When Grace Hurts the Church

Aaron Menikoff | May 26, 2016


I didn’t always believe the doctrines of grace. As a college student I argued vehemently against the notion that God takes the initiative in our salvation. It stank of totalitarianism to me. It seemed, well, un-American.

My viewpoint eventually changed, and I can still remember the moment I understood God to be absolutely sovereign in redemption. I was walking to work while reading a book of sermons in the Gospel of John. (I’m not sure how I did this without tripping over the curb and running into oncoming traffic.) After pouring over the chapter on Jesus’s response to Nicodemus in John 3, everything clicked: without the Spirit of God, I’d be spiritually blind; without the new birth, I’d be spiritually dead. The jaw of my heart fell out of my chest and crashed onto the sidewalk. I didn’t know Calvin from Coolidge, but for the first time I grasped what it meant to be saved to the praise of his glorious grace (Eph. 1:3–14).

Years later, I’d be labeled “young, restless, Reformed.”

Sadly, I’m not so young anymore. I pastor a church that increasingly embraces the truth of God’s sovereign grace. Most members I serve would have a hard time defining what…


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