Friday, July 21, 2006

Do you have a problem?
Copyright by Phillip L. Simpson

The meaning of the John's first epistle has been fairly uniformly understood throughout the centuries. However, this epistle presents a problem for the "free grace" theologian. The problem is this:

John appears to be stating plainly throughout the book that there are tests which reveal whether one is a child of God or not. Some of these tests include:

  • Whether we love the brothers (2:10, 3:10, 3:14, 4:7),
  • Walk in the light (1:7),
  • Keep His commandments (2:3-4),
  • Walk in the same way in which he walked (2:6),
  • Continue on in fellowship with other believers (2:19),
  • Confess the Son (2:23),
  • Practice righteousness (2:29; 3:10),
  • Confess that Jesus has come in the flesh (4:2),
  • Listen to the apostolic teaching (4:6),
  • Receive the Spirit (4:13),
  • Confess that Jesus is the Son of God (4:15),
  • Believe that Jesus is the Christ (5:1),
  • Overcome the world (5:4).

Notice how some of these tests are doctrinal, and others are behavioral.

Remember that the tests given by John are both behavioral and doctrinal. While "free grace" teachers insist the behavioral tests are indicators of our fellowship status with God (rather than tests of possession of eternal life), what about the doctrinal tests? Does John give these to determine our fellowship status? Is believing that Jesus has come in the flesh (1 John 4:2) only a sign of a mature Christian who is in fellowship with God? Can a believer deny this truth and still be a believer--albeit "out of fellowship"? No; rather, John was refuting Gnostic heresy in 1 John; therefore, a doctrinal affirmation was critical if his readers were to know if they believed in Christ savingly or not.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Free Grace Theology vs. The Bible

The Boston Christian Bible Study Resources

"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raise up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." 2Corinthians 10:5
Many times the Bible warns Christians to not be deceived, indicating that it is possible for you as a Christian to be deceived. Let me give you examples of the kinds of things Christians may be deceived about:

1Cor 6:9,10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Ephesians 5:5,6 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

James 1:15,16 after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

1John 3:7,8 Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

These are all warnings against what has classically been labeled "Antinomian Theology", which today has evolved into what is called "Free Grace Theology".
Free Grace Theology is the idea:

That "Faith in Christ" means faith in Christ as Savior, but accepting Christ as Lord is optional.
related to which is also the misconception concerning Rev 3:20 - inviting Christ into your life.

That the faith that is acceptable to God for salvation is a non-application oriented mental assent to ideas.

That repentance is viewed simply a "change of mind" without necessarily any change of behavior

That there is not necessarily any correlation between a person's behavior and their salvation status

That the object of faith is one's own assurance of salvation, and thus one should never doubt or question whether they are saved or not.

And "Free Grace" theology sees a distinction between the New Testament expressions "entering the kingdom" (being saved) and "inheriting the kingdom" (reigning).

If these are the things you have been led to believed, then you have been deceived.

Please see this site...