I’ve never really considered myself all that good at coming up with good names for things like bands, blogs, or even sermons, which is why this blog just had my name at the top of it for the first couple of years. I thought I had a good one when I lifted the title of John Wesley’s sermon called “Free Grace.” It was biblical and Wesleyan, and I thought it couldn’t be beat. Not original, but hey. What are you gonna do? So, I named my blog after Wesley’s sermon and stuck a JW quote at the top of the page to give credit where credit is due.
Well, I recently realized that “free grace” is a term used to indicate one side of the debate as to whether one can know Jesus as savior without knowing him as lord. The “free grace” folks argue that one comes to know Christ as savior through faith and that subsequent good works only have to do with heavenly rewards. The other side, commonly known as “lordship salvation,” holds that justification is necessarily followed by good works which demonstrate the authenticity of the justifying faith. Thus, one can be said to be saved according to works but not on the basis of them, because the works are the fruit that demonstrates that one is indeed rightly related to God through Christ. Let me say two things about all this:
First, I don’t think that Wesley’s use of the term “free grace” indicated the same thing as the current free gracers mean. Wesley was big on good works. Sometimes to an even worrisome extent, in my view. I can’t imagine him ever saying that one could know Christ as savior without following him obediently as lord. But some of my scholarly Wesley buddies can correct me if I’m wrong on that.
Second, whatever Wesley meant by the term, I don’t want to be associated with the current “free grace” club as explained above. I fall solidly in the lordship salvation camp holding that obedience to Christ is absolutely necessary as evidence of authentic faith. If you have the Spirit, you will also have the fruit of the Spirit.
So, I’ve changed the name of this blog once again. The new name is “Incarnatio,” which, of course, is the Latin word from which we get “incarnation.” If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ll know I’ve been reading Athanasius and have incarnation on the brain. Also, I’ve been having a friendly debate on incarnation with some Jehovah’s Witnesses. So, I’m all the more resolved on the absolute necessity of the Incarnation. It seemed like a good name for two reasons. First, the incarnation is at the heart of Christianity proclaiming that God became human in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. That claim is basic and central and there is no Christianity without it. Second, it also hints at the idea of the church embodying Christ and reflecting his great glory into the world, which is no small thing.
So, here it is…a new name for this old blog. Perhaps this one will last longer than than its predecessor.