Saturday, May 14, 2011

These are a few of my favorite teachers

I wrote something the other day that might just need some clarification. I said:
What amazes me lately is . . . just how many people have national/international ministries, glossy websites, books, speaking schedules, podcasts, marketing plans, etc. All of them claiming to have some special angle, or a unique message to help the vast needy masses become un-needy at last, achieve that great triumph they've been dreaming of (or that they've been trained by marketers to think they must achieve, or else life will not be whole). It's a great big house of cards, that's what I think.
I want to emphasize today that there are a lot of teachers and preachers out there whom I admire and am happy to learn from. One of those is Terry Virgo, of the New Frontiers family of churches. here are a couple of example's of Terry's fundamental message.

3a. The Gospel of Grace from Terry Virgo on Vimeo.

3b. The Gospel of Grace from Terry Virgo on Vimeo.

What I appreciate about Virgo is his focus on the one single central message of grace. This puts him in league with another of my other favorite teachers, Steve Brown.

And then there's Dallas Willard.

And just for good measure I'll throw in one more. One of the writer/bloggers who frames this message of grace (the common thread among all these teachers) in unique and sometimes startling ways is Jared Wilson. Read, for example, The Gospel Against Hyper-Spirituality.

By the way, I've noticed that it's mostly old guys that honor the message of grace most persistently (Jared's the exception here, of course); folks like Virgo, Brown, Willard, and for another example, Brennan Manning. The message of grace takes a while, apparently, to really sink in. Life has to humble you a little first, perhaps.

Meanwhile, it's the young church planters and "leaders," so full of visions and plans and gifts of persuasion, who seem to always want to catch people up in their grand designs for the church rather than simply to refresh them with "glimpses of liberty" (Virgo's phrase).

See, I just want to be an ambassador for Jesus, growing into him with others through the living out of this message of grace. The message is about freedom, not more things to do. Me, I don't want to be a counselor or for that matter to be counseled. Also, I don't want merely the language of grace if it's just going to be a bait-and-switch to try to get me involved in your program (or buy your book, or adopt your seven steps to victory/breakthrough/prosperity/whatever). I just want to be a carrier of grace--the grace of God. Those teachers who can help me keep the focus right, who can remind me now and then of the freedom that is in Christ, those are teachers I appreciate and want to hear more of. That's the teaching I'm needy for.


rick said...

Spot on ...

Albert said...

Love the line "a carrier of grace", thanks for helping me get reoriented this morning.

Bob Spencer said...

My pleasure, Albert. Thanks for stopping by.

Glynn said...

Here I am, staring 60 in the face, adn what you say about the "old guys" makes peerfect sense. It often takes a lifetime to see what beauty and goodness and love and grace God has for us.