Friday, December 27, 2013


    Recently there has been a media storm concerning the Patriarch of Duck Dynasty and an interview in a magazine wherein his views about homosexuality were solicited, and he expressed them.  A gay advocacy organization demanded that A&E fire the man, and A&E complied by suspending him indefinitely.
    I offer that very brief review of the situation just in case the reader is ignorant of my reason for writing.   The reactions of Christians have been varied.  Many have been vehemently agitated and angered at this attempt by an organization to censor someone's free speech based on their personal religious beliefs.  Some were angered that a group dedicated to the defense and advancement of homosexuals should have such power to cause a believer to lose his job and ironically to actually declare him not to be a Christian.  Some were concerned that he may have indeed insulted homosexuals by calling them "sinners".  Others didn't think this was a very serious issue at all since it involved fairly wealthy people who were part of the television and media culture.
    I am concerned about how people have responded to the situation.  While some have brushed the incident aside as not really having anything to do with it being a threat to freedom of speech (usually citing that it was not government that objected to it), others have been alarmed.  Freedom of speech in not simply a governmental issue, actually it is the role of government to defend it in the private sector.  Certain governments in the world proclaim that they have freedom of speech and religion, but culturally everyone knows that certain things cannot be said, lest you lose your job, your home, your family, even your life. 
    Some Christians seem to think the answer to this kind of situation is to be quiet and seek in every way not to be offensive.  In case the reader hasn't noticed not all Christians are actually the same type.  Some believe the Bible and take it as true and authoritative in all to which it speaks.   Others have felt they can reinterpret the Bible, lessen its offense, make it more culturally acceptable based on the idea that the words themselves are not literally the words of God.  Bible believing Christians think that idea is heresy and not true Christianity.  My concern in this writing is to speak to Bible believing Christians, and to help those who are not believers to understand a little about them.
    Many Bible believing Christians have had family members or friends who were gay.  This has presented a real challenge of love for them.  Some have decided that the way to love gay family members was to accept their behavior as normal and thus have re-positioned themselves on what the Bible teaches.  Others believers have refused to accept such behavior but have still sought in some way to show love to homosexual members of their families.  Some families have been torn apart.
    Bible believing Christians have some very real challenges here.  I would like to encourage believers to rise to those challenges. I want to exhort all of us to love homosexuals, whether they be in our families or in our community.  Obviously if their behavior is immoral then our stand against such will have repercussions for them.  The gay community has striven to overturn those repercussions which include everything from the dismantling of laws against sodomy, changes in prosecution for contributing to the delinquency of minors, and gays openly in the military.  None of those changes allows believers not to show love to homosexuals, though we may hate their cause.   As in the struggle against alcohol as a public vice Christians have had to come to grips with the allowance of whiskey; loving alcoholics while preaching against drunkenness.  However, this is not the same thing as being made to shut up about our view of such behavior.
      I think our future in this country, and in fact the future of this country, depends on whether or not we will continue to demand the freedoms for which our forefathers fought and died.  Freedom is not something we should easily relinquish.  I doubt the problem is that someone will snatch it away all at once, this is a progression (or regression) and something we must be aware of and actively resist.  It is not unchristian to stand for these principles; the manner in which we stand will either be loving or not.  Loving is what Jesus demands of us, nevertheless, we must stand for freedom or we will eventually find it compromised and taken away from us.
    If we allow fellow believers to be shouted down, shut out, fired, ostracized because they simply answer "ambush" questions and reveal themselves publicly as actually believing that what the Bible says is true then we will have a hard time maintaining our ability to practice our religion in this country.  Those who want to stay on the sidelines in this struggle will one day find a muzzle over their mouths, blogs, books, and pulpits. Gay advocacy groups are asking for nothing less than for us to change our religion or refuse to ever acknowledge what is means.  We must let the world know that is not going to happen.  This is not simply an issue for Christians, but for anyone who has an unpopular view, or who actually believes in the freedom of speech and religion.    
    Contrary to the propaganda so prevalent concerning how these old fashioned views of Christians will change and fall away gay organizations and their supporters should realize that Bible believing Christians find no Biblical evidence that this issue is the same as civil rights for racial minorities.  Therefore believers cannot see this as an issue of justice but rather one of morality.  Any act of disobedience against God's Word cannot be justified as a right or a lifestyle no matter what public opinion might say.   In fact, we see this as an issue of the allowance of public immorality, which leads to injustice, and therefore should be resisted.  As long as people believe that the Bible is true in how it was written then their views will not change.  Surely anyone familiar with the history of Christianity knows that will continue to be so, no matter the cost.  Racial justice partly came about in this country not because Christians stopped believing their Bibles but because they were convicted by what it does teach.
    Christians have co-existed with sinners in this country for a long time.  We see ourselves as very much in this category ourselves.  When it comes to dealing with social issues, whether of justice or morality, Evangelical Christians seem to go to one of two extremes.  Evangelicals either want to become aggressively political and abandon principals of love and gentleness in the process or they think that it spiritual to abandon the political arena.  This abandonment of politics can come about due to the belief that the way to change society is through personal conversions on a grand scale, or that changing society ought not to be our concern at all.  For me the quest for public justice is part of my Christian responsibility, whether I see it achieved or not.
    We must love those who consider themselves homosexuals.  Our country has often tolerated their mistreatment and Christians have often been silent about that.  We must not allow them to be abused and mistreated and we must give to them the same protections given to all other people.  At the same time how can it be loving for us to not tell them the truth?  A truth they may not want to hear is not the same as "hate speech."  This is the ground we believers must not surrender.  If I believe the whole Bible I must love everyone and compelled by love tell everyone they are sinners (and the practice of homosexuality is one of those sins) and need to be saved, and can be saved, by the grace of God. How can I love someone and not warn them about their need to repent and turn to God if indeed there is a judgment which is to come? If persecution comes to me on that account so be it, I understand that price as a Christian.  Yet I am not just a Christian, I am also an American, and that means that persecution is not my only option here.
    Every Christian who is also a citizen of this country owns the country along with all other citizens.  My understanding of American democracy is that we the people make our government.  If it fails and I have not sought to affect change then I am partly responsible.  Our views may not always win but abdication of the defense of our freedoms is not a legitimate option. I can still be a Christian without freedom, but it would certainly be a betrayal of all America has stood for and for which it was founded if I allow that to happen. Gay organizations have exercised their freedoms to pursue a cultural and political agenda with which I completely disagree.  Yet, I believe they have the freedom to speak about what they believe.
     What we must not allow is for them to silence us in the statement of our beliefs because it hurts their feelings, or because they have attempted to redefine our beliefs as hateful toward them.  This redefinition has now taken root in almost all pubic media and social and public culture.  Homosexuals don't want to consider their behavior to be evil or sinful though we say it is sin.  Ironically, we say the same thing about moral, legalistic, self-righteous, religious people.  They don't like hearing we think they are sinners either, and those are the ones that nailed Jesus to the cross. While the present imbroglio might be dismissed because it is concerns television personalities, and one may not share all the views of the individual, nevertheless this is a dangerous threat to the free practice and proclamation of our religion, and therefore should be resisted by all Americans, not just Christians.

Monday, December 23, 2013


  Jesus said, "But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.  Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  (Luke 12:31-34) NIV
   I have been reading Tim Keller's book, "Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road."  It is a source of great information and challenge about the call to minister to the poor, and how to do it.  As I was reading some of his comments about the Kingdom of God I began to reflect on the idea that living for the Kingdom costs us something.
    We believe in grace, we preach grace, and hopefully we live in the power of grace.  Our salvation is not earned by our efforts and certainly not deserved by any innate righteousness of our own.  So, I wonder what it means when it seems as if Jesus makes things conditional.  Jesus makes me uncomfortable, and since I know he loves me and I love him I am thankful that he does this to me.  I seem to get the feeling that Jesus is saying the more we live for this life, and this world's stuff, the less we enjoy of the power of the Kingdom of God.  It is almost as if discipleship would cost me something.
    Yet, I also get the message from Jesus that if I give to the poor, if I am compassionate in the disbursement of my material wealth, he will take care of me and provide for me both in this life and the life to come.  I wonder how much I have let my Reformed and Evangelical faith make me deaf to the call of Jesus?  I would never surrender my confidence that we are saved by grace through faith.  I am so glad for the rediscovery of the Gospel in the Protestant Reformation.  I might be sad though in the loss of a radical repentance in the call to follow Jesus; especially when it comes to materialism in this modern day of a rejection of anything painful as if it were legalism.  
    The necessity of obedience is not legalism, for surely if we love him we will obey what he commands. Our confidence in being able to obey is our confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit as he gives us grace to live the Christian life. He commands love, but love is not an abandonment of doing something as if it were replaced by a feeling or a sentiment.  Love is a sacrifice.  The spiritual kingdom, it seems to me, in the teachings of Jesus are dependent on a forsaking of the kingdom of this world.  It is precisely in the area of materialism that he strikes to our heart's idol.  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12:34) NIV 
     We either have treasure here in this world and in this life, or we have treasure in heaven.  Evidently we are not allowed to diversify our investments, we make deposits in one bank or the other.
    Christmas gives me envy and coveting problems.  I covet enough money to give presents to my loved ones.  I envy what others have to give.  Covered behind my wanting to give to others is the reality that it is still for my enjoyment, my pride and ego, a sense of power to be able to distribute to family and friends.  The poor don't really come into my coveting, since they seem faceless and won't be able to give me much back.
   Christmas is probably the most hedonistic, materialistic, envy and covetous holiday that we have.  I absolutely love it, but my envy of sinners is real. (Proverbs 23:17) It is not necessarily personal.  I am not jealous of any particular sinner.  It is just my walk though a department store and breathing in what I might look like, how I might feel, and how others might see me that keeps screwing up my heart.  The cashmere coat, the velvet blazer, the British tan slacks, the BMW to ride the clothes around in, the wide screen TV (wider, wider, more pixels, sound to surround the universe).
   We leave here with closets so full  we can hardly walk into them and souls so skinny Angels are hard pressed to notice.  The call of Jesus is to make purses, women's or men's is not the issue, but whether they will wear our or not is the point.  The only way to make a spiritual purse that lasts is to empty the physical one in our pockets.  We must choose to do this, because we love Jesus, and we don't have to be afraid of losing anything.  We must choose to be merciful, we must choose to give to the poor, and we need to be powerful, over the top, and determined in the doing of it.  May God us grace to escape christmas, (with the small hearted "c" and find Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


  I have a gift from God. It is not mine alone but one he seems to have distributed quite broadly.  It is the gift to hear music, to feel it, to move to it, to weep because of it, to sometimes feel the joy of it right down to the bones.
    Part of that gift to me has been to be around people who love it, who know how to share it, who have the talent and "chops" to make it music and not noise.  I come from a family that always loved music.  Part of our Christmas was having an Aunt or my mother playing Carols and Christmas songs, and the rest of us trying to remember the words.  I enjoyed school programs with music.  I enjoyed the radio.  One of the coolest things I had as a kid was a record player and a gift from some family member of some 78 speed recordings of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.  I listened to it every night that I could.
    I never had much facility or talent for music myself.  It seemed like I just couldn't learn to accurately read music, nor to play an instrument.  Yet I know that music has been one of the great enjoyments of my life.  I am blessed to have a wife whose voice was almost magical.  It has called out an emotional response from me many, many times. I first heard her sing in a group in elementary school, and then heard her sing a duet from West Side Story at a High School assembly.  I wanted to change my name to Tony so she could have been singing to me.
    During our high school  years we were formed into a singing group and it was there that I began to learn and to mature in my singing voice.  I was never spectacular, like my wife, but I began to enjoy being part of the joy of participating.  In College I was part of the Chorale and I felt blessed so many times singing songs of such beauty and depth, often beyond my real ability to master it.  Now, at Christmas, music just breaks out all over the place, and it is the kind of  music that contains such great ideas, such wholesome fun, such sublime truth.  It sweeps up in nostalgia, love, and most of all worship.  Romance songs are fun, but Christmas finally eclipses all the nasty ideas, all the gratuitous sexual allusions of modern pop and secular music. Christmas even eclipses a lot of tepid contemporary Christian music as well.
   So I want to say thank you to God.  Thanks for the gift to make, perform, hear, and enjoy music.  Thanks so much for worthy things to sing about.  Things for all the people in my life who have made music great for me.  Fred Means, John Hamm, James Ward, Oliver Trimiew, Joan Nabors, Jim Crumble, Getrell Watkins, Kirk Ward, Marci Ndiritu, Juliet Akinyi Nabors, Juanna Roberts, just to name a few; thanks to all of you.  Thanks to Handel, thanks to Luther Vandross, thanks to Stevie Wonder, thanks to Eric Clapton, thanks to Carlos Santana.  Thanks most of all to Jesus, for being born, for being the King, for fighting darkness and death, and winning.  Thanks be to God that he sings, and he gives songs away, and he made sound, and  he made it sweet, and puts a new song in my mouth.  Life has a sound track and poor is the life that won't hear it.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Progressive Social Policy

   We  have a fight going on in our city and it is about extending benefits to the unmarried partners of city employees.  A new city council member, who is gay, has appealed for these benefits to be given to both homosexual and heterosexual city employees who have an  unmarried partner living with them in a domestic relationship.  We used to call this "shacking up," or "living in sin."
   At first it looked like the momentum was all on the side of the gay council member.  The City Council took up the issue, several religious types came and made some fiery statements about immorality and sodomy, and it seemed as if the media and comments by public officials had marginalized them.  The mayor decided to back the new policy, and the Council approved the new measure by one vote.
    Then the folks opposed to the measure pursued a petition whereby the issue would be placed on the public ballot at the next election.  In a town where politics on the local level is a fairly lazy moving stream, where not that many citizens actually vote in local elections, where signatures for petitions seem to take a long time to be gathered and then approved, this one came together quickly with more than double the needed voters asking for the chance to vote.  It looks like the momentum has swung the other way.
    Comments made by various individuals seem dismissive about the success of those who want to stop this new policy.  One of the consistent themes with the LGBT crowd is the inevitability of the acceptance of their lifestyles, the moral and legal legitimacy for their marriages (and divorces), along with the turning of public policies to be gay favorable rather than gay averse.  There is a triumphalism in one court decision after another, one legislative change after another.  The power of the White House has been unleashed to push this as a new civil right through the State Department in our relationships with other nations.
    The shouting down of opponents, the highlighting of anything that smacks of prejudice against not just a homosexual lifestyle but a gay political agenda so as to censure contrary opinions has become commonplace.  Whereas at one time religion seemed to be universally against such behaviors, let alone its advocacy, it is now divided.   Clerics, denominations, and religious sounding arguments are used to proclaim the acceptance of gays and gay marriage simply an issue of love and freedom.
    This modern gay movement has some distinct advantages.  It is focused, it is well funded, it has some very intelligent, gifted and talented people as its advocates.  It sounds like freedom, it sounds like love, and everyone likes those things.  Those opposed to it have some disadvantages.  They are not organized, they are not usually focused on this one issue, they often fight back with an emotional response and are easily caricatured whereas it is seen as not only impolite but downright scandalous to make fun of gay people.  Those opposed to homosexuality usually have a religious reason for being so and in America that seems to be a non-starter.  If your reason is religious it must be personal and feels like it should be wrong to impose on other people.
      Not only that but one can't very well accuse homosexuals of hypocrisy, but all religious and straight people who proclaim this to be an issue of morality can be accused of hypocrisy.  It seems like  homosexuals can be as nasty as they want to be and still be seen as legitimate champions of their cause, whereas those opposed to such behavior seem to eventually be seen to have their own problems with sexual lust and therefore must be hypocrites.  If they never fall then they must simply be self-righteous.
    It would seem to make for a much more gracious environment for this discussion if we all admitted we were fallen creatures, but that there are still some things wrong and some things right, whether you can live perfect or not.  I take it as a given that no one can.
    It has taken a long time for me to get to my point.  I would like to disagree with the decision of the City Council and the Mayor.  I think they have failed terribly in their responsibility to set sound economic and social policy.  I do think that we should expect that of our leaders, to do that which is truly progressive so as to improve our city.
    In a city where so many of our problems arise from the destruction of the family how does this policy help us?   If more than 80% of African-American children are born out of wedlock, how does the discouragement of marriage and stable families help us?   If communities with large numbers of single parent homes translate into ungovernable schools that fail to educate and teach, and those same homes translate into the majority of inmates in prison, how does their new policy help us?  It seems to me that wise social policy would do everything to encourage marriage, between a man and a woman, and not destroy it.  Children raised by two parents of opposite genders have the best chance at progress in their lives.  It is hard to consistently and continually love a person of the opposite gender, in order to do that life has to be about so much more than sex, and so many things are improved in humans by the effort.  We become better people, more human as it were, if we love well, faithfully, and for an extended time.
    To make citizens subsidize with their taxes a lifestyle of employees that they radically disapprove of for moral reasons is a touch of tyranny.  When funds are needed to provide adequately for the salaries and pensions of other city employees but are rather given for this it smacks of theft.  For city leaders to think that those citizens who are opposed to this are part of a fading crowd whose views will change with time and education let me encourage them to not be so naive.  There is no moral high ground, as there was for civil rights, when it comes to the destruction of marriage and the proliferation and endorsement of homosexuality.  Religion deeply felt and believed for millennia, though it seems challenged by religious liberals, will not go away.  It has a way of being revived over and over again, and sometimes rises up to draw lines which its opponents had thought to be fading.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sonship, Dr. Adams, and the Use of Doctrine for Godliness.

   Recently I read a small booklet written by Dr. Jay Adams on a ministry and theology known as Sonship.  Dr. Adams was a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and is probably best known for his work and books on counseling.  His efforts in Nouthetic Counseling have been controversial in the christian counseling community.  Well, this booklet on Sonship is controversial as well and I thought it might be good to put in writing some of my thoughts about  Dr. Adam's comments in case anyone has been influenced by it.
    Unfortunately Dr. Adams makes some personal attacks in the book on Dr. and Mrs. Miller.  Dr. John Miller has passed away but Rosemarie Miller is still living and active in ministry, serving in London, UK.  Dr. Miller and Dr. Adams served together at the seminary and I have no idea what if any relationship they might have had.  I have no official connection with World Harvest Mission or the Sonship course other than having personally taken the course and taught it in my congregation.  I have family and friends who have been connected with the ministry.  No one asked me to do this and I hope I cause them no concern because of what I am about to say.
    Frankly I found the booklet to be rather unkind, faulty in reasoning, and at the very least inept in its attempt to be theological.  In this unfortunate little booklet Dr. Adams seems to attempt to undermine the theological and Biblical legitimacy of the Sonship course and the Miller's ministry while presenting himself as someone giving an objective look at it. If someone had never taken the Sonship course and simply had this book to read I am afraid they would have a terribly prejudiced and inaccurate view of the teaching and the ministry.
     Dr. Adams engages in some petty and negative carping about the Miller's presentation.  One instance is where he goes after them for using the word "miracle."  Anyone who has studied in a Reformed seminary probably remembers a discussion about this word.  We know that Biblical miracles are those things that are impossible without a work of God to interrupt the physical "laws" of creation, such as gravity, death, etc.  Dr. Adams seems to not like any other use of the word, although in common parlance people use the word in a much more casual way to describe things that don't often happen, or have never happened, but could happen without an intervention in the rules of physics. Dr. Adams attacks the Millers for using the word in testimony when they speak of God's answers to prayer or some obvious work of God's grace to change someone's behavior.  I suppose if Dr. Miller knew that when he spoke it was actually a  Presbytery exam he and his wife might have been careful to give a definition of miracle that Dr. Adams would have accepted.  They instead speak as normal people who are amazed at how God has worked in their lives and the lives of others.  As it is, Dr. Adams comes across as petty and vindictive in this discussion.
    Dr. Adams is again petty when he goes after the Millers for using the concept of Adoption as the cornerstone of their Sonship teaching.   He wants us to know that being children of God is the important thing, not the moment or act of Spiritual adoption.  Of course he neglects to notice or admit that the course is  called, "Sonship" and that therefore is the fulfillment  of the very point he seems to want to make.  From what I have heard from the Millers they would agree adoption is where that relationship started.  Following Dr. Adams logic I suppose none of us should celebrate a birthday since we are obviously alive, but it seems to me to be significant to the present reality.  Adoption is used in Sonship as the doctrine, once we understand it, that can keep us from feeling like we are orphans when it comes to having a relationship with God.
   One of the things I realized when I was first introduced to Sonship concepts was that it used some of the great theological ideas in Reformed theology as a technique to help believers in their struggle against sin and in their walk with God.  I wondered at first if this was legitimate, and then of course I realized that if our theological concepts articulated in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms were Biblical they were indeed to be used to help us in our pursuit of godliness.  Theological propositions are not just articulated and studied so we can think systematically but so we can live in conformity with the Truth of God, and in that conformity see our lives transformed so we become more and more like Jesus.
     Dr. Adams attacks Sonship for emphasizing Justification.  He says it is simply a legal declaration.  According to Dr. Adams the truly life changing doctrine is what happened in our regeneration.  I certainly have no argument against Regeneration. I know that this is the very work of the Holy Spirit to miraculously (okay, I admit I think a work of grace is miraculous) take dead sinners and bring them to spiritual life.  Does he ever do it apart from the work of Justification?   Does Justification ever take place without the faith of the believer, brought about due to Regeneration?  I don't think so, and this is part of  Dr. Adams great failing, and most likely the failing of many who don't get Sonship, and that is to fail to understand the power of faith that God himself gives us.  God has ordained that we believe in Truth, and that believing brings change in our lives.  This righteousness from heaven has been revealed, and it is by faith from first to last. (Romans 1:17)  Our standards articulate that these doctrines are to be believed and that in the believing of them God works grace in our lives. (see WSC q.30, 33, 34, and especially 36)  I like what it says in Chapter 14 of the Confession when it says about our faith, that it "...gets the victory."  Paul says, "the only thing that counts is faith, working itself out through love."  (Galatians 5:6)
    "Preaching the Gospel to ourselves," another phrase Dr. Adams seems to have trouble with is simply the idea of continuing to believe in what God has done for us in Justification.  But if it is only a legal declaration, then why should I use the idea of it as something to believe in, and how could believing in a legal declaration help me?  I suppose one might have to read and understand the books of Romans and Galatians to get it.  I think Sonship is more consistent with their teaching than Dr. Adams seems to be in his booklet.
    Dr. Adams goes after the Millers for using phrases that imply the Holy Spirit still speaks or leads believers today.  He sets up the straw man that every time one has a "leading" or claims that God "told" them what to do they ought to write it down as Scripture.  Of course, this never even happened in Scripture in the early days of the Church.  Neither the Millers, no anyone I know in Sonship or World Harvest Mission is claiming extra-Biblical revelation or even ideas that cannot be exhaustively examined and defended as from Scripture. To cavalierly ascribe this to them is slander.  I just wonder how the Holy Spirit can actually bear witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God?  Maybe the rationalistic academics interpret that to mean it can only be a written statement in Scripture.  How terrible I think to keep telling the Holy Ghost what he can and can't do, especially when the Scriptures He wrote tells us otherwise.
   I realize that some people are intimidated by fellow believers who seem to have been transformed in their love for Christ and walk with God by a revival they experienced from taking a Sonship course.  There is nothing new here, no change from the Gospel of grace, just a fresh discovery of it by people who are being told they must take their sin seriously and that  the answer to it is not from legalism, nor from pretense or hiding, but from a joyous understanding of our new relationship with our loving Father, a confidence that our sins are forever paid for and our righteousness is all of grace from the imputation of the righteousness of Christ and that through faith.
   There may be problems with Sonship but not those of which Dr. Adams speaks.  The biggest one in my opinion is to divorce it from what it was written to do, and that is to launch people out into mission and evangelism.  It was written originally to be part of training for missionaries.  Any discipleship training should not ultimately be for self-indulgence, though we are always blessed as we grow closer to Christ.  It should help us follow the Master, and learn how to fish for men.
    Some of the controversy with Sonship is not with the joy of the revived, but sometimes with those who observe that revival and might feel intimidated.  Some might be suspect of how or why it happened.  There may be some who are resentful, or envious, or fearful that now they will have to actually deal with their old nature and not attempt to cover it up with rule keeping.  Sonship is in no way an opening for licentiousness.  Grace doesn't teach us to use our liberty to sin, but to confidently repent, and to say "no" effectively to temptation (Titus 2:11)
    There has been far too much bashing of Sonship from voices in the Reformed community who should be wiser, and careful not to attack the wonderful counsel of God it joyously proclaims, about how the Lord has exercised grace to us.   That grace expressed in wonderful truths which helps us live for God in power.