Means of grace are ordained by God; not discovered by man. You know, it took many years before I finally decided just to use this terminology. I wanted a term to describe what God ordained that we would walk in so that He would be at work in our lives if we do it in faith.

And I knew that “spiritual disciplines” is bad because it’s been poisoned by Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and all kinds of other false teachers. And as soon as you say that that’s what everybody thinks about. And then “spiritual formation” is a poison pill—run if you see that offered because it’s more of the same—mystical practices gleaned from the pagans.

And in Church history the Lutherans and Reformed had this concept, “the means of grace,” and I couldn’t think of better terminology so I studied it and I studied the systematic theology of Charles Hodge, and I liked what he had to say about it, and so I decided to adopt the terminology…

To understand “means of grace,” they are God’s gracious means for salvation—through the preaching of the Gospel—and sanctification… Means of grace are only known through special revelation. I hope you still remember those categories; special revelation [is] what God said—general revelation [is] what we can observe with our physical senses and with our logical minds—and the forbidden things, the occult.

General revelation is not a means of grace; and, it cannot be. And this is what derailed our evangelical churches all the way back into the sixties. We began filling our seminaries and Bible colleges with the teaching of psychology… Now, here’s the issue; here’s the problem with that: I’m not saying every idea any psychologist ever had is false. I don’t know—I can’t make that claim.

They may be able to glean some facts from general revelation that are actually factual. But they’re not so good at it because the human soul is hard to observe; we can’t see it. But when we took all this material from general revelation and/or the occult—or wherever it came from—brought it in and began to teach that; [they] said, “Learn all of that if you want to help people live better lives.”

And what we did, we steered the Church away from the means of grace toward general revelation and we began to think that sanctification was an engineering problem. That it’s a “how to” problem and that blossomed into the whole seeker movement. And now you have this massive amount of problems going on. And people’s lives just got worse because they weren’t getting any grace through these—through general revelation.

Means of grace are not works; they’re not works, but faith expressing itself in obedience. I’ve told people, some come new to [Twin City Fellowship] and they have various problems and issues and we have a pastor who does counseling—straight from the Bible—and I tell them:

“I promise you if you set yourself under the teaching of the Word of God, and the means of grace, and come faithfully, and believe the truth of God’s Word, and fellowship with believers who are committed to the truth of the Gospel; don’t worry that nothing’s going to happen, God will begin to work in your life. And a year from now, two years from now, three years from now, you will look back and you’ll be different; in a good way.” (The Word of God as a Means of Grace, CD Rom, 9:34-13:04)

Bob DeWaay