Free Grace Theology

dizerner

Well-known member
I've been studying this movement for a couple years now.

Anyone have thoughts?

Certainly it gets accused of antinomianism more than anything.

The thing that struck me though, is it's a far more logically consistent version of eternal security than Lordship Salvation.

Not that I accept either.
 
I've been studying this movement for a couple years now.

Anyone have thoughts?

Certainly it gets accused of antinomianism more than anything.

The thing that struck me though, is it's a far more logically consistent version of eternal security than Lordship Salvation.

Not that I accept either.

Yeah, I've studied Free Grace Theology for many years myself. Here's the best article [listed below with link] I've seen written about it that addresses the charge of antinomianism. In an excerpt from that article, Phillip L. Simpson, writing as an insider replies, "The "free grace" teachers have been charged by some in the Lordship camp as being antinomians (that is, promoting lawlessness). Do I think this charge is true? Yes and no. Let me explain what I mean. From my experience, these people do care about holiness of life and honoring God by our actions and thoughts. I can’t think of one of them who would advocate "loose living". However, I’m afraid that the unintended consequence of their teaching is a generation of many who believe that, because of a decision made years ago, their salvation is secure, even though "by their works they deny Him" (Titus 1:6).


A Biblical Response to the Teachings of Zane Hodges,
Joseph Dillow, and the Grace Evangelical Society
(Called the "Free Grace" Movement)

God Bless!
 
I've been studying this movement for a couple years now.

Anyone have thoughts?

Certainly it gets accused of antinomianism more than anything.


The thing that struck me though, is it's a far more logically consistent version of eternal security than Lordship Salvation.

Not that I accept either.
The main problem with those who hold free grace theology is that they do not see the experience of living in obedience to God's law as being part of God's free gift of salvation. Grace is incompatible with law (Romans 11:6) insofar as a gift can't be earned as a wage, however, God's law was never given as a means of earning our salvation as a wage, and there can be any number of other reasons for why we should obey it that are not incompatible with grace. For example, the content of a gift can itself be the experience of doing something, such as giving someone the opportunity to experience driving a Ferrari for an hour, where the gift requires them to do the work of driving it in order to have that experience, but where doing that work has nothing to do with earning the opportunity to drive it as a wage. In a similar way, the content of God's gift of eternal life is the experience of knowing Him and Jesus (John 17:3) and the gift of God's law is His instructions for how to have that experience (Exodus 33:13, Matthew 7:23).

In Psalms 119:29-30, he wanted to put false ways far from him, for God to be gracious to him by teaching him to obey His law, and he chose the way of faithfulness by setting God's law before him, so this has always been the one and only way of salvation by grace through faith. In Exodus 33:13, Moses wanted God to be gracious to him by teaching him to walk in His way that he might know Him and Israel too, and in 1 Kings 2:1-3, God taught how to walk in His way through His law. In Genesis 6:8-9, Noah found grace in the eyes of God, he was a righteous man, and he walked with God, so God was gracious to him by teaching him how to walk in His way in obedience to His law and he was righteous because he obeyed through faith. In Romans 1:5, we have received grace in order to bring about the obedience of faith, and in Titus 2:11-14, our salvation is described as being trained by grace to do what is godly, righteous, and good, and to renounce doing what is ungodly, so God graciously teaching us to experience doing those works is itself part of His gift of salvation.
 
Do you believe in any form of eternal security?

In order to give you a somewhat clearer answer to your question I'll need to give you some of my other soteriological beliefs, since the issue of a believer's eternal security touches upon, and is interconnected with so many other theological issues. The basic understanding of most appears to be that there are two choices here : the conditional or unconditional eternal security of the believer. However, to make your question more specific, the question would be, "Will any genuine, blood-bought children of God forfeit or lose their salvation subsequent to being regenerated by the Holy Spirit ... and consequently perish in the Lake of Fire? To that question I would say - absolutely not.

There is only one true teaching concerning the eternal security of the believer, and the Free Grace Movement falls short in many ways concerning it's true nature [they, as others, sadly misrepresent the true scriptural teaching ... and give the true representation a "bad rap". So, obviously I wouldn't identify with that camp. In fact, I really don't fit into either of the two basic camps that modern day Christianity, for the most part, is divided into ... Calvinism or Arminianism. It appears to me that 5-point Calvinism has done more damage to Christianity than good due to Calvin's heretical, fatalistic perspective on predestination and God's election to salvation. With that said, God is nevertheless able to use those churches that teach that abomination out of ignorance and save some individuals held captive within those organizations that promote the God-dishonoring 5-point doctrines of T.U.L.I.P.

In my 39 years plus of earnestly sorting through this theological matrix, I would have to say that my overall soteriological perspective is much closer to that held by Arminians than that of the Calvinists... and perhaps that advocated by Classical Arminianism. I would agree that faith precedes regeneration [i.e. - the issue concerning freedom of man's will], and that some type of prevenient grace is necessary in the conversion of unregenerated individuals. However, with that said, in other major points, such as predestination and election to salvation and the eternal security of the believer ... I disagree with all the 'flavors' held within the Arminian camp, and therefore stand in the minority position [and, as a result, am unfortunately often misunderstood by most ... although I'm certainly not alone]. Unlike the Calvinist view on predestination, I don't perceive the Arminian perspective as being heretical, but instead very incomplete.[here I adopt the Molinist perspective on the topic ... and am not an open theist].

Perhaps, I could most closely identify with those articles drafted by Eric Hankin, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi and former vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. In an interview [also linked below], Eric said he wrote those articles in an attempt to expose those who promote Calvinism - primarily 5-point Calvinism that has infested many of the Southern Baptist churches in recent history. He said he wrote it in such a way that the 5-point Calvinist would not be able to sign on. I could affirm all of his statements concerning predestination and election to salvation with his document as being true, with the caveat of his viewpoint of predestination as being incomplete - i.e. - lacking important components [it's essentially the same as the basic Arminian viewpoint]. Perhaps you might find the following info interesting .....

Eric Hankin's articles are given in this article :

(1) "Non-Calvinist’ Southern Baptists issue statement of beliefs – by Staff"


(2) "Provisionism in the SBC | Interview with Dr. Eric Hankins" [The Provisionist Perspective - YouTube]

 
In order to give you a somewhat clearer answer to your question I'll need to give you some of my other soteriological beliefs

Thoughtful and interesting post. I'm also a Classical Arminian, just without the OSAS.

Thanks for sharing that!


I find the only logical form of Eternal Security, that which truly eliminates free will altogether, in non-Lordship Calvinism.

Any form of Lordship OSAS is just sneaking works back in by adding conditions logically, whether they admit that or not.


I know you didn't ask, but since you showed me "yours," if you're curious to see some "pushback" here's some threads:

My criticisms of Calvinism:

My criticisms of Molinism:

My criticisms of OSAS:

My criticisms of Provisionism:

And my own view:
 
In order to give you a somewhat clearer answer to your question I'll need to give you some of my other soteriological beliefs, since the issue of a believer's eternal security touches upon, and is interconnected with so many other theological issues. The basic understanding of most appears to be that there are two choices here : the conditional or unconditional eternal security of the believer. However, to make your question more specific, the question would be, "Will any genuine, blood-bought children of God forfeit or lose their salvation subsequent to being regenerated by the Holy Spirit ... and consequently perish in the Lake of Fire? To that question I would say - absolutely not.

There is only one true teaching concerning the eternal security of the believer, and the Free Grace Movement falls short in many ways concerning it's true nature [they, as others, sadly misrepresent the true scriptural teaching ... and give the true representation a "bad rap". So, obviously I wouldn't identify with that camp. In fact, I really don't fit into either of the two basic camps that modern day Christianity, for the most part, is divided into ... Calvinism or Arminianism. It appears to me that 5-point Calvinism has done more damage to Christianity than good due to Calvin's heretical, fatalistic perspective on predestination and God's election to salvation. With that said, God is nevertheless able to use those churches that teach that abomination out of ignorance and save some individuals held captive within those organizations that promote the God-dishonoring 5-point doctrines of T.U.L.I.P.

In my 39 years plus of earnestly sorting through this theological matrix, I would have to say that my overall soteriological perspective is much closer to that held by Arminians than that of the Calvinists... and perhaps that advocated by Classical Arminianism. I would agree that faith precedes regeneration [i.e. - the issue concerning freedom of man's will], and that some type of prevenient grace is necessary in the conversion of unregenerated individuals. However, with that said, in other major points, such as predestination and election to salvation and the eternal security of the believer ... I disagree with all the 'flavors' held within the Arminian camp, and therefore stand in the minority position [and, as a result, am unfortunately often misunderstood by most ... although I'm certainly not alone]. Unlike the Calvinist view on predestination, I don't perceive the Arminian perspective as being heretical, but instead very incomplete.[here I adopt the Molinist perspective on the topic ... and am not an open theist].

Perhaps, I could most closely identify with those articles drafted by Eric Hankin, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi and former vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. In an interview [also linked below], Eric said he wrote those articles in an attempt to expose those who promote Calvinism - primarily 5-point Calvinism that has infested many of the Southern Baptist churches in recent history. He said he wrote it in such a way that the 5-point Calvinist would not be able to sign on. I could affirm all of his statements concerning predestination and election to salvation with his document as being true, with the caveat of his viewpoint of predestination as being incomplete - i.e. - lacking important components [it's essentially the same as the basic Arminian viewpoint]. Perhaps you might find the following info interesting .....

Eric Hankin's articles are given in this article :

(1) "Non-Calvinist’ Southern Baptists issue statement of beliefs – by Staff"


(2) "Provisionism in the SBC | Interview with Dr. Eric Hankins" [The Provisionist Perspective - YouTube]

I disagree with PSA for the following reasons. Let me know what you think.

 
Any form of Lordship OSAS is just sneaking works back in by adding conditions logically, whether they admit that or not.
Here are some verses that show that we can't earn our salvation/justification/righteousness/eternal life by our obedience to God's law as a wage: Romans 3:28, Romans 4:4-5, Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:21, and Galatians 3:21

Here are some verses where our salvation/justification/righteousness/eternal life requires us to choose to be a doer of God's law: Romans 2:6-7, Romans 2:13, Romans 6:19-23, Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:11-14, Galatians 3:26-29, Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 19:17, Luke 10:25-28, Hebrews 5:9, and Revelation 22:14.

So clearly works are a condition, but not in order to earn a wage.
 
In order to give you a somewhat clearer answer to your question I'll need to give you some of my other soteriological beliefs, since the issue of a believer's eternal security touches upon, and is interconnected with so many other theological issues. The basic understanding of most appears to be that there are two choices here : the conditional or unconditional eternal security of the believer. However, to make your question more specific, the question would be, "Will any genuine, blood-bought children of God forfeit or lose their salvation subsequent to being regenerated by the Holy Spirit ... and consequently perish in the Lake of Fire? To that question I would say - absolutely not.

There is only one true teaching concerning the eternal security of the believer, and the Free Grace Movement falls short in many ways concerning it's true nature [they, as others, sadly misrepresent the true scriptural teaching ... and give the true representation a "bad rap". So, obviously I wouldn't identify with that camp. In fact, I really don't fit into either of the two basic camps that modern day Christianity, for the most part, is divided into ... Calvinism or Arminianism. It appears to me that 5-point Calvinism has done more damage to Christianity than good due to Calvin's heretical, fatalistic perspective on predestination and God's election to salvation. With that said, God is nevertheless able to use those churches that teach that abomination out of ignorance and save some individuals held captive within those organizations that promote the God-dishonoring 5-point doctrines of T.U.L.I.P.

In my 39 years plus of earnestly sorting through this theological matrix, I would have to say that my overall soteriological perspective is much closer to that held by Arminians than that of the Calvinists... and perhaps that advocated by Classical Arminianism. I would agree that faith precedes regeneration [i.e. - the issue concerning freedom of man's will], and that some type of prevenient grace is necessary in the conversion of unregenerated individuals. However, with that said, in other major points, such as predestination and election to salvation and the eternal security of the believer ... I disagree with all the 'flavors' held within the Arminian camp, and therefore stand in the minority position [and, as a result, am unfortunately often misunderstood by most ... although I'm certainly not alone]. Unlike the Calvinist view on predestination, I don't perceive the Arminian perspective as being heretical, but instead very incomplete.[here I adopt the Molinist perspective on the topic ... and am not an open theist].

Perhaps, I could most closely identify with those articles drafted by Eric Hankin, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi and former vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. In an interview [also linked below], Eric said he wrote those articles in an attempt to expose those who promote Calvinism - primarily 5-point Calvinism that has infested many of the Southern Baptist churches in recent history. He said he wrote it in such a way that the 5-point Calvinist would not be able to sign on. I could affirm all of his statements concerning predestination and election to salvation with his document as being true, with the caveat of his viewpoint of predestination as being incomplete - i.e. - lacking important components [it's essentially the same as the basic Arminian viewpoint]. Perhaps you might find the following info interesting .....

Eric Hankin's articles are given in this article :

(1) "Non-Calvinist’ Southern Baptists issue statement of beliefs – by Staff"


(2) "Provisionism in the SBC | Interview with Dr. Eric Hankins" [The Provisionist Perspective - YouTube]


Southern Baptists - Calvinism & Arminianism - historical facts :

Baptists have, in fact, historically debated Calvinism and Arminianism. Early English Baptists were also divided over the debate, with General Baptists identifying more with Arminians and Particular Baptists with Calvinists.

By 1950, Southern Baptists had become a programmatic people. From 1954 to 1979 the SBC was on the road to becoming yet another mainline Protestant denomination—by this time the largest Protestant denomination in the country, surpassing United Methodists. With the exception of great men like Curtis Vaughan, James Leo Garrett Jr., and others, most leaders at this time were embarrassed by the SBC’s revivalistic heritage and even more by the Calvinistic aspects of the Charleston Tradition. They wanted nothing to do with it; they wanted to get rid of it any way they could. The SBC attempted to re-envision itself, largely ignoring the nineteenth-century roots of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The spokesperson for the Southern Baptist Convention in many way sat this time was the centrist Herschel Hobbs (1907–1995). He would not have been one of those trying to lead Southern Baptists to become another liberal mainline denomination. Such would be an unfair assessment of Herschel Hobbs in his writings, "What Baptists Believe". In 1964 and the Baptist Faith and Message in 1971, which amplified the work of the Baptist Faith and Message Committee that he led in 1963, Hobbs led Southern Baptists in the middle and latter years of the twentieth century toward a modified understanding of predestination and foreknowledge.

He believed that God affirmed every free human choice in such a way that the choices are not predetermined. ***He maintained that God chose to limit His sovereignty so that men and women could either accept or reject God’s salvific order in Christ.*** Hobbs was almost a thoroughgoing Arminian who believed in eternal security [i.e. an OSAS Arminian such as myself], but he was also a thorough-going biblicist. He influenced Southern Baptists during this period more than any other person. For 28 years he wrote the adult Sunday school lesson for every Sunday school teacher in Southern Baptist life. So the middle of the twentieth century saw the 'Arminianizing' of the SBC.
 
Free Grace theology seems to exist because people would go to extreme lengths to say you can lose your salvation, and hold people hostage with it.

If the latter disappeared, the former would probably cease to exist also.

However, humans will be humans .. so expect more groupings appearing "in protest" of doctrines of men.
 
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