Janelle, Julie and I have been having a wonderful thought-provoking discussion provoked by my post; "Effects of Grace and Law!!" - where I bit the bullet and wondered whether accountability groups were a good way to promote sanctification and also whether C J Mahaney's famous statement; "I am the worst sinner I know" is actually very biblical. One of the reasons I have such respect for Janelle in particular is that she is outstandingly polite in her disagreement, unswerving in her stand on theology she believes in - and incredibly well-read! She'd make a wonderful theologian ... ;-)
So she has written a response and an excellent summary of what's been happening in the discussion here:
A Reply: Scripture and Bible Doctrine
Janelle pulls on John Piper and Wayne Grudem in her defence, and it has really made me think through the distinction evangelicals have made between justification and sanctification. I think Rob Rufus is trying in his preaching to bring the two closer together. As I said to Janelle - the wonderful SGM guys love the phrase "Never move past the Cross". Surely that is a similar concept? That at justification we had this glorious moment when God imputed to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ and we were indeed "clothed with His robe of righteousness". But then God doesn't leave us to struggle through alone - with every sin and failure blotting that wonderful robe of righteousness surely?
(By the way Julie has also written a thought-provoking post based around some of our discussions: The Hybrid 'Gospel' where she addresses the danger of mixing an Old Covenant gospel and a New Covenant gospel - something I totally 100% agree with)
If that were true, then indeed we surely must have to take drastic action to restore fellowship with a pure and holy God - post-conversion. "The blood availeth still!". "Christ ever lives to intercede for us". The question I am pondering right now with my second cup of coffee is this - does Christ's intercession for us REQUIRE our confession to ensure God's forgiveness for that post-conversion adulterous thought or proud moment or lie? Our confession wasn't required at that moment of justification! How could we confess? We were "dead in trespasses and sin". It wasn't required at Abraham's moment of calling! What singled him out in God's plans and purposes was that he was prepared to believe God wanted to bless him and make him a father of nations.
I must hold up my hands and admit I am not quite sure what Rob Rufus's thoughts are absolutely on the issue of sanctification - because I have heard him say before that one of the reasons he is so grateful for Ryan's presence in Hong Kong is that is something Ryan teaches very well - whereas Rob sees his gifting as more teaching on justification. So for my homework - I am going to go away and listen to Ryan's sermon and type it up:
"Sanctification By Grace - "The Trinity of Man - Part 1"
Surely this is something that deeply concerns us all. As I said over on Janelle's blog - despite our disagreements about the methods to get to the goal - we can I think all be convinced that we stand and run together on THE goal - and that is to become more and more like Jesus Christ our glorious and wonderful Bridegroom knowing that one day we will stand before Him with unveiled faces!!