why do you torture yourself?”, some of you may be asking
(or not asking). “You’ll just listen to this and feel that God does not
love you because you have moral flaws.” Well, I was bracing myself
before I listened to the video. And I seriously doubt that I am ready
right now to listen to Dr. Brown’s hour-two hour sermons against the
hyper-grace movement. But some of what he said on Sid Roth’s show was
not that bad.
Dr. Brown was criticizing those who claim that Jesus’ statement in
the Sermon on the Mount that God won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive
others does not apply today. But Dr. Brown went on to say that, rather
than excising that passage from the Bible, we should remember that God
loves us—-that Jesus went to the cross for us. Consequently, he says,
he does not despair when he has a bad day. And, if he were to die on a
plane, he would not lack hope.
I appreciated his statements there because, even though he was
excoriating the hyper-grace movement, he was at least manifesting
sensitivity to where they might be coming from, and why people might
choose to believe that sort of thing. People are seeking security.
They want to feel that God loves them. But they cannot find that
security in their good works, for they are far from perfect, and even trying to be perfect is such toil.
That said, I’m tempted to listen to some of these hyper-grace
preachers. Just looking at their YouTube videos, they don’t seem to me
to be anti-holiness. Rather, they are saying that accepting God’s
grace—-believing in God’s acceptance—-can encourage personal holiness,
far more than focusing on one’s performance and trying to climb one’s
way to God’s approval can. (Of course, the hyper-grace preachers Dr.
Brown was criticizing may not be the ones I am looking at. I just
googled “hyper-grace preachers” and saw what names turned up.) That
resonates with me, even though I also think that such an attitude can
promote spiritual laziness and result in what we see today: Christians
who are such jerks, and feel no compunction about that.