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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « E-mails to an Apologist | Main | Augustine on Psalm One »

    Response to the "Free Grace" Movement

    [Recently this important essay was submitted to me for posting. It deals with the 'Lordship' issue and the teaching of Zane Hodges & Joseph Dillow who boldly claim we need not repent of good (and evil) works in order to be saved. The author and lay teacher, Phil Simpson, has a great deal of personal experience with the so-called 'free grace' teaching of the Grace Evangelical Society since he was himself under the teaching of a church which vigorously affirmed it. His essay comes with recommendations from two M.Div's in the OPC and one Calvinistic Baptist. Simpson himself has spent the last eight or nine years wrestling with the 'free grace' teaching (which is more radical than the run-of-the-mill "no-lordship" movement in its reinterpretation of the New Testament, its eschatology {teaching bizarre things such as the division of believers into two camps--the overcoming and the non-overcomining--in a millennial kingdom, with only the overcomers inheriting the kingdom, reigning with Christ, and partaking of the marriage supper of the Lamb}, its view of the validity of faith without works, and the denial that true believers will always continue in the faith -- in fact, they may even become atheists, yet remain saved! I post the essay here because I thought it might be of great interest to some who are familiar with the movement. It is long (about 30-40 typewritten pages) but it is thorough and the author obviously seriously thought through these issues].

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

    © Copyright by Phillip L. Simpson – 2006

    The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical evaluation of what has been termed (by its proponents) the "Free Grace" movement. I should begin by stating at the outset that this is a paper I did not want to write. It is borne out of much sorrow and heaviness of heart. For twenty years, ever since I had become a Christian, I had attended a particular church. When John MacArthur wrote, "The Gospel According to Jesus" in 1988, a line was drawn in the sand regarding the doctrine that came to be known as the "lordship salvation" doctrine (a regrettable term, coined by its critics, but one which is now necessary to identify the doctrine). My church chose to side with the critics of "lordship salvation", with such stalwarts as Zane Hodges, Charles Ryrie, and many from Dallas Theological Seminary leading the way.

    Personally, I was torn. On the one hand I had heroes such as Dr. MacArthur and R.C. Sproul defending the lordship position; on the other hand, other heroes, such as my pastor and Dr. Ryrie, were teaching against it.

    I launched into a study, reading books and articles by men from both sides, including MacArthur, Sproul, Michael Horton, J. I. Packer, Ryrie, Michael Cocoris, Charles Bing, Earl Radmacher, and Zane Hodges. I did this to make sure I understood fully both positions. Since I felt both sides had convincing arguments, I began to study the Scriptures for myself regarding this matter. My study took nearly eight years. A breakthrough came when I decided to jot down all the relevant Scripture texts which speak to the debate. As I did this, I compiled a list of over 100 Scripture texts. Looking over the list, I realized that what I largely had was a list of verses which seemed to support the lordship viewpoint, which would need to be "explained away" by its critics (or reinterpreted so as to contradict the plain meaning of these texts-- over 100 of them!). It is from this list of Scripture texts that this article was formed.

    Read the Entire Essay

    Posted by John on March 29, 2006 11:05 AM

    Comments

    As I read through this essay my battles with these "Free Grace" people started making more sense. Zane Hodges and Charles Ryrie and company have a theology that is easily digestiable to the natural man.

    The one statement in this essay that hit home to me the most was where Phillip said that the "Free Grace" people reinterpret the New Testament in light of their theology even abandoning the historical interpretations of key verses. I suppose that is why attempting to reason with them is a very difficult thing. I pray for wisdom, discernment and restraint in dealing with this "heresy."

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    This is a thorough and convincing paper. He has obviously thought longer and harder about this than I, so I am in no position to be critical. Nor do I wish to be. There are many Christians who need to hear this.

    I do believe, however, that the problem is primarily due to the dispensational hermeneutic. Maybe a few reformed types fall into the no-lordship camp, but for the most part, and I may be wrong about this, the debate rages in dispensational Bible or Community Churches, where the Ryrie brand of dispensationalism collides with the MacArthur brand of dispensational Calvinism.

    Covenant theology, as expressed by Michael Horton in his new book, handles the lordship of Christ in the most biblical way: In Christ, the moral law no longer condemns us, but guides us (pp. 181, 194).

    Steve D

    I am in complete agreement with you that such thinking only arises within the confines of a Dispensational hermeneutic. Perhaps, the reason the author sees so few Reformed folk taking on the 'free grace' theology is that they are not really on their radar. It is so obvious that true saving faith involves a lively affection for Christ that ANY position which would state that one could still love darkness and hate Christ yet have faith in Him is downright contradictory and perhaps cultic ... what we might even consider on the outer fringes of what we would even call Christian in any historical sense. God will be the judge. But anyone rejecting repentance as part of the gospel has no understandinbg that it is God who also grants repentance (2 Tim 2:25). What we cannot do for ourselves Christ has done for us. The "free grace' people believe that it is faith, not grace that makes men to differ.

    The Grace EV Society's position is so utterly contrary to all Scripture and reason that none in the Reformed camp could probably even fathom someone embracing this and might even view it as heretical. John 3:19, 20 gives a reason why the unregerate do not believe: they love darkness, hate the light so will not come into the light. Their affections, in other words, determine what kind of choice they make. Their hatred of Christ is the very thing that keeps them from Him so to claim that our hearts can hate Christ and yet want to believe in him is just confused. To affrim someone could believe Christ without seeing his excellence and continue to see him as an enemy is so contrary to reason that most of us probably see it as a total loss of common sense (not unlike American pop culture) and a clear indication of a anthropocentric hermeneutic driving their biblical interpretation. I fear for teachers who would herald a "gospel" which did not teach a total despair of self and trust in the excellency of Christ.

    Also, I might mention that contrary to those who would call them antinomians, in light of their positon that faith is produced by our unregenerated human nature, I would argue that they are actually neo-pelagians. It is a belief in their own natural moral ability over others to receive an offer of grace. Where is the grace here? It is repackaged pelagianism.

    I wrote about this the other day in my essay entitled "Is Faith a Work?"
    http://www.reformationtheology.com/2006/03/is_faith_a_work.php

    The author said, "Finally, it is worth mentioning that this is not a classical "Dispensationalism vs. Reformed Theology" debate."

    Perhaps not altogether, but I would argue that all persons who embrace the 'free grace' positon are dispensationalists. Not all dispensationalists believe this of course but all who believe it are dispensationalists. It is a logical outworking of some of the more extreme forms of hyper or ultradispensationalism that could come up with such an absurd idea. It comes from not seeing a unity of the new and old testaments. The essay is excellent but could go into even more detail from the Old Testament, since all God's people are saved by grace alone - a grace the circumcises the heart.


    John H,
    Thanks for your insightful comment. Very well said. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Thanks for the much-needed post. I can't help but agree that the free grace movement is logically tied to Dispensationalism. I know Ryrie is quick to label any statement made by Jesus, which indicates the necessity of absolute commitment for one to follow him, as a statement of contingency for "the gospel of the kingdom" -- a gospel conditioned upon human merit for physical, millennial rewards that are available only to ethnic Jews. This he sees as an altogether different gospel than that which is intended for Christians of the church age. The "Christian gospel" calls for faith, but not necessarily submission to Christ's lordship. Perhaps this view is common only in the more extreme forms of Dispensationalism, but I have a suspicion that it is the view more in keeping with the foundations of even a more moderate Dispensationalism. At any rate, it is a topic that stands in need of much refutation; and I am thankful to see a post that does a sound job of that.

    Right after my salvation in 1986 I bought a new Bible. I was so hungry for God's Word! However, it was a Ryrie Study Bible. Do you suppose that that inconsistent "doctrinal baggage" that I carried around for years after that came from the subtle "brainwashing" from all of his study notes?

    Thanks for all the feedback. To clarify a few points: first, when I said, "this is not a classical 'Dispensationalism vs. Reformed Theology' debate", what I meant was this: the "free grace" (FG) folks write much by way of criticizing Reformed Theology. In fact, Joseph Dillow's "Reign of the Servant Kings", the closest thing they have to an organized systematic theology, is largely a discourse against reformed theology. My point was that, while they would have you believe that Calvinism is to blame for current "misunderstandings" of the gospel (as they see it), in truth they stand against, not just Reformed theology, but also Arminianism, and even many dispensationalists (such as MacArthur, and the Middletown Bible Church). On the back cover of Dillow's book, Earl Radmacher says that it , "may well be the most significant contribution toward resolving the several hundred year debate between Calvinism and Arminianism." In fact, the FG movement has brought Arminians and Calvinists together--in their rejection of the FG movement! For example, if someone apostacizes, Calvinists would say they never would saved, Arminians would say they were saved but lost it--but both agree the person is not considered a Christian. Only the FG position says they are still saved.

    Second, I've received a lot of feedback regarding the paucity of Old Testament passages in this paper. I appreciate the feedback, and may consider incorporating it more in the future, because showing OT and NT continuity is an important element of this debate. However, I need to mention that relying primarily on the NT was somewhat deliberate; since FG people are dispensationalists, I felt presenting OT passages would just be met with the counter-argument, "that's not our current dispensation"--and we would be at an impasse. In other words, if FG people are to be persuaded, it will have to be done by using the NT.

    As an addendum, it's important to remember the James, when wanting to make the point that faith without works will not save, and that true faith will manifest itself in works, went as far back as the OT examples of Abraham and Rahab to make his point.

    Thanks for the feedback. I am prayerful that this information will be used to help those confused by the movement, and equip the rest of us to think through these issues Biblically. Let's remember that many of these folks are dear people. My former pastor is one of the godliest men I know, and I esteem him dearly. Let's pray for them, and remember to deal gently with them as we interact with them. Talking with them is not just a chance for us to defy them with Luther-like courage, but it is also an opportunity to show the kindness and humility of Christ--something we may be tempted to forget in the heat of the discussion. In Christ,
    --Phil

    Phil

    Thanks for your essay and your comments.

    You said: >>>"For example, if someone apostacizes, Calvinists would say they never would saved, Arminians would say they were saved but lost it--but both agree the person is not considered a Christian. Only the FG position says they are still saved."

    You are right about this. The question is which of the 3 positions are biblical? The best short essay I have ever read to explain these 3 positions is the following:

    Can a Christian Lose His or Her Salvation? by Greg Johnson
    http://gregscouch.homestead.com/files/eternalsecurity.htm


    later you said: >>>>Let's remember that many of these folks are dear people. My former pastor is one of the godliest men I know, and I esteem him dearly.

    Phil, no one here is judging the character of the persons in the 'free grace' movement. As far as godliness in character goes, many of these persons are, no doubt, far better than I. The question rather is whether they are faithfully teaching Jesus Christ in the Bible or not. There are many Roman Catholic workers who would put many Protestants to shame as far as good works, and they are also dear people. We must, therefore, remember that their godliness amounts to very little if it is not accompanied with a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. If they teach a 'gospel' to others which does not include a call to repentance; or if they teach that fallen man has enough untouched by depravity that they can believe the gospel apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, then it is patently false and a misapprehension of the gospel at a very fundamental level.

    Rememeber the quote from Owen: "To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect."

    And God requires faith of us .. if we think we have the power to believe, in ourselves, apart from Holy Spirit then we have reason to boast over others who did not have the wherwithal to generate such faith. As you probably know, Pelagius himself was known for his godly character ..so, like in Augustine's time, attacks are not leveled on their behavior or persons but on their doctrinal error, which is a direct affront to the gospel itself.

    In your response you said that they believe they have found the balance between Arminianism and Calvinism, but in reality it is just another form of synergism, the belief that faith is produced by our unregenerated human nature, so it is ironic they call themselves 'free grace' when in actual fact, in their system of belief, it is not grace which makes men to differ but our will. Again, it comes down to a Hermeneutic which is not Christ-centered.

    It is also dangerous to define Christianity as a decision someone made 10 years ago that may now no longer exist. The assurance Christ gives us is the witness of the Spirit in us which cry's "ABBA" We know that God has done a work in us because of our faith. To claim we can be saved and not believe in Christ is to also deny His work.

    In Philippians Chapter 3 Paul gives us a definition of a Christian. He calls the true circumcision those who:
    1) Worship in the Spirit of God
    2) Glory in Christ
    3) And put no confidence in the flesh

    According to the 'free grace' movement none of these three points are necessary as a Christian. They do not believe (1) we come to Christ via the Holy Spirit, (2) that we need to glory in Christ (we can still hate him) and (3) that we should have no confidence in the flesh: i.e. repentance of all trust in things other than Christ for our standing before God. That is, repentance from good works as well as bad. Instread they teach that we need merely intellectually assent to the truth of Jesus.

    John,

    I think your comments are right on target. Thank you for them. Of course, I agree that the Arminian position is in error in stating that one can lose their salvation--that view reveals their belief in the ability of man to believe and his inability to keep himself in belief. Perseverance is also monergistic, after all; it is He who is able to keep us from falling (Jude 24). My only point was that the FG movement stands, not just against Calvinism, but against Christendom when it says one can believe and remain unchanged. But the Arminians and the FG people are equally guilty of the error of synergism, and that is a grievous error--which is your point.

    Please understand that I was not accusing any of the prior posts of questioning the character of those in the FG movement. It was as much a reminder to myself as anyone that, as we seek to correct this doctrine, we should do so with gentleness (2 Timothy 2:25). That's all--just a friendly reminder. Since adding new fuel to a debate can make it run hotter, it is tempting , in our falleness, to let this get the better of us.

    Thanks for your comments on Philippians 3. I wish I had included those thoughts in my paper. True faith really is putting no confidence in the flesh. This is a univeral negative; no confidence means I despair even in my ability to lay hold of Christ by my human ability. True faith, therefore, flees to Christ, the soul's only hope, and does not glory, even in a human decision to trust Christ.

    Enjoying the discussion!--Phil

    Mike,

    No one had responded to your question, so I'll give it a stab: You said regarding your earlier use of a Ryrie Study Bible, "Do you suppose that that inconsistent 'doctrinal baggage' that I carried around for years after that came from the subtle 'brainwashing' from all of his study notes?"

    Actually, "brainwashing" may be a bit strong; it brings up images of mind-contolling cultists deliberately using psychological techniques to control others. Rather, I would simply see it this way: We are largely a product of what we read (and what company we keep). Certainly, prolonged use of the Ryrie Bible shaped your thinking for a time. But if it led to confusion in certain areas, also realize that your wrestling with those concepts led you to the place where you are now, and the effort spent in the struggle solidified your current understandings and gave them strength--much more strength than simply swallowing concepts fed to you by others. In other words, don't pin too much blame on your Ryrie Bible (there are actually some helpful notes in terms of hisotrical events and cultural customs); rather, you should view the struggles it led to as a Sovereignly-bestowed means of your growth. Right after my conversion, I was briefly involved in a group that emphasized experience over Scripture. Wrestling to evaluate the group Biblically led me to appreciate the Scriptures all the more--that we have the God's thoughts at our fingertips, and His Spirit in us to teach it to us; that it is a sure place to go for the answers to life's questions. Likewise, wrestling with the FG movement like I have has led me to appreciate the beauty of repentance, salvation as the work of God rather than a cooperative effort between man and God, the work of God in sustaining my faith, et al.

    The church has always come to its clearest understanding of the Scriptures against the backdrop of bad teaching--it forces us to crystallize our views more clearly by putting them into words. This is the backdrop against which most of our creeds and confessions were forged. I believe the same thing happens in our lives as we struggle with this doctrine and that. Anyone else see it differently? --Phil (As an aside, Ryrie is more moderate than most FG teachers. He at least believes that all true Christians will demonstrate some fruit at some time in their lives. He makes this point in his book, "So Great Salvation".)

    Hello,

    I am a dispensationalist who takes a strong stand on the "Free Grace" view.
    I must say, I am thankful for all of your long hours in study and your many thoughts. I can only speak for my self when i say that i am very thankful and I enjoy reading many books/teachings form both Reformed and non-Reformed men. I have been to Bible school and have spent many hours going over this theology time and time again and I still keep comeing back to the (FG) way of thinking.
    Know that i am not trying to start a fight at all, i am just thankful for all who have spent the time to study this out. For all of you, thank you for your hard work of studying out the bible. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
    God's peace,
    Gary Knowlton.

    Dear sirs,

    Thank you for the article Response to "Free Grace Movement". I believe that there is internal contradiction in the Reformed view of salvation. Also, from what I have read, modern Calvinism is not fully consistent with what John Calvin actually believed. John Calvin did not believe in limited atonement in the sense the Christ died only for the Elect. John Calvin clearly states in many places the Jesus Christ died for all mankind. John Calvin may indeed have taught limited application. I have studied the issue of Calvinism vs. "Free Grace" theology as it relates to personal eternal salvation for many years. Since I have been retired for 9 years, I have had even more time to study these issues.

    Free Grace teaching may emphasize what is the minium requirement for eternal salvation - eternal life, but it never stops with that. Free Grace also believes that development in the Christian life (progress sanctification) is best accomplished also by thru grace. God's grace after regeneration and Justification empowers the believer to fulfilled the works that God requires and wants. Dr. Charles Ryrie seems to have the best article on this issue of the relationship between the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant especially as it relates to Gentiles.

    Read his article in Bibliotheca Sacra entitled "The End of the Law for Righteousness"

    The decision at Jerusalem was that Gentiles were not under Mosaic Covenant for salvation. However, 9 of the 10 commandments are restated in the N.T. and remain objective guidelines for godly morality. The Sabbath was and is uniquely related to Israel. However, the principle of rest on one day out of seven is clearly set in the creation account.

    Interestingly, Dr. Carl F.H. Henry in his "Christian Ethics" book points out that even the heathen/pagan etc. have 9 categories on morality which are contained in the Ten Commandments. Only the Sabbath is lacking among heathen/pagan peoples. That is they have the form but not the exact content of the 9 commandment. Thus, the law (9 commandments) is written on their heart as stated by Paul in Romans 2.

    One of the most problematic issues of Reformed Theology is the idea that Regeneration precedes Faith or Repentance. You will note that this is the order in every systematic theology book written by a Calvinist/Reformed Theologian. This is the result of over press an analogy: Man is dead in sins and trespasses, therefore is cannot respond to God's legitimate offer of salvation without first being made "spiritually alive". Also, the concept that "faith" is a gift of God is not taught in the Sciptures. Only two passages are thought to clearly teach this by Reformed Theologians: Ephesian 2:8 & Phil. 1:29

    Neither of these verses upon close evaluation in the Greek require the idea that "faith" is gift of God. Actually, many scholars believe that this verse only teaches that "salvation" is the gift of God.

    If the Reformed person want to claim that God's woing of the sinner thru the Holy Spirit is a gift of God that is acceptable. In fact, this is very clearly taught. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would convince all the World of sin, Righteousness, and Judgement Jn. 16:7-11

    Even Simpson admits that growth in knowledge of Jesus as Lord is nessary in the growth of a believer. Zane Hodges likewise recognizes that there is varying degrees of Christian development. And as far as I can determine he does not deny that there are no evidence of regeneration in the new Christian.

    Reformed theology is commendable in its desire to make everyone full discipes, but this just doesn't happen in every Christians life. When my son was saved at the age of seven, he probably didn't understand the Lordship of Jesus, the Virgin birth, the Trinity etc. Was he not truly saved because he did not understand these things? No, he was saved beyond any doubt. There is a very miniumal knowledge that is required for salvation. To me it seems to be I Cor. 15:3,4

    "Free Grace" teaching does not delight in having baby christians that never develop. But they recognize that babies have very limited knowledge and abilities. Are there some babies (physical) that never fully mature. Yes, unfortunately and to the great horror of their parents. So a baby christian that never develops is great horrow and tragedy even to the "Free Grace" people.

    Although I have believed in "Free Grace" since my conversion, it has never been an excuse for sin because I have a Heavenly Father that I must give account to both in this world and in the world to come. I certainly do believe in the biblical distinction between Salvation by grace thru faith and Works (motivated by grace) for Reward - faithful service. The latter will be in degrees: Some 30, some 60, and some 100 fold.

    It is probable that my few ramblings will not convince any hardcore Calvinist/Reformed person.

    One further observation: (Hope this does not offend any) It appears that Calvinism/Reformed Theology is a result of self-righteous moralism that the sin nature of man has so much trouble abandoning. Self-righteous perfectionism is the heart of the sin
    nature.

    While the true Christian goal is perfection (maturity) it appears that no Christian ever become fully sinless. But while a Christian may not become sinless, we should day by day sin less.

    I can let go on my works as my demostration that I am a true Christian because I truly know that my salvation is not the result of any of my good works either prior to salvation or after salvation.

    Also, it is not God's santification in us (impartation) that is the basis of our ultimate salvation and glorification, it is still the free grace of God.

    This view that our ultimate salvation is intrinically related to our imparted sanctification is very much like the Roman Catholic teaching of Justification as being progressive and related to the progressive impartation of the grace of God related to our works.

    To God be the true Glory.

    Rev. Thomas L. Clark - Phil. 3:14

    Dear Friends,

    I likewise have concerns about Zane Hodges minumialist positional that all that is required for salvation is faith in a statement of God or Jesus. This seems to be problematic. I would never teach this a being possible because of the potential impact it might have on fellow Christians. But between educated theologians I might discuss the issue.

    Zane Hodges argument that a person can become a Christian by simply believe one of Jesus promises about salvation - in the book of Jesus appears to be misguided. However, I would like to posit a concept that might be related.

    There has been debate over whether the faith for salvation in the pre-Christian times was "theo-centric" or "Christo-centric".

    People were obviously saved (regenerated) prior to the appearance of Jesus and even prior to his death and payment for sin.

    Adam & Eve, etc. apparently were saved. Abraham "...believed "Yawah" and it was account to him for righteousness...."

    And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
    Gen 15:3-6 (KJV)

    Abraham doesn't appear to understand several key Christian doctrinal concepts: The Trinity, the Virgin birth, actually method of sacrifice for sin.

    However, it does appear that he did understand that God would send a Messiah thru his line (the seed) who would redeem mankind from sin (those who accept and believe).

    I have always felt that it was better to hold to the view that salvation is pre-Christian times was "Christo-centric" because it conveys the idea of a redemptive Messiah and is therefore and appropiate object of personal faith.

    Apparently, all of mankind from the beginning had this knowledge.

    My conclusion is that while the content and object of faith was very limited it was the essentials for true faith.

    Now the transfer that concept to the time of Jesus. Not everyone at the time of Jesus or even after Jesus fully knew of his full attributes and qualities.

    For instance, in the book of Acts which is indeed a transition book from O.T. to N.T. there are certain true believers (saved, regenerated) "knowing only the baptism of John", there was Apollos who was a fervent disciple of John - knowing only the baptism of John. In fact, this phemonom is the reason for the various baptisms with the Holy Spirit subsequently to people groups believing: Jews (Pentacost), Samaritians (half-Jews)Acts 8:14-17, God-fears (Gentiles learner of the true God in Jewish Synagogues), and a full Gentile Cornelius Acts 10:44ff. In these cases these believers spoke in known languages (tongues)Acts 19:1-7. By the way R.C. Sproul gives an excellent explanation for the various uses of "tongues - languages" in the book of Acts.

    This was the initial progressive of the Gospel message from Jerusalem unto the whole world (Acts 1:8). Also, note that when that the Holy Spirit is not the baptizer, Jesus is per John 1:31(..in the Holy Spirit....). Also, note that the word for baptized "with" the Hol Spirit in the Greek is "en" which is in the locative and should probably be translated "in" that is, 'into the sphere of"

    The Holy Spirit is actually the sphere into which each believer is placed at the time of conversion I Cor. 12:13

    In fact every reference to the baptism of the Holy Spirit uses the Greek word "en". Why "with" or "by" in the KJV and other translations? Because they were Anglicans (defecting Roman Catholics)and did not believe in "believers baptism" but believed in "rhantizing" (specific Greek word for "sprinkling") infants and others. Thus their theology very likely influenced their translation.

    We are all placed into the Holy Spirit when we believe and likewise the Holy Spirit is placed in us (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

    My question? Were people saved (regenerated) without a full knowledge of all the contents and basis of salvation & redemption? Personally, I believe that people were saved when they believed the required promise or promises that God gave them. Interestingly, mankind lost his relationship to God initially by unbelief. Both Adam and Eve failed to trust fully in God's goodness and doubted his warning.

    Also, one more last aside - I do believe in the sovereignty of of God. However, that does not mean that God has chosen to micro-manage every event. God appears to have closen to by His sovereign decision and choice allowed mankind a limit amount of freedom much as a sovereign of a nation might do. A King would be sovereign but still delegate and allow his subject certain freedoms. If he wished he could micro-manage his kingdom but generally good Kings would not do this.

    God knows what to micro-manage and what not to micro-manage.

    By denying that God can sovereignly grant freedom of choice many actually deny God's sovereignty.

    God sovereignly decided to grant mankind limited choice and freedom.

    To God be the Glory!

    Rev. Thomas L. Clark - Phil. 3:14

    Gentlemen,

    After reading through these posts, I suggest you carefully read and listen to what Rev. Thomas L. Clark posted. He correctly points out the real "Free Grace" position and correctly points out the issues many of us have with Zane Hodges particular point of view.

    Furthermore, from my perspective, if you want to have meaningful discussion, find out exactly what Ryrie teaches regarding the gospel. It seems to me that Lordship Salvation teachers have the same problem King James Onlyists have... sourcing.

    King James Onlyists continue to reference Jack Hyles, Jack Chick, and Gail Riplinger when they demonize godly men like Westcot and Hort or malign good English Bibles like the NASB and ESV. Yet, they all act like they are quoting original sources.

    So far, including MacArthur's book Gospel According to Jesus, I have not yet seen a Lordship Salvation teacher or writer correctly present Ryrie, Evans, Swindol, Stanley, or Wilkin's (GES) Free Grace Positions. Just like the KJV Onlyists, all I see from the MacArthur camp is a recycling of out of context quotes and straw arguments based on what Lordship Salvationists claim is being taught by these Free Gracers. Curious though is the new trend of associating Lordship Salvation with Luther and Calvin when any decent student of history knows it originated with the puritans and pietists.

    Of course, if the Free Grace position is so terrible, please email John MacArthur and request that he remove AWANA from the ministries of Grace Community Church. After all, it was founded by a well known Free Grace teacher-Lance Latham. Also, the materials provided by AWANA continue to clearly reflect a Free Grace perspective.

    Oh, and one last request. I'm not sure if this was done yet, but please do not associate the majority of us with those clowns at Berean Call, Bob Jones, PCC or with King James Onlyists. They do not teach Free Grace nor practice it.

    I believe that the KJB is the word of God for the English speaking people because God has made available his perfect word which we can totally trust - it is not open to "scholars" trying to find what was in the originals which they don't have. I also believe in free grace. I have continued to grow as a Christian and have recently been able to discern the apostasy in the mainstream church like using yoga, labyrinths,tribal music, etc.

    Well, it looks like the "free grace" soteriological view and Arminian theology have flooded our modern day American churches. God help us all! Most are going to hell thanks to these false interpretations of scripture. It's sad that God didn't choose everyone to bestow salvation upon. The real story of what the Bible teaches is a depressing story of futility for those of us who aren't saved by grace.

    "Furthermore, from my perspective, if you want to have meaningful discussion, find out exactly what Ryrie teaches regarding the gospel. It seems to me that Lordship Salvation teachers have the same problem King James Onlyists have... sourcing."

    I would direct you to this page:Reformation Happiness.blogspot.com to see that Ryrie is quoted and the reference is given. It is common for one side of a debate to cry, "you have a sourcing problem." I suspect that no amount of quoting in context and referencing would silence this accusation so better would be to go to scripture and either prove or disprove the contentions of those of us who are in the Gospel Of Jesus camp and not the so called "Free Grace" camp. NOTE: This Grace was not free, Jesus gave His precious life for it.

    Do some in the more mainstream dispensationalist tradition believe that "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is reserved for Christians who are not "overcomers"? I believe that this is the case with some wild offshoots of the Brethren movement, but how about among some who are among the more mainstream? If so, the grace of God isn't that free for them. It follows that someone could presumably go through life as a Christian and still end up being punished in the afterlife.

    Hello, everyone.

    I am a Dispensationlaist and a Free-Gracer. My mentor in the faith was a Dispensationlaist Calvinist...

    Have any of you heard of Dr. Norman Geisler? He wrote a book called, "Chosen But Free." As I understand it, Dr. Geisler is indeed a Calvinist. However, he is merely a three pointer (Much like my mentor). I myself have read and reread that book. And I must say, it has been such a blessing to me.

    If I may have the grace to be heard out on merely one thing, let it be this. Dispensationalism is not "Free-Grace" Theology. They are two totally different things.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this. After reading it all, I think that we all could use a little bet more grace when dealing with camps that are not our own. And take time to read authors that our not in our own camps.

    Thank you for this essay...last year i was introduced to what you refer to as Free-Grace theology. i didn't have any knowledge of such but viewed this teaching as a paradigm shift. it challenged me to learn more and compare tradition (Reform) with Kingdom view. Im not threatened by a new theology because its not, but rather a paradigm view. After reading and examining Simpson's essay, I find myself mostly in the FG or Kingdom view camp. After waffling the last 18 months, this essay clarified the correct view and why. The approach applied by FG to scripture makes the cohesion of OT and NT seamless and contradictions non-contra. Im excited about studying the Scripture because i can now understand the cohesion and distinguish the gift and the prize. the ultimate prize...the Kingdom. Thanks again for your perseverance.

    As I read these posts I think there is a problem with who is "free grace." There are two societies: the GES, which espouses the radical free grace theology of Zane Hodges and there is the more mainstream Free Grace Alliance that believes a person must believe and rely on the fact that Christ died for their sin. They must view themselves as sinners and believe in Christ. This is simply mainstream Evangelicalism and is not the minimalist gospel of the GES. Ryrie explains that all Christians will bear fruit although it is not always visible. I am a Presbyterian and reformed in theology and for the life of me, I can't see that we don't believe that, at least in practice. The issue is not apostasy but sin; particularly public sins, which according to the Westminster Confession a Christian can fall into for some time. I find it difficult to believe that Ryrie can be so easily lumped with Hodges and Dillow, when the Free Grace Alliance was formed partly to combat their theology.

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