The Sanctuary lies between the poles of several heated theological and cultural debates. Two of the most prominent of those debates are the debate between liberal and conservative Christianity and the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism.
“Conservatives” often argue that “Liberals” don’t take the Bible seriously and in doing so don’t take Truth seriously and Judgment seriously. Thus they do lip service to the idea that God is love, but easily hold on to the idea that He will endlessly torment or subject most of humanity to endless torment. In Jesus’ day these folks were often called “Pharisees.”
“Liberals” often argue that “Conservatives” don’t take the Love of God seriously and in doing so ignore much of the Bible (Gospels in particular). They do lip service to the idea that God is Truth and God is Judge, but easily declare their own Truth and Themselves as Judge. In Jesus’ day these folks were often called “Sadducees.”
At The Sanctuary we believe that God is Truth and God is Love and His Judgment is Jesus Christ and Him crucified; His Judgment is Grace. Grace is Truth in Love and Love that is True.
Grace takes sin seriously—with no sin there is no revelation of Grace.
Grace takes love seriously—Grace is Love triumphing over sin.
Grace takes Judgment seriously—Grace is the Judgment of Love.
Grace is Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.
We believe that all Scripture bears testimony to the Grace revealed in Christ Jesus.
At The Sanctuary we believe that nothing is more sufficient, effective, powerful and extensive than the atonement of “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.”
We are profoundly “conservative” for we believe this is eternal and incontrovertible Biblical truth. It is The Truth.
We are profoundly “liberal” for we believe that The Truth is Love. God is Love.
We are Christian and Biblical, for we believe this is the Judgment undergirding all reality.
Professor Thomas Talbott argues that there are three propositions, which a person cannot logically hold to at once. They are:
- God is All-powerful.
- God is All-love.
- God torments people endlessly.
Calvinists hold to proposition #1 and #3 and find ways to reject #2.
Arminians hold to proposition#2 and #3 and find ways to reject #1.
At The Sanctuary we hold #1 and #2 and reject #3. We agree with both on what is most beautiful and Biblical and reject that which is most unbiblical, resentful and fleshly.
Calvinists rightly argue that our will to be damned is not stronger that God’s will to save. Thus His atonement on the cross is sufficient and efficient to save all for whom He died. They then argue that He didn’t die for all, because all cannot be saved. And thus some are predestined to endless bliss through no merit of their own (Grace.) And some are predestined to endless torment through the de-merit that is their own (Justice.)
Arminians rightly reacted to this idea in horror, but wrongly argue—that God desires to save all, but can’t save all because not all “choose” to be saved (and thus must be endlessly tortured). This necessarily implies that it is a person’s “choice” which saves them… and saves them from God. Thus God is not my savior, my will is my savior, saving me from God.
Along with much of the early church and a multitude of theologians, at The Sanctuary we believe that Scripture testifies to the fact that our “will” has already damned us, but that “God’s will” is saving us. Thus God is Love and God is all Powerful and God is revealing His Judgment in time. His Judgment is His Word, Jesus. His Judgment is Love and His Judgment is incontrovertible. His Judgment is Grace. When His Will becomes Our Will we walk in the freedom of faith. We are saved by grace through faith and this faith is not of ourselves: it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Thus we can only thank God for our salvation and seek to proclaim this Good News to everyone we meet.
The Sanctuary isn’t extreme but in between… but maybe that is extreme.
Don’t be surprised if it sometimes hurts…