A Quarterly Journal for Church LeadershipVolume 3, Number 1 Winter 1994
Reformation & Revival JournalA Quarterly Journal for Church LeadershipPublished byReformation & Revival Ministries, Inc.P.O. Box 88216Carol Stream, Illinois 60188-1917(708) 653-4165Editor: John H. ArmstrongAssociate Editors: Donald E. AndersonJim ElliffThomas N. SmithDesign and Production: Jennifer McGuireSubscriptions Manager: Stacy ArmstrongReformation & Revival Journal is published four times eachyear by Reformation & Revival Ministries, Inc., a not-for-Reformation &RevivalJournal (ISSN 1071-7277) is publishedquarterly, for 20 per year ,or 35 for two years, by Reformation & Revival Ministries, Inc., 152 Yuma Lane, Carol Stream,Illinois, 60188-1917. Application to mail at second-classrates is pending at Carol Stream, Illinois and additionalmailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes toReformation & RevialJournal, P.O. Box88216, Carol Stream,Illinois 60188-1917.profit teaching ministry organized in the state of Illinois in1991. The ministry is committed to the Scriptures of the Old. and New Testaments as the infallible Word of God and is inessential agreement with the confessional statements ofhistoric Reformation theology. The purpose of this ministryis centered in its name:1. To encourage reformation in the local Christian churchesworldwide,2. To promo,te the cause of revival and spiritual awakeningthrough prayer and the provision of resources to aidChristian leaders.
InformationTable of ContentsRefonnation & Revival JournalSubscription rates are 20 for one year, 35 for two years.Please remit in U.S. currency only. For overseas orders add 4 for each year for postage. Back issues and single issuesare 6 each. Canadian subscribers add 2 per year foradditional postage.Australian subscriptions available through:Reformation & Revival Ministries% Mr. Malcolm Bouchard110 Marshall RoadRocklea 4106United Kingdom subscriptions available through:Reformation & Revival Minstries% Mrs. Diane DeaconP.O. Box lW8Leeds LS16 7XBCanadian subscriptions available through:Reformation & Revival Minstries% Rev. Don B. CookP.O. Box 2953Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5G5Correspondence concerning articles, editorial policy,books for review, suggested manuscripts, and subscriptions should be addressed to the editor. Comments arewelcome.The conviction of the staff and editors of the Reformation & Revival Journal is that awakening; of the kind seen inthe First Great Awakening in this country, wedded to thedoctrinal concerns of the historic Protestant Reformationas expressed in the terms sola scriptura, sola gratia, andsola fide, is needed in our generation.ISSN 1071-7277All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise marked, are taken fromthe HOLY BIBLE, NEWINTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973,1978, 1984, by International Bible Society. Used by permission ofZondervan Bible Publishers.Editor's Introduction9John H. ArmstrongThe Grace of God15Richard C. LucasMisunderstandings of Grace33Tom Wells45What Difference Does It Make?Mark WebbMinistering the Grace of God in Pastoral Care 61A. Peter ParkinsonThe Grace of God and Departures From It79GaryD. LongCommon Grace: A Not So Common Matter101John H. ArmstrongAnnotated Bibliography127Book Reviews135
Editor's IntroductionAmazing grace, how sweet the soundThat saved a wretch like me!I once was lost, but now am found,Was blind, but now I see.Some of the most fa iliar words in all the language. Toofamiliar? Perhaps. But what is grace? And how does it affectthe life of the church and that of our pastors to affirm andbelieve in the grace of God? And we use a host of adjectivesto explain the various shades of meaning assigned to grace.We speak of efficacious grace, free grace, irresistible grace,and prevenient grace. We refer to grace with words likesanctifying, special and sufficient. And we come acrossideas like the covenant of grace and common grace inhistorical theology. And since the days of DietrichBonhoeffer, the martyred German pastor-theologian of theNazi era, we have a new adjective, which has given us a newusage of our word, "cheap grace."Grace has been variously defined. Contemporary theologian Millard J. Erickson, in his helpful little book, A ConciseDictionary of Christian Theology, writes that grace is "God'sdealing with man in undeserved ways; it is simply an outflow of God's goodness and generosity."Grace is a kind of key that unlocks the whole of God'srevelation to us in Scripture. It has been said that the themeof the Bible is salvation, and various theologies have stressedthis in several ways. But if this is true then it would beperhaps more accurate to say that the salvation which theBible presents is a display of grace from firstto last. Biblicalsalvation is all of grace (Eph. 2:5, 8); grace brings it to sinfulmankind (fitus 2:11); and the end of all that God does insalvation is doxological, with the focus of our praise for alleternity upon His glorious grace (Eph. 1:6). J. I. Packerobserves, therefore, that" . this one word 'grace' containswithin itself the whole of New Testament theology. The New
Editor's IntroductionTestament message is just the announcement that gracehas come to men in and through Jesus Christ, plus asummons from God to receive this grace (Rom. 5:17; 2 Cor.6:1) . Grace is the sum and substance of New Testamentfaith."lWe cannot make sense of the Bible, especially the NewTestament, unless we begin with grace. Multitudes (evenwithin what we call evangelicalism) have missed this grandtheme, and as a result they find moralistic life principles inthe New Testament, and not life itself! They especially tripover the Pauline Epistles, not seeing the glorious truth ofgrace running like a beautiful thread throughout. Othersbring mystical notions to the New Testament that keepthem from this theme as well. As many theologians havenoted, the New Testament has God the Holy Spirit as itsauthor, with grace its theme. It is the theme which holds thevarious historical and theological truths together.The grace of God is at the heart of any distinctly Christiantheology. Indeed, one might say this theme separates Christian theologies from all others with their various emphasesupon man's life of religious devotion and moralistic effort,and his futile attempts to appease an angry Deity, etc.Perhaps it is because this theme of grace runs like a threadthrough the whole of Christian theology and worship thatwe do not often seek to define or understand it better thanwe do. It is a presupposition of all that Christians believe,and it is present in every doctrine that we confess, yet it isinfrequently defined or carefully pondered by the devoutChristian in our time.As important as this theme is, we can safely observe thatit has been lost on many in our time. If we are to see arecovery of biblical truth and a genuine awakening in ourchurches then we must have a recovery of this theme of theScriptures, for as J. I. Packer notes:Editor's IntroductionUnhappily, however, the meaning of grace is not wellappreCiated today. For the past century and more, this topichas been so neglected by some, and mishandled by others,that the clear and profound understanding of it which theReformers and Puritans and eighteenth-century Evangelicalsbequeathed to their posterity has almost vanished from theBritish [and North American] religious scene. The word"grace" remains as part of our religious vocabulary, and weregularly hear it used in public prayer ("grant us the help ofThy grace . ," "give us grace that we may ."). But to manyit suggests only vague notions ofa celest!al battery-chargeadministered through the sacraments, while to more (onefears) it signifies nothing whatsoever. And meantime manypractice in the name of Christianity forms of religion whichfrustrate and deny the grace of God completely. No needin Christendom is more urgent than the need for a renewedawa eness of what the grace of God really is. Christians longto see reformation and revival in the churches; today asyesterday, it is only from a rediscovery of grace that theseblessings will flow.2Reformed theology, in particular, has always had a preoccupation with grace. Perhaps the reason for this is foundin the sixteenth-century debates with Rome over soteriology,but one senses that it is fundamentally related to thereforming impulse itself, an impulse always desirous ofreclaiming grace in its distinctly biblical, and particularlyPauline, sense. It was in the Pauline letters to the Romansand the Galatians that Luther, an Augustinian monk, discovered the true meaning of freedom and forgiveness for hisfrequently tormented soul. Here he found the answer toGod's law and its demands for righteousness. Here hediscovered that God declares as just those who believe,solely on the basis of grace received through faith alone.The righteousness of Christ is given by imputation to thebelieving sinner. The whole transaction is one of pure grace,understood as God's free, gratuitous and salvific activity forthose dead in transgressions and sin. John Calvin, followingm
Editor's IntroductionEditor's Introductionthis pattern of thought and developing further this "gracecentered" perspective, saw grace as "the main hinge onwhich religion turns." In this, Calvin, as Luther, rediscovered the Augustinian teaching on sin as a condition andstate into which all men are born in Adam. Sin was notmerely "bad choices" or actions, but a state of being. Mensin for sure, but they sin precisely because they are sinfulGod haters, bound to their own evil inclinations and desires. Augustine, a theologian of grace if there ever wassuch, saw the only hope for man the sinner was God's grace.Luther and Calvin reclaimed this central truth in their day,and light burst forth with renewed effect upon the church ofChrist.3John Calvin sought to develop a radically Pauline doctrine of the Christian life, and did so by emphasis upon gracefrom start to finish. He wrote:Christ was given to us by God's generosity [Le., grace], to begrasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him,we principally receive a double grace: namely, that beingreconciled to God through Christ's blamelessness, we mayhave in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; andsecondly, that sanctified by Christ's spirit we may cultivateblamelessness and purity of life. 4All that we are as believers is lived out by grace andthrough our response to God's grace,His free and unmerited favor toward us in Jesus Christ. Both justification andsanctification have their roots in grace. And the grace whichsaves us leads us to offer our whole life as an act of worshipto God (Rom. 12:1-2).Hymn writer and preacher Philip Doddridge expressedthis well when in 1755 he composed the words ofa hymnwhich says:Grace! 'tis a charming sound, harmonious to my ear;heav'n with the echo shall resound, and all the earth shallhear.Grace first contrived a way to save rebellious man,and all the steps that grace display which drew the wondrousplan.Grace taught my wand'ring feet to tread the heav'nly road,and new supplies each hour I meet while pressing on to God.Grace all the work shall crown through everlasting days;it lays in heav'n the topmost stone, and well deserves thepraise. 5EditorEndNotes1 J. I. Packer,God's Words (Downers Grove, Illinois:InterVarsity Press 1981),95.2 Ibid., 95-96.3 Donald K. McKim (Editor), Encyclopedia of the ReformedFaith (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John KnoxPress, 1992), 160-61.4 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3,Chapter 11, Section 1. (philadelphia: Westminster Press,1975 edition), 725.5 Philip Doddridge, a hymn titled: "Grace! Tis a CharmingSound." Doddridge (1702-1751) was an English nonconformist minister who most notably served as principalof an academy and pastor of a large church inNorthhampton. He wrote several books but is bestknown for his hymns, many of which are still sung today.III