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.