Friday, January 23, 2009

Amazing Grace! Why do some want to go back under the law...

This is different than my regular posts. I read a blog yesterday about why a great Christian Homeschool Company like Sonlight is not allowed into the Denver CHEC Homeschool Convention. It was entitled "Are you being treated like a child?"

The gist is that Sonlight is not "Christian enough" for the convention organizers and the reason?? They want to go back under the law-- they cannot accept God's grace. OK, that is not the official reason, but that is my amateur analysis of the situation.

Remember the Apostle Paul--the Apostle to the Gentiles? In Ephesians 2:9 he said [Young's Literal Translation] " [salvation] is not of works, that no one may boast" And again in 2 Timothy 1:9 "[God] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity," [NASB].

So, salvation is by grace not by works--in other words not by keeping the law or a set of rules, which would make it works, but by God's grace; so that no man may boast.

I find this so interesting, since most Christian organizations have a list, usually a rather long list of what you must do to be saved. They may not say that, but they believe it. Just look at their requirements to be a church member!

I am of this opinion, that Paul gives as he is talking to his jailer, from Acts 16:30-31:

And [the jailer] brought them out, and said, Sirs, [referring to Paul and Silas]what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

Interesting, isn't it..what they didn't say? They didn't say:

Believe in a young earth creation
Ladies can only wear dresses [of course they all wore dresses back then]
Women can't work
Believe in the Trinity
Don't work on Sunday
and so on and so forth

Every Christian organization seems to have their own flavor of legalism. Do you see what I mean? All of these things force people to go back under law. Maybe not THE LAW, as in the Jewish Law, but under law just the same.

Paul got really disgusted with this way of thinking in his lifetime. Paul would preach grace and then the Judaizers*, they were actually Jewish Christian believers [as Paul himself was] would go behind him saying, "Grace, oh yeah, but you need to be circumcised too," [my loose interpretation].

And Paul would say, "Grace." Yet they continued just the same.

In Acts 15:5 Peter was talking to some Pharisees and in this passage they are discussing gentiles who believe in Christ "
5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."

And The Apostle Peter said in that same chapter, "10 "Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" He knew as Paul knew, the law could not save and it was a yoke that no one could bear.

It is no different today, Grace and ________ [fill in the blank].

And this is what the folks at many homeschool conventions, and most notably CHEC have done. To be a Christian you have to believe their variation of this age old notion. They want Grace and a young earth only perspective.

They go behind Paul and say "Grace isn't enough, you need to believe the earth was created 6000 years ago."

They are going back under the law when the Apostle Paul says, "
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." It is paternalistic. It is bad theology. And, it is way too prevalent in many? most? Christian organizations today.

It makes me wonder if most Christians today even appreciate why Christ came and died. If following the law could bring salvation, Christ died in vain. But He did not die in vain, he died to free us from the law! I don't know why it is so hard to grasp.

Take care,

* The "Judaizers" seem to be a group of Jewish Christians in the first century CE who preached to the recently founded churches of the Gentiles the need to conform to the Law of Moses, even after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This group originated in Jerusalem; we know little about them, only that they appear to be Pharisees (Acts 15:5). We do not know how organized they were or any names of any individuals within the movement. They are called the "Judaizers" for lack of a more official term; they attempted to make Jews out of Gentile Christians.


  1. Jill, thanks for adding your thoughts. I see the trend in my own like too: You need to accept grace and do-these-other-things-too to really be a Christian. I don't like it, but the fact remains: How we live is important. May God give us the grace we need to follow Him more closely and shine through us so others do the same as well.


  2. Hi Luke,

    Thanks for the comment. How we live is important, and we should always be ambassadors for Christ at all times, in everything we do.

    But, we should not judge how "Christian" someone else is by our personal biases. If I want to observe the sabbath or believe in a young earth then that is fine. But if I judge someone not to be "Christian enough" because they don't do the same thing as I do, that is not being an ambassador, that is being their judge.

    You are totally right, how we live is very important.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. As someone who has struggled with what it "means" to be Christian, I am constantly reminding myself that I have been set free. Seeing other Christ-followers, though, who have accepted a different path can be hard. Thanks for the reminder not to judge by what others are doing, but by what God is doing IN ME.

  4. You are so right, we can't judge others' motives, but on the other hand, we don't have to live up to their standards if God is not convicting us in the same way. Grace is an amazing thing! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. For what it is worth: SONLIGHT will be participating / exhibiting at the MidWest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati (

  6. Yes, Sonlight will be participating at most other homeschool conventions and we are thankful about that.

  7. As a side note, I will in the Sonlight Booth in Indianapolis, Lansing, Columbus, Ohio and Louisville, KY.