Arminian Today

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Hyper-Grace Focuses

What do hyper-grace blogs and preachers and ministries focus on?  I find it easy to identify what they both focus on and what they ignore.  So let’s begin by looking at what hyper-grace folks focus on (and not all of it is wrong I remind you).

1.  Salvation by Grace Through Faith.

It seems some hyper-grace teachers want to protect the teaching of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).  They honestly believe that adding repentance to this adds works to it and destroys salvation by grace through faith.

2.  Works Righteousness.

Hyper-grace teachers want us to avoid believing that our works obtain righteousness.  They are correct of course in this regard.  Our salvation is based on Jesus Christ and His work on the cross and not our works (Titus 3:5-7).  Jesus said that the work of God is to believe in the One that He has sent (John 6:29).  Our works, writes Isaiah in Isaiah 64:6, are but filthy garments in His holy presence.  This is not to demean works but to simply put down the notion of us obtaining God’s perfect righteousness by our works (Romans 4:5).

3.  Guilt Factors in Discipleship.

We do not serve God out of guilt.  We serve Him out of love.  Some hyper-grace teachers want us to realize that we can serve God out of love and not out of guilt.  We don’t pray, fast, read our Bibles, worship, enjoy fellowship with other disciples, etc. out of guilt but out of love.  This, like above, is a good point.

4.  Seeks To Avoid Making the Christian Life All About Us.

The Christian life, writes one hyper-grace teacher, is about Jesus.  Amen!  The Christian life is all about Jesus (Colossians 3:1-4).  Our lives are to be marked by a passion for Jesus and what He has done and not our works, our desires, our passions, our goals, etc.  We are to focus on Jesus completely.

Now let us turn to the many errors of the hyper-grace teachers and what they often leave out.

1.  Ignore Human Responsibility.

Like the hyper-Calvinists, hyper-grace teachers avoid the clear call in the Bible to our response to the gospel and to the Lordship of Christ.  True faith is never a dead faith (James 2:14-26).  True faith in Christ obeys Jesus as Lord (Matthew 7:21-27; Luke 6:46-49; 1 John 2:3-6).  Hyper-grace teachers avoid any call in the Bible to seek God, to obey God, to follow Christ, to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17).  I even found one hyper-grace teacher attacking preaching in the open air.  He mocked this and quoted from Isaiah 42:2 as proof that we should not preach in the open air.

2.  Ignore Holiness Passages.

There are so many holiness passages.  We are to be pure in heart (Matthew 5:8).  We are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).  We are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).  We are to complete holiness out of fear for God (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).  We are to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 12:21-13:5).  We are to be blameless (Philippians 2:15).  We are to pursue holiness (Hebrews 12:14) and to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  We are to forsake sin (1 John 3:4-10).  Hyper-grace teachers avoid holiness passages altogether.

3.  Ignore the Fact that We Cannot Worship God and Satan.

1 Corinthians 10:21 says that we cannot drink both the cup of Christ and the cup of demons as well.  In context (1 Corinthians 9:24-10:21), we cannot serve both God and Satan.  To serve Satan ends in death (James 1:12-15; 5:19-20).  We cannot both walk in the Spirit and in the flesh at the same time (Galatians 5:16-17).  We cannot both love Christ and hate Him at the same time.  We can, however, claim facts about Christ but not His (James 2:19).

4.  View Any Discipline as Legalism.

By discipline I mean the disciplines of prayer, worship, fasting, evangelism, Bible study.  If you say that a Christian should do these things, some hyper-grace teachers will cry, “legalism” and run for the hills.  While not of these disciplines save us, they are proofs of our salvation (Ephesians 2:10).  Jesus said we would pray (Matthew 6:5) and fast (Matthew 5:16).  Jesus said that we would do good works for His glory (Matthew 5:13-16; John 14:12).  Jesus said that His followers would remain in His Word (John 8:31-32) which is able to save our souls (James 1:21).  While we cannot obtain God’s righteousness by our disciplines, our disciplines flow from our justification.

5.  Ignore Sanctification.

I have yet to hear a hyper-grace teacher teach on 1 Thessalonians 4:3 and the need for sanctification.  Most hyper-grace teachers believe at the moment a person is saved (just once and only once is sufficient no matter how the person lives their lives), that person is now glorified in the eyes of God.  They see our glorification as already done so that progressive sanctification is completely ignored.  They see no need to stress holiness, obedience to Christ as Lord, etc. since a once saved person is forever saved and has already been glorified before God because of Christ.

6.  Despise Repentance.

Most hyper-grace teachers despise repentance.  They see it as a form of works-righteousness, of legalism, and bondage.  They see repentance as completely negative instead of seeing it as a positive (2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9).

7.  Read the Bible With Dispensational Scissors.  

Many hyper-grace teachers will usually camp in the Gospel of John (he is okay) and the Epistles (except not Hebrews or James) but they avoid the other three Gospels and view them as “under law.”  For instance, one hyper-grace teacher commented on his blog, “The gospel of John never uses repentance so why should we?”  The answer is of course because the Bible uses it.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that all Scripture is breathed out by God and Paul was referring to the Old Testament.  Further Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16, about the Old Testament mind you, that it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.  If this true of the Old Testament, it is true of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  To divide the Scriptures up like this has no warrant other than theological bias.

8.  Ignore the Book of Acts.

The book of Acts is full of salvation and repentance and even necessary perseverance (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 4:12; 11:18; 14:22-23; 16:30-34; 17:30-31; 26:20).  Hyper-grace teachers will sometimes use Acts 15 to preach against “legalism” as they see it or sometimes will appeal to Acts 16:31 for salvation but will ignore the calls to repentance.

9.  Provide Comfort For the Sinning.

The Bible offers no assurance to the person who lives in consistent sin.  None.  1 John 3:4-10 is clear:

4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

In fact, the same John the Beloved who wrote the Gospel of John also wrote this in 1 John 2:1-6:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

I remind you that the same John the Beloved also wrote in Revelation 21:7-8:

7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

I end by also quoting from the same John the Beloved and the words from our Lord in John 8:11:

She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/08/2013 at 10:06 AM

5 Responses

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  1. Another thing they manage to do is turn grace into law. IT seems to me that if all were grace it wouldn’t matter what we do, which many would say. But if you think repentance or good works are something you should do, they will immediately point out “you aren’t supposed to do that!” But, why, if nothing matters?

    An example from my experience was this. I spoke at a hyper-grace church once and wore a tie. Two people came up to me and said, “We’re not legalists, we know grace, so we don’t wear ties and you shouldn’t either.” Wait, what? This was not a joke, they were serious. Because they knew grace and weren’t legalists, I couldn’t wear a tie. How is forbidding the wearing of ties not legalism?!

    jeff

    07/08/2013 at 1:24 PM

    • I had a prominent hyper-grace teacher that I went to college with and he knew that I enjoyed going to pray with the international students early in the morning. He mocked our prayer time and then borrowed from a Keith Green song, “My life is a prayer. I don’t need to go and pray when God sees me in prayer always.”

      Their carnal thinking is incredible to behold.

      I am now encountering the latest fad among the hyper-grace teachers who now claim that Christians (and that is anyone who at some point said they believe in Jesus) are all sinless. They teach that since we died with Christ (Romans 6:1-4) then God does not see our sins but only Christ. We can “sin” all that we want since God does not now see our sins.

  2. By the way, your phrase about John not using repentance is almost a direct quote from Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology, Volume 3 page 376. ON the same page he also notes that Romans, “which is the complete analyses of all that enters into the whole plan of salvation by grace” does not use the word repentance, “Except once in 2:4.” This is doctrine by majority, only made possible with the invention of the concordance.

    The easy refutation of this is that Jesus said the second greatest commandment of the Law was to love your neighbor, which is only said ONE time in the entire law! The “just shall live by faith” quoted many times in the NT was only said once in the OT. On and on it goes. The bottom line is that we are not commanded to only listen to what God has said a lot, we’re to listen to every word that proceeds from his mouth.

    jeff

    07/08/2013 at 1:31 PM

  3. I would add a 10. to your list and say “Stress on the division of old and new nature.” The way I’ve heard it is that only your old nature sins and your old nature is dead to God so none of that really exists. Your new nature is all good all the time. This being the case, there is no way one could repent of sin. Your old nature who did it wouldn’t repent. Your new nature who didn’t do it is the only part that can talk to God and since the new didn’t sin it has nothing to repent of.

    The idea that God turns a blind eye to our sin is astounding, especially by those who continue to teach that God is “all-knowing.”

    jeff

    07/08/2013 at 1:37 PM


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