Now you know by the Emmaus Walk site's banner music that I am a fan of "Amazing Grace," but I also know its history, its composer, and all the circumstances that produced this, and to my thinking, "Amazing Grace" is the greatest Christian song about God's grace in Christ--His totally free gift of salvation won by Jesus Christ's death on the cross for every sinner who repents (notice I did not say just "for every sinner" but for "every sinner who repents," as the distinction is absolutely vital, or I don't get the truth of the Bible and conversion at all, or Universalism is correct in its view that all are saved regardless, no matter what religion you're in, since "all roads lead to heaven".).
This song and lyrics do not need my commendation, as Christians all over the world have found it wonderful and inspiring, and no one seems to dislike it, even the pagans and atheists have kept quiet about it, and probably enjoy it too, for the music is so catchy and heart-touching!
Seeing Miss Parton, doing her best to simulate piety in her very revealing costume on Hee Haw, made the song she was singing along with her comedy partners somehow a horrible mockery to my impression, and I very soon couldn't take the sight and let my brother continue watching something I knew I couldn't expose myself to as a man and keep my thoughts pure. Maybe it was just the old Pharisee in my "old Adam" nature acting up? I don't think so--though I have to be careful about that, to be sure. It was clearly just what I saw--I did not make up this scene--Dolly and her friends and show producers did. They obviously believed the lie, that you can live like the Devil and make a lot of money doing his work, and then sing "Amazing Grace, everyone will applaud, and everything will be just hunky-dory with God and man--what a "crock," as they say in the vernacular. We wouldn't accept this kind of absurdity in the business world--but somehow, when religion comes in, anything, and I mean anything, goes!
Did John Newton, the repentant, former slave ship captain, give birth to this song right out of the blood and guts of the most terrifying brush with death on the high seas in a storm that threatened to drown him any minute so that someday Miss Parton, with her breasts on display, could sing it like that--letting it all hang out for the world to see? Maybe she thought she was decent, but she wasn't! Perhaps he wouldn't mind, you say--as the truth does not depend upon our worthiness and right standing with God--we don't have to change clothes and look decent to be accepted by God--right? Or wrong? No, neither right nor wrong, and that is the problem--this is a half-truth we are dealing with, I am coming to see, and half a truth is no truth at all.
It actually has nothing to do with clothes, though they can be an indication of a spiritual condition within. It has to do with the attitude or condition of the heart toward God. John Newton, unless I am completely wrong, was truly repentant in heart and behavior; he did not masquerade, play a little religious game with God and man, he was a saved, humble, repentant and repenting saint all his days. Everyone saw it--there was no mistaking the fact. Christians heard him preach for many years in that chapel in Olney, rural Britain, saw him clean the church as the lowly janitor when he wasn't in the pulpit, saw him minister to the widows and the poor and shut-in and sick, and meanwhile walk a godly and moral life in all ways, reading and obeying the Word before he preached it to others--in all ways full of the love and Spirit of God--so they knew he was the genuine article-- a truly born again, saved Christian! His calling, heart condition, and Christian faith all bore out in his life that he was real. They all proved that he was no act or show. He was on his way to heaven--his life testified to that, did it not? And I am certain he was no Pharisee, stuck in self-righteousness and legalism. He badly wanted loose living, loose dressing saloon-type women like Miss Dolly Parton to come to Christ as much as any sanctimonious, godly-appearing clergyman or choir director--but they had to be real to count. He himself had to be real to count. He knew that full well, and we ought to know that--but we don't, seemingly! Somehow we Christians of the 21st century have been duped and deceived on this point, to think that Amazing Grace is amazing because, we suppose, it covers absolutely everything--and no questions asked! This is a doctrine of demons, dear Emmaus Walkers!
Oh, I am not disputing that Amazing Grace certainly exists (God's grace showered on us filthy sinners is truly amazing, moreso than words can possibly express!), but demons can preach and sing it too, and do preach and sing it just as good old Dolly was mouthing it with her overly-lipsticked lips on that Hee Haw show! Yes, along with her act (for I believe it was only an act), just "come as you are," "don't clean up," sing "Just as I am" with a mass choir--don't even be real, just come, and Amazing Grace will make it all right!
Demons love the whole idea of Amazing Grace, in fact. They want everyone to sing this truly wonderful song of God's inexhaustible, amazing grace, because they know it doesn't necessarily change anyone or save anyone and can even be the means to keep us in Satan's kingdom (while deceiving us to think we are God's saved, going-to-heaven children), just biding their time until we die and they can shove us into into the crematorium of hell all the easier and with less fuss and trouble than if we were listening to hell and brimstone sermons all our days in old-fashioned Baptist revival meetings and took it to heart and became legalists and door-to-door "soul winners".
Satan knows the Word of God better than any of us, including the Bible scholars and theologians. He can quote probably every verse in the entire Bible. He can preach whole sermons on amazing grace, how to be saved, how to be born again, how to please God, how to raise good families, how to love your wife as Christ loved the church, how to tithe and prosper, how to use your healing gifts, how to be kind, patient, forebearing, self-disciplined--the whole ball of Christian wax. Satan can preach the gospel, just as the Wesleys, unsaved, not born again according to their own later testimonies, came as missionaries to the American Indians and preached the Gospel.
Wesley, after his genuine conversion to Christ, said he was preaching the exact same truths of the Bible and the Gospel, but it was with the living Spirit of God, that was the difference. We have all heard about the letter of the law and the Spirit are not the same thing--and are opposed, and that is true, for the Bible says it, but the law is still true, it must have the Spirit along with it or it will kill and not bring life, it will produce legalism and death, if there is no Spirit of God with it.
Amazing Grace is a favorite doctrine of demons, in my view, for a number of reasons. It appears to be founded on scripture, and it is founded on scripture, but if Amazing Grace as a true doctrine (though not a complete doctrine, as the Bible will show you clearly if you read James and many of Christ's words and Paul's and Peter's and John's teachings too!) is rendered without the Spirit of God, it becomes just as deadly and death-producing as any truth of the Bible expressed without the Holy Spirit. Do you think the Indians received life from the Wesley brother's preaching? What a laugh that was. We hear of no conversions or revivals among them. The Wesleys climbed back on the boat to England most discouraged, in fact, seeing they had failed--and the truth was they had! No, the poor Indians received right teaching but death-producing religion (on top of their present darkness without the Gospel), for there was no Spirit in their Bible teachings and Gospel preaching--there couldn't be, as John and Charles Wesley were unsaved, unregenerate, legalistic religious sinners.
You cannot be in two kingdoms at one time. Jesus says you cannot serve two masters. You serve one master, either God or the Devil. Whom is it? Amazing grace, the doctrine and the song, will not get you into heaven, will not make you a child of God however many thousand times you sing it or hear it or believe it applies to you! Demons are singing it right along with you, making beautiful melody with you and the music--can't you hear them? They are slightly off-key, true, but they blend in pretty well with the mass choirs and the instruments and the untold thousands of saints and sinners, heaven-bound along with hell-bound, who are singing it.
The Devil can quote John 3:16, and probably does! John 3:16, even if you tack it to your chest, won't save you. Orthodox Jews tack the scriptures in little boxes to their arms and foreheads--but that doesn't get them saved or put the Word in their hearts no matter how much they recite those scriptures. Scripture, tacked to the Devil's forehead or arms, doesn't save a religious Jew any more than it saves the Devil, who heard Jesus himself first declare it on this earth. He believed it, as he can hear the truth coming forth from God and know it is the truth--but it didn't change him a whit--he remained God's arch enemy. Good intentions, sincerity (sorry, you're flat wrong, Joel Osteen and all you other New Age evangelicals!), doesn't save anybody, devil, angel, or human being.
I can quote scriptures now, and could quote some before I was saved, but they didn't save me then, and wouldn't save me now. John and Charles Wesley knew the Bible throughout and preached lengthly sermons full of scriptures, but they were unsaved, going to hell!
There is the popular idea going around that "once saved, always saved." If anyone doubts that, then you are told that to believe the opposite is to subscribe to legalism, or think you can earn salvation. That is a false argument. I can tell you why. There's a decoy attached to a half-truth. Once saved, always saved? Just think about that a moment. Where is that supported in the scriptures? The Bible doesn't teach that. Name me one apostle or gospel writer who taught and wrote that. Did Jesus ever say anything like that?
That should settle the matter, but it doesn't for many Christians. The Devil too doesn't want us to accept the Bible as final word, so he adds his own little twist to get his poison in and Christians thrown off-track: "oh, but if you believe different, you are subscribing to legalism, aren't you?"
"Oh, no!" the Christian thinks, I must not do that, and so the Christian lets the issue drop, when actually the Bible settles it once and for all--Christians can and do fall away, and are damned for it--else the Bible is untrue, for in many, many places the Bible is full of warnings about this. Why does the Bible warn us, why does Christ himself warn us, if there is no need to warn us to keep to the true path? If there is such a thing as "once saved, always saved," then Jesus would be wasting his breath, his warning is not needed.
"Once saved, always saved" is unbiblical--for where in scripture can you find that? You can't use one scripture, or even two, to prove it, for any lie can be proved true using that method.
Claiming that as truth simply to avoid legalism is proof of nothing.
To sum up, Amazing Grace has become a doctrine of demons, and is ushering millions sweetly and easily into hell, all thinking they are saved by sheer grace and nothing else has been required of them. A lot of these folk too have trusted in the fact they were born again--yes, born again! They didn't work out their salvation with fear and trembling, on the contrary! They lived like the Devil, and still believed it did not matter in the least, since "once saved, always saved," which was probably preached in their church from the pulpit! I have been in a church where the people did not believe in "once saved, always saved," and took some pride in that they did not believe that, but that didn't save them either. They are probably on their way to hell, as I saw nothing to reverse my impression that they were all playing a religious game with God. They lived like the devil, made good impressions at church (or so they thought, though their actions clearly said otherwise), then went home and lived liked the devil the rest of the time. Their kids came to church regularly, made to come by their hypocritical parents, and knew what was up, and their expressions and behavior told me so clearly too! You never saw such street wise little rascals in your lives as these little devils born and bred by big devils all dressed up like Bible-believing, Gospel-loving Pentecostals!
I still love Amazing grace, the song and the truth, but God has something more: surrender, true surrender, the Cross, the way of the Cross, pain and suffering, walking moment by moment in true fellowship with Him, being honest with Him, being obedient to His word and heeding his discipline--just what the Bible prescribes. We don't have to obey the doctor, work out our salvation (this is not legalism, by the way, it is Biblical, being led by the Spirit!) with fear and trembling, and we can take our chances with Amazing Grace when the time comes to die and go to judgment for how we lived our lives. We can sit in church regularly on Sunday, Wedneday, Friday, whenever the church meets, we can pray and interceed, we can grill spare ribs for potlucks and cookouts for the neighbors, we can give tithes and offerings, we can sing in the choir, and lead the choir, and play instruments in the church band, and go on mission teams and witness, and do all this and more--but it doesn't save us. It is all a necessary fruit of being a genuine Christian, true, but it doesn't save us in the least, it can just be making a good show, for all that is worth.
I don't want to end up with a "good show" at the end that won't save even a mouse from the cat waiting for it at its hole. "Gotcha!" goes the cat, as it springs its steel trap jaws on the mouse who has just been singing "Amazing Grace" in its mousehole.
Check this word out in the Bible, the whole Bible, if you wonder what to believe. The Bible will tell you, the whole Bible. Don't accept any man's opinion. I wouldn't. Men will damn me with their religious notions if I accept them as Bible truth. I don't care if they do quote the Bible end to end, that is not going to save me. I need God's Spirit along with the truth. God's Spirit and the Truth will keep me on track, nothing else can. I need a daily walk, reading God's word, praying to him, walking and talking with the Lord Jesus--to keep on track. I need daily cleansing and forgiveness and confession of my sins to him. I need daily obedience to His word in how I treat others, and also how I perform my various tasks and jobs and in everything I do--no matter how trivial. I need God above, behind, below, and around me, but I need him WITHIN ME CONTINUALLY. Nothing else will do! Consumed by God, filled with God and His Spirit and Word, I can't go wrong. Anything less will set me up for falling away or taking a wrong turn in life and even a false doctrine that will take me straight to hell.
Demons sing Amazing Grace. Demons preach "once saved, always saved." Demons preach grace, not legalism. Demons use scriptures to deceive you and me. But the Bible and the Spirit of God are true, not like lying demons, and will always lead us right--always! I don't have to end up like Demos, or Judas, or any of the former evangelists and preachers that Paul ministered with only to see them turn away and return to Satan's kingdom of this world! It is really my choice--where I end up--and I must take responsibility and trust in God and do what He says, or I will miss the path and wander off just as Paul's friends and co-ministers did. God promises me repeatedly in the scriptures I read daily to keep me on track if I want to be kept and do what He tells me to do, to watch and pray continually and do all things in love. Millions of deceived people are singing "Amazing Grace" right along with the demons, living like the devil but deceiving themselves to think they are Christians on their way to heaven, but I won't join them. I will sing with honest, unhypocritical sinners anyday, for not with demons, however sweet their voices and delightful their instrumental accompaniment!
I pray God this little message has been a help to you in some way, to clear away Satan's smokescreen of "amazing grace covers everything with no questions asked." The Word of God, first and middle and last, the Spirit of God, first and middle and last, trusting and believing and obeying God, first and middle and last. Leave no ground open for Satan's weeds or garden that way. The Bible, first and middle and last. This is the way to keep on with God, all the way, with only minor slips, not major downfalls such as immorality, backsliding and apostasy. Let us meet in heaven someday, Emmaus Walkers, rejoicing that God's grace and Word and Spirit has seen us faithfully all the way to our safe haven--but, then, we never really left it, did we? It was a daily walk, just as the Bible, God's unfailing Word taught us by His Spirit, instructed us.
These are just a few facts. I should not assume anyone knows more. Churches do not teach Church History, nor do average church goers take the trouble to learn it. Their own pastors may not even be knowledgeable on the subject, so they can hardly share what they don't know or what doesn't matter to them. Our present pagan and secular humanist culture says that it doesn't matter anyway--so why bother? So, people (and pastors too, who have the same world-view pretty much as the world) don't. But Christian History Magazine will give you all you need for your first investigations. Go down the list of their magazine issues, and you will find the Wesleys featured, along with every other important figure and issue a Christian should know about. I will try to post a list of those back issues with a link to it on the home page. There is a link to the magazine provided on the home page, and the website can probably tell you most everything, or how to access the subjects you are seeking. Order the magazine, in any case. You can order back issues, which are just as good as the ones coming out now. They never lose their value or timeliness, like good vintage wine, I am told.