Comments From Ted Angell Concerning Grace In Bogota And The Completeness Of The Cross

by csnyder 20. January 2011 18:44
I thought for many people this would be a great blessing so I am reposting what my new friend Ted Angell has written. He has a gift for expressing great detail in a way that is not boring and has a way of making it simple. You will be blessed and may even have some questions answered.

Grace Walk Conference in Bogotá, Colombia, plus some comments about Steve McVey by Ted Angell on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 6:47pm

Yesterday we finished up the first Grace Walk conference in Colombia, in the capital, Bogotá. It's something that I and many others have been hoping to see for years, and it was a great success.

Attendance was just over 50 people, which doesn't sound like much, but consider this: they represented about 25 different churches and ministries, and they were there because they really, really wanted to hear what Gerardo and Craig had to say (for the most part they didn't know each other previously); this is so much more significant than showing up to speak to a church of hundreds or thousands where people attend out of habit and Gerardo (www.caminandobajosugracia.com) and Craig (www.craigsnyder.us) just happened to be the visiting speakers.

This was seminal, because it's the kind of event where people will contact Gerardo later and say, "We want you to come speak to our church/ministry, and we'll make sure our people know in advance what a big deal it is." Not that Gerardo wants to make countless trips to Colombia and expand "his" influence and ministry; his objective is to disciple people here who can do the work themselves, spreading a message that is a lot bigger than he is.

A couple of things stood out to me on the first day, Thursday: during the first hour, Craig was talking through Gerardo about how God has chosen us to be the object of His love since before the foundation of the world, because it's His nature to love us, not because He wants or needs anything from us. Craig pointed out a nine-month-old baby in the audience and talked about how her parents love her because she's their child, not because they knew that one day she'd be old enough to wash the dishes and sweep the floor. Are they better parents than God? This, as opposed to "You were saved to serve!"-- tradition/doctrine vs. truth. I didn't get to look around too much because I was in front with the video camera, but as Craig was talking about this, straight from the Bible, I noticed just behind me a 60+ -year-old pastor who had traveled 17 hours by bus to be here. He was weeping as he listened to the depth, eternality and unconditionality of God's love. A pastor. 60+ years old. For how many years has he been taught, and taught to others, a mixture of Galatianism and conditional love? There's certainly no financial gain in this, but just seeing that alone makes it all worthwhile. I can only imagine how things will change at his church now. Initially, of course, he'll lose some members/attenders, and he'll always come under fire from religious folks, who don't like this message. But he "got" it; it's in his heart, and he's going to share it with those who are willing to hear.

By the way, Craig has written a great little book called Overcome By His Love, offered for free through his website in English, Spanish, and English audio: http://www.craigsnyder.us/Media.aspx

The other thing that stood out to me the first day was when Gerardo ran out of time mid-chapter and said he would continue the next morning, and the crowd insisted that he keep going--they wouldn't let him stop.

It was a great success, and Craig and Gerardo consider it their best "first time" ever. Now I want to take this opportunity to address a recent controversy surrounding Steve McVey and his teachings (www.gracewalk.org). I was told by a couple of people that recently Steve has taken a new direction in his teaching, considered by them to be a step too far, something akin to universalism. Naturally, I was concerned about this, not least because of another project I'm involved in, translating Grace Walk, Grace Rules, and the Grace Walk seminar into Portuguese for free online dissemination. I didn't want to bring Steve and his teachings down to Brazil, only to have him say wacky things that would get the door slammed in our faces for the next 20 years, as I was warned could happen, so I asked the translator doing the books to put things on hold until I could go to the source and hear his side of things.

The first thing I did was talk to Gerardo (Director of Grace Walk Latin America) for about an hour on Skype, and by the time he was done explaining his and Steve's side of things, my response was, "Yeah, so? That's about what I've always believed." It's pretty much what Steve wrote in Grace Walk about Mr Yates, who owned a plot of land with large deposit of oil underneath, but lived as a pauper because he didn't know about it. The oil, the riches, were always his because he owned the land, but they were of no benefit to him until he knew (believed). What's new about Steve's teaching is he now teaches that every person is Mr. Yates. Bob George tells a similar story in, IIRC, Classic Christianity, although I don't know what he would say about every person being Mr. Yates.

I tried to get Steve to come down to the Atlanta airport for coffee a couple of weeks ago when I was on my way to Honduras so we could talk about it, but he was out of town, so my next step of getting the story directly from the source was these past five days or so with Craig (Steve's director of missions) and Gerardo. We roomed together, ate all our meals together, and stayed up late talking like in a college dorm; I filmed every minute of their talks, and at no point did they ever mention anything I found objectionable or controversial (except to the gut-it-out-for-God religious types). And when they speak, because they are so close to Steve, he is with them in spirit (Steve's words to me a few years back, explaining why he doesn't bother to travel around Latin America with Gerardo anymore).

I finally got a chance to spend about an hour on Skype with Steve yesterday, and as I expected by that point, my response was, "Yeah, so? What's the big deal?" He admits that his teaching has changed significantly recently, in his interpretation of his belief that everything was finished at the cross. All forgiveness, all blessing, etc., and that it doesn't begin to exist only when you believe it. If you don't believe it, you're still lost, still spiritually dead --thus this is not universalism-- but it's yours because God in Christ accomplished it all on your behalf and gave it to you freely. It's faith that makes it real to you.

Think of it this way: imagine a blind person is standing in the Grand Hall of the Louvre, surrounded by exquisite, timeless (and finished) works of art. To him, they are of no use, because he is blind, but that doesn't make them any less real as an objective reality. Suppose, then, that he were to have his eyesight miraculously restored. He can now look around with awe and take in the sights around him, although they are no more real or finished than they were before. Jesus' work was already finished at the cross (His words: "It is finished!", not "OK, your move!"), but it's of no use to someone blinded by unbelief. To put it another way, is the Gospel about what Jesus will do for you, or is it about what he has done for you? Steve used to teach the former; he now teaches the latter.

The leader of a similar ministry, whom I also know and respect, and whom I'll call Bill, heard about this controversy and recently visited Steve at his home to hear his side of things. They were sitting in his living room, and Steve gave this example: "Imagine Melanie baked me a batch of cookies and brought them in and put them on the coffee table here, and said, 'Here honey, these are yours, whether you eat them or not.' They're mine because she made them for me and gave them to me."

Bill's response was, "Well, I don't think the cookies are mine until I eat them...but I don't see why people have to call this heresy and make such a fuss."

That's about my conclusion, although I haven't quite made up my mind over the who-owns-the-cookies question. It's not like Steve is denying the virgin birth or something; we can answer the above question differently without accusing him of heresy or taking shots at his ministry. This also reminds me once again that if you hear of something going on with a friend or brother, and assuming it's your business to know, go talk to that person directly, especially when it's someone as approachable as Steve.

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Misunderstanding The Meaning Of The Cross

by csnyder 12. January 2011 09:45

I have been sharing about the cross a lot lately. There is a reason. It is because of the cross along with the virgin birth of Christ and His resurrection are the most important events in the world. The cross is where God literally took on sin on man's behalf. It is where Christ being the second Adam, dealt with the sin of the first Adam. It is where His holiness and righteousness was given to man and where the barriers that separated God from man were broken down. The cross was where God showed man just how much He loved him when He reconciled man to Himself. It all took place at the cross and it is where it was finished.

The Bible says that the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but that it is the power of God to those who are being saved. Is the cross for all and does it apply to all? The answer to this is yes. So what is the problem, why are men not experiencing salvation and appropriating all that was given to them at the cross? It is because of unbelief. It is because man chooses to believe a lie and not the truth. Thinking themselves to be wise they have became fools. They will not receive and they will not believe. John 1:12 says, "that as many as receive Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even those who believe in His name." You must believe. You must believe in the power and completeness of the cross and all that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit did at the cross. Christ died so that man may live in Him. It is all Him, and none of me. I just receive and believe that what He did on the cross was enough.

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About the author

Craig Snyder has been married to Jonni Gooden Snyder for 37 years.  He has three grown sons and one grown daughter.  He has eight grandchildren.

Craig has been in full time ministry since 1974, having been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has pastored for over 25 years.

Craig has ministered  with Grace Walk Ministries since 2001 and serves as Director of Missions and also pastors a home church.  He travels extensively in Latin America, and the U.S. and Canada sharing the Grace Walk of our Lord Jesus Christ.