Posted 2nd Sept 2013

Scandalous Grace

Outrageous, this scene
Beyond all belief
An empty tomb before me
A dead man’s body raised for the sake of love?
Am I meant to believe
This God above
Has seen my heart’s filthy condition,
Shown me compassion
And accepted me?

My selfish compulsions-
To be trumped by His glory?
The things that I once chased-
A foolish man’s waste-
To be kicked curbside, as love takes their place?

His victory here is comprehensive,
This tomb, completely empty,
My God wins- wins convincingly.
Alive, He liberates me
From rule-keeping
and people-pleasing.
And with Christ as my case,
My sin is erased,
I stand, humbly bare-faced,
In His scandalous grace.

— Kylie Beach

Although it’s is a nice poem (I think it’s a song), can you see what’s missing? My sin is erased? But how? By His Scandalous Grace?

The glaring fault is the CROSS is not mentioned ONCE!

Grace_word

Of course Hillsong United have put out an album recently which included a single called ‘Scandal of Grace’. It ticked all the boxes theologically, but the idea just doesn’t sit well with me. If Hillsong uses such a phrase then it’s about being edgy, and hip.

There has been this steady incremental use of the word “SCANDALOUS” when it comes to GRACE. Without a clear explanation from anyone, the term has disturbed me, left me uneasy, and uncomfortable on more than one occasion. This strange modern concept of “Scandalous Grace”?

I have found a few books which have been written over the last decade which uncover the “scandal” which is the NEW DOWNGRADE; once more an attack on the Gospel, inflicted on another great and wonderful Christian doctrine, this time it’s God’s grace.

Shot across the bow of the church from out of the canon of HELL this doctrine of a “Scandalous Grace”, without any of these modern preachers like Carl Lentz of Hillsong NYC, Joel Osteen, and Joseph Prince, explaining or announciating the term. It’s left once again to the imagination of the hearer!

Carl Lentz from Hillsong NYC talk on Scandalous Grace — 57 mins.

If you take the time to watch the video, you will notice he never tells you what this ‘grace’ is, just thst it’s doing great and wonderful things at Hillsong New York. And that’s as much as you get, and all you need to know.

It would appear than as far back as 1986 the term ‘Scandalous Grace’ was used in a paperback by Jeris E Bragan, referring to prison ministry.

Since then others have made it a well used noun. Have you stopped to think about what the word actually means, or what are it’s connotations??

Scan·dal·ous/ˈskændləs/ Show Spelled [skan-dl-uhs] Show IPA
adjective
1. disgraceful; shameful or shocking; improper: scandalous behavior in public.
2. defamatory or libelous, as a speech or writing.
3. attracted to or preoccupied with scandal, as a person: a scandalous, vicious gossip.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Definition of SCANDALOUS1: libelous, defamatory
2: offensive to propriety or morality : shocking
— scan·dal·ous·ly adverb
— scan·dal·ous·ness noun
See scandalous defined for English-language learners »

Examples of SCANDALOUS
Sex was a scandalous subject back then.
Scandalous Liaisons
The magazine published scandalous pictures of the movie star.
The high price of gas these days is scandalous.
She was spreading scandalous rumors about him.

First Known Use of SCANDALOUS
1575

Related to SCANDALOUS
Synonyms
abhorrent, abominable, appalling, awful, disgusting, distasteful, dreadful, evil, foul, fulsome, gross, hideous, horrendous, horrible, horrid, loathsome, nasty, nauseating, nauseous, noisome, noxious, obnoxious, obscene, odious, rancid, repellent (also repellant), repugnant, repulsive, revolting, offensive, shocking, sickening, ugly

All of these Synonyms describe the atrocity of the Cross! The terrible cost, the pain, the suffering, the malice, the infamy of the Son of God being stripped bare – body, soul and spirit. I acknowledge that there is a scandal within the gospel, the scandal of grace, the scandal of friendship with sinners. It is all summed up in that statement “I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” The only people who can enter heaven, the only people who can be received by God, the only people who can be received into His glorious Kingdom, the only people who are given salvation are not the people who earn it, but the people who are self-defined and divinely defined sinners. He justifies the ungodly. That’s the message of the gospel.

The scandal is that we put HIM to death! The scandal is he died in our place, the scandal is that we nailed Him to a tree, to be a curse for us, Him who knew no sin, became sin for us!

Thus the scandal of the cross is the death of the pure for the impure, the just for the unjust, the innocent dying for the guilty. And so His grace is glorious,majestic, wonderful, AMAZING GRACE!

Although the use of Scandalous Grace can have a postive spin,here are a few examples of the publications that have taken the term Scandalous Grace as their title which are not;

Scandalous Grace
Julie Ann Barnhill
Publication Date: December 3, 2003
Book Description:
…. Julie Ann Barnhill boldly confronts the issues women face–including body image and their interactions with “other” women–with biblical accuracy and charming wit. With passion, she introduces women to the liberating and tantalizing realities of unconditional grace and gives them tangible examples of how to live in the light of such extravagant love.

Scandalous Grace:
Author: T A Herring
Aug 10 2010

The incredible story of how Christianity came to believe in …
A God who is love but whose love is limited,
A Savior who came to save the world but failed,
And a hell that wins most souls.

In spite of attesting and praising that “God is love”, traditional Christian doctrine has turned off and turned away many people (including many Christians) by insisting God’s “justice” must override His love for all people by sentencing most of them to an eternity in hell for not accepting Jesus Christ before they die. Many people struggle with this seeming contradiction of a God of infinite love and mercy that would resort to this horrific option of retribution in order to balance the scales of justice. Ironically, for 2000 years the Christian church has either overlooked, ignored or suppressed much evidence that this is not the God Jesus taught about, and not the God described in the Bible. Now, every Christian has no excuse for misrepresenting God’s inescapable love and scandalous grace.

Jesus and Hitler:
Salvation For The Worst Of Us, Salvation For All Of Us Through The Savior Of The World
May 2 2013
Author Wes Fahlenkamp (fall-in-camp)
This book will show you that God has good in store for all mankind, even the very worst of us. You will see that God loves His enemies and is willing and able to fulfill all of His good, pleasing and perfect plan. Instead of unbelievers being tormented in hell for eternity, they will go through God’s proper judgment for their sins. His judgment will lead them to bow in love, thankfulness and humility at the feet of their Savior, Jesus.

This book is full of Scripture and builds a solid argument for Christian Universalism.

The scandal therefore is, these rogues and deceivers are allowed to get away with this liberal ‘clap trap’, and do you want to know how they can? It’s because no-one gives a tupenny for the TRUTH, and the majority of Christendom is happy with funky teaching, and other similar vulgarities, that pass for Christian doctrine.

We have stooped to the lowest form of delinquency – religious narcisism, where everything that is bible, is contained in what it will do for me! How do I gain from this verse, or set of principles? God has become nothing more than a supernatural “slot machine”

Paul said in 2Cor 6:1,2 — “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive NOT the grace of God in vain.

2(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)As I wrote in my other article “Glorious Ruins“, we have these twisted ideas of God, of his death and resurrection. Today in a Christian bookstore I saw a new book with the title – “The insanity of God”. The book was a look at God working in the muslim nations, but the insanity of God? What about something like – “The Veiled God”, “God of the Martyrs”, “The Mysterious God”, “God came to Mecca”

The problem is this modern marketing which steps over boundaries in the hope of selling more books, and therefore we end up inadvertantly maligning God.

The scandal is that we have this GRACE, but we live as if we know nothing of the grace?!

This I say is the SCANDAL!!