I think all of us in the Free Grace Movement realize the impact theology can have at the pastoral level. Consider the advice from Dr. John Piper, noted pastor, prolific author, and reformed theologian.
â€œWhen I confronted a man about the adultery he was living in, I tried to understand his situation, and I pled with him to return to his wife. Then I said, â€œYou know, Jesus says that if you donâ€™t fight this sin with the kind of seriousness that is willing to gouge out your own eye, you will go to hell and suffer there forever.â€
As a professing Christian, he looked at me in utter disbelief, as though he had never heard anything like this in his life, and said, â€œYou mean you think a person can lose his salvation?â€
So I have learned again and again from firsthand experience that there are many professing Christians who have a view of salvation that disconnects it from real life, and that nullifies the threats of the Bible, and puts the sinning person who claims to be a Christian beyond the reach of biblical warnings. I believe this view of the Christian life is comforting thousands who are on the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).
Jesus said, if you donâ€™t fight lust, you wonâ€™t go to heaven. Not that saints always succeed. The issue is that we resolve to fight, not that we succeed flawlessly.â€
This is a quote from Dr. John Piperâ€™s book entitled Future Grace published in 1995 (page 331). This selection is offered in the daily devotional called â€œSolid Joysâ€ posted July 27, 2013, over 18 years after its original publication. Think about the impact this could have on a Christian, especially one with a weak conscience or one that has difficulty with certain sins. Think about the theology that leads to such a statement.
This is the theology that Dr. Piper received from his teacher, Dr. Dan Fuller (The Unity of the Bible,Â 1992, Zondervan) who he credits in Future Grace as being totally influential in his theological convictions. Dr. Fuller and Piper take it back to Jonathan Edwards. And of course all of the above would go back to John Calvin, who in his â€œInstitutesâ€ put it so eloquently â€“ â€œThus it appears how true it is that we are justified not without, and yet not by works.â€ (Institutes 2:98-99)
I hope you are ready to explain how you would respond to such a theology.
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Grace Theology Press