Customer Login

Lost password?

View your shopping cart

Free Grace Theology

http://gracetheology.org, Dr. Fred Chay, It's Dèja Vù All Over Again

It’s Déjà vu All Over Again

If you live long enough you see things come full circle. This is often true in theology, concerning both orthodoxy and heterodoxy. In 1996 Zondervan produced “Four Views on Hell” with a team of contributors that did an excellent job. I used it as a seminary textbook in a class I taught on soteriology.

But times being what they are, 20 years can make a big difference in the theological landscape. We have lived through the sophisticated arguments of John Stott, the emotional plea of Clark Pinnock, and the hip presentation of Rob Bell concerning the love and wrath of God and the eternal state of man. But now 20 years later, a new book (a good book with new authors, albeit with the same title) has been produced to bring both classic and contemporary arguments for our consideration about the definition and duration of hell.

To set the hook, listen to one of the authors Robin Parry (PhD, University of Gloucestershire – UK) articulate some seminal components of one of the views from some other material he has produced on this topic.

“Historically all Christian universalists have had a doctrine of hell and that remains the case for most Christian universalists today, including Bell. The Christian debate does not concern whether hell will be a reality (all agree that it will) but, rather, what the nature of that reality will be. Will it be eternal conscious torment? Will it be annihilation? Or will it be a state from which people can be redeemed? Most universalists believe that hell is not simply retributive punishment but a painful yet corrective/educative state from which people will eventually exit (some, myself included, think it has a retributive dimension, while others do not).”

He adds:

“Christian universalists have a lot to say about God’s holiness, justice, and even his wrath. Typically they think that God’s divine nature cannot be divided up into conflicting parts in such a way that some of God’s actions are loving (e.g. saving sinners) while others are just and full of anger (e.g. hell). They see all of God’s actions as motivated by ‘holy love’. Everything God does is holy, completely just, and completely loving. So whatever hell is about it must be compatible not simply with divine justice but also with divine love. Which means that it must, in some way, have the good of those in hell as part of its rationale. Universalists feel that one potential danger in traditional theologies of hell is that while they make much ofGod’s justice and anger, they appear to be incompatible with his love and, as a result, they divide up the unity of God’s nature.”

We who champion a Free Grace theology must make sure we do our exegetical homework and theological articulation so as to clarify that the grace of God and the love of God do not eliminate the eternal consequences of sin for those who do not believe in Jesus for eternal life: a gift to use from the love of Christ, a love that cannot be earned and cannot be lost.

Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor
Grace School of Theology

Grace from Generation to Generation

Grace from Generation to Generation

The Free Grace movement has a long history. That is stating the obvious since it comes from the pen of the apostle Paul. But in modern history, Free Grace Theology has always been a minor note in the orchestra of theological discussion. That in no way diminishes its value since it is biblically true and as Flannery O’Connor reminds us, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

It is incumbent on us to make sure that this truth, if not the tradition, not only be articulated in our day but that it continues to be understood and articulated in future days. This has to do with the issue of transmission and transition. We are the keepers of the spring, but we need to transfer the spring and the theology of the free and living water to the next generation.

Phil Congdon of New Braunfels Bible Church, both a pastor and theologian of free grace theology, also senses the need to pass the baton. Listen to his life strategy.

“One of the greatest challenges facing any pastor who holds to ‘grace’ these days is this: How can I prevent the local church I pastor from quickly losing its theological clarity after I go?  Sadly, many churches that were once strongly ‘grace’ are now at best ambivalent theologically, and many have totally abandoned the gospel of grace.

A few years ago I determined that I would invest my time to provide a strong base of grace-oriented men in the church who could carry on the legacy of grace after I go.  I decided to start with men because they are ordained as leaders in the church. If they hold to biblical truth, chances are the rest of the church will avoid error.

I began by prayerfully targeting men who demonstrated some spiritual foundation, sent an email stating that I was going to start a Men’s Grace Group, and inviting them to join. Out of some 25 men, I started with about ten.  We’ve had some ups and downs over the last few years, but I now lead two Men’s Grace Groups – both meeting at a coffee shop early in the morning.  Over the last four years, we’ve read and discussed Swindoll’s Grace Awakening, Hodges’ The Hungry Inherit and The Gospel Under Siege, R.T. Kendall’s When God Says “Well Done!,” Charlie Bing’s Simply by Grace, Dave Anderson’s Free Grace Soteriology and Bewitched, George Bryson’s The Five Points of Calvinism, and more.

I recommend every grace pastor do this!  There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way – I’ve made a few mid-course corrections depending on how one group or another is going, but the most important thing is this – do it!  The ‘grace quotient’ in your church will increase significantly, and if the Lord tarries and you retire, the next pastor will find a strong foundation of ‘grace men’ there!”

Now there is a challenge for you. Let me call the question: how and what are you doing to promote the progress of Free Grace Theology both now and for the future? Grace Theology Press and Grace School of Theology are committed to providing theological resources and ministerial training for this and the next generation of pastors, missionaries and theologians as well as preparing an army of disciples of Jesus. Let us know how we can help.

Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor
Grace Theology Press