'A Taste of Grace'
New book is 'a spiritually healthy alternative to religiously processed junk food for the soul!'
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries assistnews.net
"DUARTE, CA (ANS) -- Greg Albrecht says that the idea for his latest book, A Taste of Grace, came from many biblical word pictures of banquets and feasts.
"I wanted to write a book giving people a sample of what God’s grace tastes like – you know, like those delicious samples that are handed out in grocery stores and Costco/Sam’s Club, by ladies wearing latex gloves and hairnets,” he said.
"As I studied what Jesus has to say about grace I saw that he used banquets and feasts as settings for many of his parables and teachings – so I put on my hairnet and latex gloves and went to my keyboard, hoping to attract ‘shoppers’ to sample the spiritual banquet God has prepared for all of us.”
A Taste of Grace is Greg Albrecht’s seventh book, all written as a part of his ministry to what he calls spiritual refugees. Albrecht is himself a spiritual refugee, a survivor of the shipwreck of the cultic teachings of Armstrongism. 25-30 years ago he was an influential and highly regarded minister and college professor/administrator of Ambassador College and Worldwide Church of God, but in what he calls “the dark night of his soul” – “a spiritual journey through the valley of the shadow of death” God rescued him from the oppressive legalism and unbiblical teachings of what today is generically called Armstrongism.
"By God’s grace I came to realize what I had believed and taught was horribly wrong – that very process involved, for me at least, a deeply disturbing time of accepting the fact that I had been religiously deceived – I had to accept the fact that I had been duped, and that I had taken the intoxicating bait hook, line and sinker.”
In his other books and in his ministry at large (Plain Truth Ministries and Christianity Without the Religion – www.ptm.org) Greg talks about the attractive bait of Christ-less, religious teaching – of enticements like 1) working hard to please and appease God, 2) the illusion of being satisfied that God loves you more than others because of your performance, and 3) being spiritually imprisoned by a mirage of spiritual truth that is supposed to make you better than other people.
Albrecht notes, “After a period of years of transitioning from legalistic law-keeping to God’s grace, I realized that those of us who had been granted life in Christ, beyond the spiritual death of Armstrongism, were not alone. Our journey is shared by many others – the predicament that once overwhelmed and defined us, of being enslaved by religious teaching, is currently being experienced by hundreds of millions. Of course most haven’t been confined to exactly the same spiritual swamp that I was, but a staggering number are suffering from their exposure to the toxic religious teaching of legalism. Christ-less religion has placed religious traditions and beliefs before Christ, and subjected its followers to religious oppression and authoritarianism.
"The more I experience the kingdom of heaven, the more I discover that the very things that Christ-less religion promotes as its core beliefs are the enemies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The more I focus on Jesus the more I become less religious and more and more ir-religious.”
The core values of Plain Truth Ministries and its companion teaching ministry, Christianity Without the Religion, were formed and shaped as Albrecht was contacted and asked for help by many who themselves had been bruised and battered by religion at large.
Greg Albrecht defines Christ-less religion as the traditional view that performance of the right rules and rituals will gain an individual a higher standing with God than they would have otherwise enjoyed. As he came to enjoy and live a Christ-centered life filled with God’s grace, he came to be progressively convicted of God’s in-spite-of love, rather than because-of love.
In 1995 the Worldwide Church of God, also founded by Herbert Armstrong, made a historic stand for truth, and embraced the teachings and beliefs of historic Christianity. That revolutionary action caused the Worldwide Church of God to lose the vast majority of its pastors and members, who left the transforming Worldwide Church of God because they would not forsake the cultic teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong. Greg Albrecht was one of the human leaders of that historic stand, and was widely interviewed during the latter years of the 20th century, explaining that the Worldwide Church of God had retained its name, but had completely divorced itself from the unbiblical and cultic teachings of Armstrong.
Over time it became obvious that Albrecht was probably better equipped to minister outside of a denominational setting. In an amicable parting of ways, the Albrecht-led Plain Truth Ministries and the Worldwide Church of God (itself now re-named as Grace Communion International), completely separated so that both might better continue their respective non-denominational and denominational ministries.
Plain Truth Ministries (PTM) is now regarded as one of the leading ministries to those who have survived some kind of theological or religious shipwreck. “For the last decade or so we have been amazed to discover the incredible denominational diversity from which those we serve have come – the spiritual resume of those we serve includes not only past memberships in cults, but affiliation with virtually every major denominational affiliation, institution and theological persuasion. Having such a constituency helps motivate us and propel the ongoing work of PTM – Christ-less religion is invading the body of Christ, and, in my view, completely misrepresenting and warping the relationship God offers to each of us, by his grace.
"For that reason, we speak of our commitment to Christ-centered faith over against Christ-less religion – often using the shorthand, ‘faith alone, grace alone, and Christ alone.'"
When asked about initial responses to A Taste of Grace Greg responded, "One of my favorites so far is a man from Canada who said that he laughed out loud when he read this paragraph from page 31
It reads: “The kingdom of heaven involves feasting and dancing and laughter. God – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – does not absent himself from such merrymaking. God is involved in the wining and the dining – he is the very center of the joke telling, the good natured jesting, the singing and the offering of toasts. This is his banquet – he plans it, caters it and hosts it. God doesn’t absent himself from the party and sneak off to the library, reading the Bible in the original Greek or Hebrew. God is right there in the middle of all the festivities.”
So to pick up a copy (www.ptm.org) of A Taste of Grace – it’s a spiritually healthy alternative to religiously processed junk food for the soul! "
"Mercy" (It Is Written with John Bradshaw) - Ministry Videos Posted By iiw
"Summary: What are you carrying in your heart today? Too many people are carrying around old wounds from past mistakes, without realizing that God offers us mercy and grace!
Verse: "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief."
â€”1 Timothy 1:13
For more daily devotionals, visit www.itiswritten.com/everyword
Skit Guys - Grace - Inspirational Videos
"Download this video at http://skitguys.com/videos/item/grace In this conversation between Jesus and Peter, grace is illustrated when Jesus forgives the unforgivable. "
1 "Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.
2 "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, 3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.
4 "If you come across your enemyâ€™s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.
6 "Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.
8 "Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.
9 "Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. ...
"And the LORD said, â€œI will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion...-Exodus 33
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. ...-John 1