Speaking as someone from a Reformed (and continually Reforming) mindset, I am very happy that the Michael Horton conference, “Putting Amazing Back Into Grace,” will push through as scheduled. I am even happier that the conference will be held in my church (yawzah!), and that I have no small part to play in the scheme of things.
I am very sure that Michael Horton will be a blessing to Christians who will attend his conference, whether or not they hold to the Reformed faith. It is my humble opinion that we are slowly forgetting what grace is, and are just slowly going through the motions of “church.” In other words, the church has slowly ceased to be a gathering of the elect, that celebrates the goodness and majesty of God every Lord’s day, and instead is playing church–come and join the social club because this is what we’ve been doing the past few years.
I also am sure that writing sweeping statements like that will be noticed and frowned upon, unless a disclaimer of sorts is added: I do believe that there are still sincere, devout Christians out there who see going to worship on Sunday as something more than just a thing to do on Sunday mornings. However, we would be blind and foolish if we do not concede the fact that for the most part, church is more a social club–gather together, eat together, sing a few songs (repeatedly ad nauseam), laugh together, hear a few words that tell us how good we’ve been doing trying to be good, etc.–than a church.
I also pray that we won’t go to the conference for the sake of going, without taking to mind the implications of putting amazing back into grace. Think about it clearly, because the title can fool you; it is easy to think that putting amazing back into grace is an easy thing. It isn’t.
Think this through…
We are sinners saved by the grace alone of an infinitely holy and righteous God. We are undeserving of that grace, and thus, that salvation. Yet God showed his love for us that while we were yet sinners (read: dead in sin, unable to do anything to earn merit) Christ died for us as an outpouring of his love. Because we exercise faith in response, now we are his by adoption (he gives us the right to be called children of God) and by redemption (he purchased us through the blood of Christ). He continues to sanctify us, for his glory. Sola Gratia, sola fide, and all that.
Now please tell me if our activities on Lord’s day (gathering together, eating together, singing a few songs (repeatedly ad nauseam), laughing together, hearing a few words that tell us how good we’ve been doing trying to be good, etc., are reflective of God’s grace. Of course, there is nothing wrong with gathering together, eating together and singing together. There is something wrong with being told how good we are. But done overall, without a thought of the wonderful grace of God, is insulting to a holy God who purchased us for holiness with the blood of his Son.
Putting amazing back into grace means that we should continue to reform–in our thoughts, our actions, our words, our beliefs,–because God is showing us how great he is, and how small we are. That is not easy at all.