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Grace School of Theology

Grace, Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay, Dr. Dave Anderson

GTP Releases Position and Condition by Dr. Dave Anderson

Grace Theology Press is pleased to announce the publication of our latest book by Dr. Dave Anderson, President of Grace School of Theology, entitled Position and Condition: An Exposition of the Book of Ephesians.

This is an in-depth exegetically based exposition of Ephesians that includes some relevant discussion of some significant theological issues. Let me introduce the book to you by letting you read the opening pages from the pen of Dr. Anderson.

THE PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH BUT IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
Ephesians 1:1-14
INTRODUCTION

Rick Warren is an American pastor who became rich through the sales of one book, A Purpose Driven Life.1 True, it became the best-selling book in the history of the English language, excepting the Bible. For a while it sold over a million copies per month, and before its primary run ended, it had sold over a hundred million copies. He came here to The Woodlands, TX, back in 2005 and was still asking the question “Why?” He claims that he didn’t put anything new in the book not said by others before him. He sprinkled it with Bible verses and biblical principles, yet the secular world was buying it like crazy. He said about a month before his visit here the leader of Rwanda, Africa, had invited him to come to Africa to help them establish a purpose driven nation. Wow, a purpose driven nation; a government was asking for that.

And we all have to ask “Why?” Why now, at this particular juncture of human history are so many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, looking for purpose? As I have pondered this question my mind has taken me back to the beginning of the modern world, which most pundits put at around AD 1750. That’s when The Age of Reason began. Reason rose to near deity status. Reason could solve anything. Man’s mind became the supreme power on our earth—nothing higher. Reason went up to the top floor above faith, and, in fact, within a hundred years or even less had driven faith completely out of the house. Through our science and technology, we could achieve a humanitarian utopia and, for those who still believed in Christ, the millennial kingdom (an approach known as postmillennialism).

WWI was our first hint: maybe advanced technology is not making our society better and better. If WWI rattled the cage of the modern world with its faith in human reason and the ability of our minds to make a better world, WWII dismantled the cage completely. Adolf Hitler used the science of eugenics to help justify his “final solution.”2 And Albert Einstein said the greatest mistake of his life was allowing Leo Szilard to persuade him to write a letter to President Roosevelt that would ultimately lead to the Manhattan Project.3 Little Boy and Fat Man ended the modern era.4 The intentional attempt to destroy an entire race (the Jews) with the use of modern science, and the nuclear age with its potential for self-annihilation, suggested to the baby-boomers that something was wrong with reason. Our reason is flawed; it’s spoiled cheese no matter how you slice it. Science and reason will not bring answers to the problems of the
human race.

Thus began our Postmodern Era. The signs of this era tell us that things do not make sense; things are not logical; much of life is nonsense; words have lost their meaning. The latter is known as deconstructionism, that is, we deconstruct the meaning of words until they have no meaning. At the very best, what words mean to you may not be what they mean to me. Every man just does what is right in his own eyes. But who said there was a right and wrong to begin with?

The depressing approach of postmodernity was short-lived, about two generations. The Gen-Xers and the millennials drifted back to the same questions that have plagued mankind from the beginning: who am I, why am I here, and where am I going? All three of those questions scream PURPOSE. Into the vacuum of no answers came Rick Warren’s book. And what a wonderful book it is. But long before Warren wrote about purpose, another book addressed the subject of purpose. We might say the whole Bible does this, but more specifically there is one book of the Bible that zeros in on the subject.

The Book of Ephesians opens with this thought—God has a purpose for your life, but it’s not about you. This letter talks about the Creation and the Conduct of the Church. The church was a mystery unforeseen in the Old Testament. Yet God says, “I have created this Body, this entity for a very special purpose.” I’d like to call the Book of Ephesians the Purpose Driven Church because I think that’s what it’s about. It’s about God’s special purpose for believers in the Body of Christ.”

I think you will find this book insightful and helpful as you deepen your walk with Jesus. And for those of you who want a good source for your sermon preparation, I believe you will find it very beneficial. You can order this resource from Amazon as well as all of the GTP family of books.

Always remember: Readers are leaders and leaders are readers. Happy reading!


1. Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002).
2. Nazi Eugenics, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_eugenics/, accessed September 1, 2016.
3. Albert Einstein, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein/, accessed September 1, 2016.
4. The names given to the two bombs dropped on Japan.


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

Just How Much is Needed to be Sure?

One of the essential questions in the Grace Debate is the requirement of love and other forms of obedience that are essential to prove that faith is genuine and salvific. Many authors provide a variety of lists that are essential to prove that the faith one demonstrates genuinely and actually saves. A new formulation of this is found in Matthew Bates’ work, Salvation By Allegiance Alone (see a previous blog where we have examined this book). His view is that “ embodied obedience” is what pistis (faith) means and hence if there is no love and acts of obedience, then there is no justification. He holds that not only is salvation to be understood in three phases—past, present and future—but he states that justification is a three-part activity that culminates in a final declaration at the Great White Throne that one is finally and fully justified. (See Romans 2:5-6.)

Others sensing the tension and subjectivity of such a theology simply say that “ some” works are necessary to prove that faith is genuine. (See Wayne Grudem’ s, Free Grace Theology 5 Ways is Diminishes the Gospel.) Of course, it is never clarified how much “ some” includes nor what type of “ some” works are necessary.

Historically, in Reformed theology, “ Love” has been the “ true sign,” the “ shibboleth” in determining if a person is justified and saved eternally. Dr. John Hosler, a pastor and an articulate and longstanding defender of the free grace gospel asks the seminal question:

“ Does being born again mean that a believer cannot resist practicing perfect love at all times? Faith Works by John MacArthur, p. 188: “ There is no such thing as a Christian who lacks this love….No-lordship theology ignores this vital truth….Jesus said, ‘ if you love Me, you will keep my commandments.’ ‘ He who has my commandments and keeps them, he is who loves me’ (Jn. 4:21). Conversely, ‘ He who does not love Me does not keep My words’ (v. 24).”

Hosler continues:

“Included in the definition of love is keeping all the commandments of Christ, keeping the word of God, loving all brothers at all times, and walking in the light at all times. How then could the reformers, Roman Catholics and Puritans have hated the Anabaptists so vehemently? Why, then, was it necessary to tell the Romans to let love be without dissimulation (Rom. 12:9)? Why did the Corinthians have to be beseeched to confirm their love to a repenting brother (II Cor. 2:8)? Why did the Galatians have to be told to serve one another in love (Gal. 5:13)? Why did Paul have to pray for the Ephesians to be rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17)? Why did Paul have to beseech the Ephesians to forbear one another in love (Eph. 4:1, 2)? Why did Paul have to tell Christian men to love their wives (Eph. 5:25)? And how could the Ephesian church, founded by Paul, have left its first love (Rev. 2:4)? Why did Paul need to tell the Thessalonians to put on the breastplate of love (I Thess. 5:8)? Why did he have to tell Timothy to follow after love (I Tim. 6:11; II Tim. 1:13)? Why do young Christian wives need to be taught to love their husbands (Titus 2:4)? Why do Christians need to provoke one another unto love (Heb. 10:24)? Why must Christians be told to let brotherly love continue (Heb. 13:1)? Why must Peter tell the saints to love one another as brethren (I Pet. 3:8)? Why does he tell Christians to be diligent to add charity and brotherly kindness to their faith (II Pet. 1:5-7)? Why must John tell the saints not to love the world (I Jn. 2:15)? Why was it necessary for him to tell the saints that they ought to love one another (I Jn. 4:11)? Why did Jude have to tell the beloved to keep themselves in the love of God (Jude 21)? Why? Because many saved believers can and do lack love, and thereby forfeit their fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will receive discipline. I Jn. 4:10, 11 says: Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. Love is an important and profitable attribute of a Christian, but it is God’s love and not our own that saves us and keeps us saved.”

Can I get an Amen!


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

Eternal Relevance

As a seminary professor and publisher, I am committed to the idea that Theology must never be half-hearted or hesitant. The simple reason is that the nature of the subject and the consequences of its study concern nothing less than the Glory of God and the eternal destiny of people.

This being the case, seminary should not be a sanctuary of comfort but a crucible for confronting ideas. The same is true for the publishing of books. The title of Richard Weaver’s 1944 landmark book says it all, “Ideas Have Consequences.” Ideas expressed in words are powerful tools. The fulcrum of a clearly expressed idea can leverage people to action and to change.

Our desire at Grace Theology Press (GTP) is to provide ideas that can lead to change.

Our commitment is to education, not indoctrination. We believe thinking is a good thing and that people should critically consider concepts that might run counter to their thinking. Remember, as James Russell Lowell said, “Only fools and dead people never change their opinion. Fools won’t and the dead can’t.” And wishing to be neither, we must demand the time to think and develop the habit of thought. A good book expressing clear ideas can do just that.

Our goal at GTP is that we heed the advice of Sir Lancelot Andrews who said, “I do not wish to preach what men wish to hear, but what one day they will have wished they would have heard.”

For those who cry out that in today’s book-world we must bow to the pressure of the people and accommodate the desire to be relevant, I say speak and write about things that are eternal and you will always be relevant.

Coming Soon!


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

Position and Condition

After the magisterial exegetical commentary by Dr. Harold Hohner on the Book of Ephesians, most thought that it was the last word on all things Ephesian. But although it is the best technical exegetical commentary on the book of Ephesians, let me give you a sneak preview of Dr. Dave Anderson’s commentary, soon to be made available through Grace Theology Press. It provides not only exegetical details and argumentation but also a smooth exposition that will benefit both pastor and student, and lead them to an in-depth understanding and appreciation of Ephesians.

“ Through my years of teaching both in church and at a seminary level, I have seen more confusion on the difference between our Position in Christ and our Condition on earth than any other doctrine. Without thinking in categories and keeping these categories distinct, both the Bible and the Christian life wind up like tangled underbrush. It is incredibly important that we understand Luther’s famous statement: simul iustus et peccator(simultaneously justified and a sinner). This paradoxical statement makes sense when we realize he is making a statement about both our Position and our Condition. In our Position in Christ in heavenly places (Eph 1:3ff), we are completely justified before God—declared righteous. And nothing in our Condition on earth can change our Position in heaven. But even though we are completely “ accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6) in heaven with His perfect righteousness credited to our account, our Condition on earth can be quite riddled with sin. The contrast between our Position and our Condition can become depressing . . . if we keep focusing on our miserable Condition. But when we learn to focus on our Position in Christ with all of its attendant circumstances, our Condition will actually improve. Why? Because “ as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7). We become what we think about. As we think about (dwell) on who we are in Christ (our Position), our Condition will slowly but surely conform to our Position. The first three chapters of Ephesians is about our Position in Christ; the last three are about our Condition on earth. But the two are not disconnected. In the last three chapters we are called to walk (our Condition) worthy of our calling (our Position)—Ephesians 4:1. The last three chapters begin with “ therefore.” In other words, based on all Paul has just taught them about their current Position in heaven, a certain type of behavior (Condition) should ensue. This order (Position before Condition) is crucial. It’s when we think our Position is dependent on our Condition that the fog sets in. Nothing in our Condition can affect/change our Position. This works in two ways: 1) No matter how good an unbeliever is (Condition), it will not open the gates of heaven for him (Position); 2) No matter how bad a believer might be (Condition), it will not close the gates of heaven for him. Can you handle that statement? If not, there is much to learn about God’s grace and His ways of dealing with mankind. To learn more, read on.”

I hope you want to read on. I believe you will find it a very helpful resource for anyone who wishes to study, understand and apply this most significant book of the bible.

Coming Soon!


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

Forewarned is Forearmed

I have been called many things in my life but the most treasured description given to me was to be called a “White Crusty Corpuscle.” I’m not sure what the “crusty” referred to but as for the White Corpuscle, it is a badge of honor. White blood cells are “the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.”

In ministry and especially in theological publication, it is always important to be on the lookout for theological ideas and books that expound those ideas that are significantly disturbing and  clearly dangerous. Let me make you aware of such a book—Salvation by Allegiance Alone, by Matthew W. Bates, published by Baker Academic press, March 2017. This book is very new and crystal clear as to the author’s theological viewpoint regarding grace.

Dr. Bates recently received his PhD from the University of Notre Dame and teaches at Quincy University, a Catholic school of the Franciscan order. Dr. Bates is a protestant in his faith tradition, having been raised in a King-James-only church.

The thesis of the book is that both the Protestant Reformation and Catholic traditions, to a lesser degree, have not got it right regarding the meaning and method of salvation and faith or justification and assurance.

Dr. Bates believes that Faith should not be defined as belief or trust but as allegiance. Total, continual, obedient actions, embodied activity and enacted fidelity and loyalty are not optional but essential and required as a part of the definition of faith, which is why allegiance-faithfulness is a more preferred term. In fact, Dr. Bates states that this is a more accurate translation of the term based on the use during the first century in Romans (pg. 78-80). Thus, commitment seen in obedience and confessional loyalty are essential as an ongoing part of saving allegiance.

As a result, there is no presumptive assurance of salvation until the end. The one who has allegiance to Jesus must persevere to the end and with God’s help, they will. But if they do not, then they never had the gift of eternal life. He states, “No member of the body of the Christ can be unwillingly fired or forced out by external pressures, but if a person were to entirely cease giving allegiance to the Lord (and the Lord’s people) then she or he would be denied the benefit secured through Jesus’ contract” (pg. 173). In fact, the final judgment is rendered at the end and is based to some degree on the works that one has done in this life (Rom 2). He states “it is necessary for an individual to persevere in pistis throughout the course of her or his lifetime in order to attain final salvation (pg. 191).

In fact he states, “ …in other words initial declared allegiance (pistis) to Jesus the king causes a union with the king and his body, and the maintenance of this union is in embodiment of allegiance and a lived obedience that includes good deeds with in its purview. So there is not a simple cause-and-effect relationship between faith and works, rather, pistis is quite simply not pistis at all if it is not embodied and embedded in the allegiant community” (pg.121).

It is his view that a gospel that asks a person to believe that Jesus died for his sin and that He will give him eternal life is very deficient. “A better gospel presentation will not give total assurance of the security of final salvation on the basis of the acceptance of the gospel invitation. It may be pastorally pleasant to say ‘if you prayed this prayer with me and you sincerely asked Jesus into your heart then you can have complete confidence that you are now eternally saved and on the road to heaven’. This sort of comfort is precisely what the audience loves to hear making it tempting to give it but unfortunately it is a false assurance. To suggest otherwise is dangerous.” (pg. 203)

This is a “Bold Provocative Book” says one endorsement. It is a book that runs Calvinism out to its logical conclusions and shows that it did not disentangle itself enough from the dangers of Rome. The author interacts with TULIP, N.T. Wright and the New Pauline Perspective and the high and low points of the theology of the Council of Trent. In terms of the content of the gospel, you will need a large piece of paper to list what is the content of what one is to have allegiance to. It involves corporate election and the enthronement of the cosmic King and His mission to rule the world and the universe.

This book is the latest articulation of Lordship Salvation unleashed upon the church. If you are a Seminary or Bible college teacher, you must read this book. If you are a pastor, you should read this book. I say this for the simple reason that this is a dangerous book for if it is believed, it will cause confusion to your students or parishioners.

 

In case you wonder how we who hold to Free Grace come off in the book, there are two references to Zane Hodges, one to Charles Stanley and one to Robert Wilkin in footnotes. The other reference is to those who are part of “the so called free grace movement” (pg. 25) and “free-gracers” (pg. 26). Let’s just say we do not come off sounding reputable. Of course, what really matters is not if we are reputable in the mind of man but if we are right in the sight of God!


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

Are You a Verbivore?

“Lexophile” clearly comes from the Greek and is a word used to describe those that have a “love for words,” such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish” or “to write with a broken pencil is pointless.” Each year a competition to see who can come up with the best “lexophiles” provides creativity if not comic results. Here is a selection of submissions:

  • When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.
  • A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
  • When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
  • The batteries were given out free of charge.
  • A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
  • A will is a dead giveaway.
  • With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
  • When you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.
  • Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
  • Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
  • A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.
  • When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
  • The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
  • He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
  • When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she’d dye.
  • Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.
  • Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

Words can be fun, and they are often flexible. But when we are dealing with theology, words are not usually amusing; they must be accurate. They must not entertain at the expense of being exact. In writing biblical and theological studies, we must be precise and accurate. This is also true in our theory of textual transmission and translation, which allows the Word to retain the power for transformation.

Interpretation in biblical matters is focused upon discovering and determining meaning. Many look for the meaning of the Bible in what they feel or how they respond to the words of scripture. For others, meaning is in the document itself. But full meaning can only be detected as we seek the authorial intent of the Bible expressed in the text. Hence, we are looking for the meaning in the coded message (the text) from the encoder of the message (the author) as we read the author’s words and apply the laws of language and the laws of structure to the genre utilized to communicate. Hence, we focus on the container of transmission which communicates the content of the text.

It seems that many churches have forgotten “Hermeneutics 101.” Many sermons and many books have allowed the desire to be relevant to replace the need to be accurate. We must be both culturally relevant and biblically accurate. However, many, in their use of narrative theology, replace exegetical theology as the basis of biblical theology. And when biblical theology is supplemented with historical theology, it produces a fully orbed systematic theology.

At Grace Theology Press (GTP), we strive to produce books and products that provide words, based on and built upon The Word. Whether it is in our biblical commentary literature or our theological studies or in our thematic and topical books, each and every book is to be in submission to the infallible and inspired word of God. And it is His Words that cause us to be Lexophiles!


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
A View for the New Year , Grace Theology Press

A View for the New Year

Happy New Year! This is the time we start again, make plans, set goals, and see every day as a new day and a new chance to excel. We often start off the year with a sense of optimism in hopes that this year, the world will be a better place and that peace might reign. This year you might have the additional hope that a new political administration might just make the big difference.

However, we must have a perspective that is larger than any regional or national perception. It is essential that we understand the rules of engagement and the enemy we face.  If we are to have a day, a year, or a life of victory it is essential, not optional, that we understand the world we live in.  The Apostle Paul exhorted all believers, “Do not be conformed to this world.”  Being “conformed” is to be molded to a way of life or a system or a scheme. In fact the Greek term for “conformed” is from the word that we get “schematic.”  The “present age” is the term that he uses instead of the better-known term “cosmos”—world. Both terms convey to us the reality of a system of thought, a mindset, and a motive that lies behind it. What is the mindset and motive of this present age and time period? It is not at all what the world desires us to think. It spends billions of dollars trying to convince us or deceive us from viewing the actual truth and to provide a counterfeit—a lie!  That is why we are exhorted not to love this world. (I John 2:15) The present age is a counterfeit and a lie to what God desires for it is under the rulership of the great father of lies, the deceiver, the angel of light—Lucifer!

Allow me to clarify or perhaps to reframe your perspective. We must first understand that everything is wrong. It is all backwards. Today we live under the times of the gentiles. The gentile nations rule the planet, create societies that are under the authority of Satan, the god of this world, and are typically hostile to Israel. (II Cor 4:4, Luke 4:4-6) In this present age, fallen man lives under a sin-cursed world. (Gen 3, Rom 8) We are ruled by Satan from a heavenly sphere. (Ezk 28:14, Dan. 10:13-20)  As John the Apostle explains it: The whole world lies in the lap of the evil one. (I John 5:19) And the struggles in the world are actually a struggle against the forces of the prince of the power of the air. (Eph 6:11-12) Peter reminds us that this is not to be a surprise to us (I Peter 4:12) for it is actually the devil himself that seeks to devour us, but we can have the victory through our faith. (I Peter 5:8-9)

One’s theological system built from sound exegesis is meant to provide hope for the future. Mt preterits friends tell me that we are living in the kingdom right now. My classic reformed friends, building off of Oscar Cullman and George Eldon Ladd, tell me that the kingdom is already (here) but not yet (here). (I have always struggled with that form of logic.) My Progressive Covenantalist tell me that all is covered under the New Covenant and typology fills in “the rest.”  My progressive dispensational friends tell me that the kingdom has been inaugurated but not culminated. And some of my older dispensational friends tell me that this is the mystery form of the kingdom that is called the church.

The fact is the devil rules, the world is cursed, all of creation groans, and mankind is condemned.  And here we are ready to start a new year. But take heart. There is coming a new day when Jesus will rule from heaven through Jerusalem in Israel over the earth. The angelic host will glorify the true King of the earth and all of the cosmos and they will serve glorified man who will rule and reign with Christ over the redeemed nations of the earth. The curse will be lifted, the Christ will reign, the church will co-rule and rejoice and worship the King.  Every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and give praise to the Lamb of God.

But what are we to do today until that day? Make disciples, do all to the glory of God, and live with holy conduct as we wait with a heavenly outlook.

He is coming again!


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

The Gift

‘Tis the season for many sights and sounds and many traditions; some are sacred others are secular. One of the most important tradition that bridges both the secular and the sacred is the giving of gifts. For Christians, the gift at Christmas was the gift of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The irony of that first Christmas is that in a place where you least expect to find what you need (a stable) you find everything you need (a Savior). But as we go back 700 years before the first Christmas, we encounter one of the greatest of prophetic scriptures found in Isaiah 9. The depiction of the Promised One is described in a theological quadruplet of attributes, if we follow the protestant list of four, as opposed to Catholic quintuplet of Handel’s Messiah.

My former pastor and friend, Dr. Gary Inrig, gives four picturesque descriptions of the qualities of that little baby born in the stable.

“Wonderful Counselor” who understands the complexities of life. Jesus is not a detached analyst. In Him is all wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3). Israel had many bad counselors (Isa. 47:13) but this baby was filled with the Spirit of wisdom (Isa. 11:1-3). Jesus has profound insight and can be our compassionate and committed companion as we navigate the difficulties of this life.

“Mighty God” who deals with the circumstances of life. This baby is none other than very God of very God. He is filled with all the fullness of God (Col. 2) The author of Hebrews declares, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3). John makes it crystal clear as he declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God (Jn. 1:1-2).

Isaiah has declared that this baby, this coming king, is not only both profound and powerful but also personal and perpetual.

“Eternal Father” who can deal with the changes of life. Jesus is the “father of eternity or father of years” perhaps coming from Ugaritic loan words. This is not to say that Jesus is the Father, but that Jesus has a paternal and eternal interest in His people. It has to do with His character and His love. “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103: 13) He is the one who will never leave us. (Heb. 13:5; Deut. 31:6)

“Prince of Peace” who can transform our brokenness and make us complete. Jesus is the prince that can bring prosperity, protection, and peace. Shalom—peace is not simply a lack of war but a presence of wholeness, completeness, and unity. This is not the kingdom of God and we do not have world peace. But we can experience the peace of God and peace with God because of the Prince of Peace who died that we may live.

That little baby was no ordinary little baby. Jesus came through the Crib and left by the Cross and will come again to be Crowned and Consummate His Kingdom.

“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
(Heb. 13:20-21)

All glory be unto Him!


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay, www.gracetheology.org

Being and Building the Body

After the magisterial exegetical commentary by Dr. Harold Hohner on the Book of Ephesians, most thought that it was the last word on all things Ephesian. But although it is the best technical exegetical commentary on the book of Ephesians, let me give you a sneak preview of Dr. Dave Anderson’s commentary, soon to be made available through Grace Theology Press. It provides not only exegetical details and argumentation but also a smooth exposition that will benefit both pastor and student, and lead them to an in-depth understanding and appreciation of Ephesians.

“GOD’S POETRY”
Ephesians 2:1-10

“When I was growing up, my father tried to train me in a variety of things. He was an engineer, a scientist, a builder, a ham radio operator, a pilot, a wine maker, and on it went. One thing he tried to train me in was investing. He traded commodities and stocks. So he had me open my own paper account to get a feel for trading when I was fourteen. He also had me read a book called The Art of Contrary Thinking1. The idea was to do the opposite of the crowd. Since ninety percent of the people who trade lose money, the crowd is usually wrong. Find out what they are doing and do the opposite. If they are buying, sell; if they are selling, buy.

In a way, Christ was a master of contrarian thinking: the first will be last; the last will be first. What appears to be a terrible trial is a blessing. What you can see is temporary, and what you can’t see is permanent. Your happiest moments on earth may come when you are persecuted for your faith.

Jill Brisco, wife of Stuart Brisco,2 shared a story about a couple in Britain that went childless year after year. The husband was a factory worker, and he was working among socialists and communists that did not believe in God. He told them he believed God would give him and his wife a child and that he had been praying for a child for over ten years. His fellow workers would just laugh at him and from time to time mock him by asking, “Got your child yet? Wife pregnant?”

Well, finally this man’s wife became pregnant. He was overjoyed and shared this joy with his fellow workers. But the child was born with Down’s syndrome. As this man was going to work, he was praying, “God, give me wisdom. Give me wisdom as to how to share this news to honor your name.” So when everyone at work found out about it, they said, “Oh, so that’s your God. So this is the child that your God gave you. Some kind of God.” He thought for a moment and opened his mouth and said, “I’m just so glad God gave this child to me instead of you.” He knew the art of contrarian thinking. He realized that what appeared to be a difficulty was a great opportunity.

Paul had a thorn in the flesh. He prayed three times that it be removed. God said, “My grace is sufficient for your need. What is a thorn in your life is going to turn into an open public display of my grace.” And that is the thesis of what I am trying to teach in this lesson: The Art of Contrary Thinking. That situation in your life, that disease in your life, that thorn in your flesh, that boss that just won’t leave, that husband or wife that is so difficult for you—these are gifts of God’s grace in your life. It is part of the very purpose for which He created you.

It’s been said that there is no greater pressure than a great potential. It could also be said that there is no greater loss than a wasted potential. Although that point could be argued, we will probably agree that there is much sadness in a wasted potential. Of course, potential is tied to purpose. We must know our purpose before we can discover our potential. This presumes that we were created by design for a specific purpose. And that is what God is trying to get across to the Ephesians. They were created and saved for a purpose, and until they discover that purpose, they will never become a Purpose Driven Church.”

I will let you know when the book is available.


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

1. Humphrey B. Neill, The Art of Contrary Thinking (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Press, 2003). ↩
2. An international Bible teacher, Brisco turned Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WS, into the largest church in Wisconsin as its senior pastor for thirty years. ↩

Uncovering God's Grace, Grace Theology Press, www.gracetheology.org

Uncovering God’s Grace

The confusion over the condition, confidence and consequences of salvation is by no means limited to this generation. “If By Any Means,” written in 1940 by R. E. Neighbour, (Re-Publ. Conley & Shoettle Co.) is a beautiful theological tapestry that champions the cause of a free grace gospel and challenges the Christian community to a faithful life of service in this world that will be rewardable in the world to come.

The author begins by clarifying that it is by grace through faith alone that appropriates the gift of eternal life. He then weaves a beautiful theological mosaic of the security of the believer and the subtle satanic strategy to undermine that security.

The remainder of the book deals with biblical teaching concerning rewards to faithful Christians given by Christ. There is an enlightening discussion of the meaning of the “out resurrection” found in Philippians 3:7-12.  In his treatment of the passage, Neighbour surfaces the theological options and unveils his interpretation that sees the “out resurrection” as being a “special” resurrection given to those believers who remain faithful to Christ.  The argumentation and style is not technically exegetical in nature, but his examination of the text is cogent and complete, followed by a theological synthesis of his argument.

The section concerning the judgment seat of Christ is a beautiful expose of the theology of the “Bema” seat.  The author intertwines biblical theology with personal poetry. This practical and emotional response is only natural in light of the sobriety of the nature of the pedagogy.

The final section deals with Hebrews 3-4, concerning “the Rest of God.”  This section is a condensation of the author’s commentary on Hebrews, “If They Fall Away.”  The author feels that the rest under discussion is not the rest of “salvation,” nor the “faith walk” of the believer, but the rest of reward in the millennium. At risk is the loss of the believer’s reward by the King-Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Although Dr. Neighbour does not hold to a partial rapture theory as does G. H. Lang and Robert Govett, his strong and forceful language concerning “missing the rest” could lead the reader to that conclusion.

R. E. Neighbour’s desire was “to clear away the debris that has all but covered the glories of God’s grace, and place service and rewards in their scriptural position.” This delightful work has accomplished both with theological consistency and pastoral compassion.

This would be a good read over the Christmas holiday season.


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