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.â€
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.
â€œOne of the greatest challenges facing any pastor who holds to â€˜graceâ€™ these days is this: How can I prevent the local church I pastor from quickly losing its theological clarity after I go?Â Sadly, many churches that were once strongly â€˜graceâ€™ 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.Â 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 Menâ€™s Grace Group, and inviting them to join. Out of some 25 men, I started with about ten.Â Weâ€™ve had some ups and downs over the last few years, but I now lead two Menâ€™s Grace Groups â€“ both meeting at a coffee shop early in the morning.Â Over the last four years, weâ€™ve read and discussed Swindollâ€™s Grace Awakening, Hodgesâ€™ The Hungry Inherit and The Gospel Under Siege, R.T. Kendallâ€™s When God Says â€œWell Done!,â€ Charlie Bingâ€™s Simply by Grace, Dave Andersonâ€™s Free Grace Soteriology and Bewitched, George Brysonâ€™s The Five Points of Calvinism, and more.
I recommend every grace pastor do this!Â There is no â€˜rightâ€™ or â€˜wrongâ€™ way â€“ Iâ€™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!Â The â€˜grace quotientâ€™ in your church will increase significantly, and if the Lord tarries and you retire, the next pastor will find a strong foundation of â€˜grace menâ€™ there!â€
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
Grace Theology Press