Responsible Grace

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I am a member of the United Methodist Church. On January 6th, 2015 I said yes to Christ’s “yes” and began my journey of salvation. I was led by the good Grace of God into a Church that has been very good to me and my wife. As one who is theologically minded when making judgement calls about the more minute issues that Christians debate, I found myself quite drawn to the Methodist church even before I professed.

I will not go into the detailed and nuanced issues here that led me to follow Wesleyan theology (named after Methodism’s founder John Wesley). I will say that the idea of Prevenient Grace really struck me as a logical conclusion based on Biblical text, Wesley’s writings, and my own experience. Not only was this an idea progressed throughout the early Methodist movement, but even some Early Church Fathers seemed to espouse the idea of Prevenient Grace:

“Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.” ~St Augustine

The idea, if you are unfamiliar with the concept, is simple enough. In fact, I would say it is common sense. Much has been written on the subject and this Prevenient Grace has been debated among both Anglican and Reformed scholars for generations. The best book I have read on the subject is Responsible Grace by Randy L. Maddox:

“In its broad sense, Wesley invoked the prevenience of grace to affirm that every salutary human action or virtue, from the earliest expression of faith to the highest degree of sanctification, is grounded in the prior empowering of God’s grace. … This broad sense of prevenient grace goes back to the Early Church and is found in many classic Roman Catholic sources. ~Randy L. Maddox

Even in a legalistic sense, Prevenient Grace must logically occur even, as Wesley points out, when taken into account the idea of Total Depravity. For the “contract” of salvation to occur God’s Grace must precede the act of acceptance on the part of the sinner. God’s saving grace is neither totalitarian nor universally given. God’s love issues forth to reach our own aching souls that are depraved, yet made in His image.

I will continue to elaborate on my beliefs as time goes on. I plan to keep this blog going to better my own Christian walk.

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