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Counseling Carnal Christians (Part 1: The Predicament)

By Dr. Fred Chay

Among the many "hats" the local pastor wears, the counselor’s hat is one that must be donned with confidence, compassion and capability. The "ministry of counseling" is one that the pastor can ill afford to neglect. Most of his counseling is not clinical in nature, nor does it require a deep knowledge of pharmacology. At times there are cases that require a clinical expert and he must refer these sporadic cases to competent Christian psychologists, psychiatrists, or counseling centers.  These more serious issues should be “outsourced” to experts more trained in the areas of clinical help for these people.

For the most part, though, the pastor is faced daily with the problems that plague the progressing Christian. However, much of his strength, stamina, and schedule are monopolized by dealing with what the apostle Paul has labeled the "carnal Christian". How is the pastor to deal with believers who have not only stopped growing and have b…

Lines in the sand?

Over at Relevant Magazine, Craig Groeschel writes about different “lines in the sand” that represent various “stages” of faith in Christ.  Go read his article and then come back here for a discussion of the issue from a Free Grace perspective.  (the comments can be a bit snarky, so take my advice and don’t feed the trolls!)

First of all, let’s thank God for opportunities like this to discuss the most important issue in the world: “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) Rather than bemoan the fact that the writer makes judgments that we disagree with, let’s rejoice that this gives us an opportunity to discuss a significant issue and once again trumpet the free gift of God through faith alone in Christ alone.

The “lines in the sand” analogy is an interesting one.  In the analogy, the “third line” represents someone who has crossed into the territory that is fully committed to following Christ whatever the cost.  No matter the sacrifice, service to Christ out of love for Christ is the…

Being Right…While Being All Wrong

There is a right way to approach an issue, as well as a wrong way.  Particularly as theologians and those who espouse “Free Grace” theology, we must ever be mindful to keep the grace in the message of Free Grace.

Case in point:  I had lunch with a friend on Monday.  She is a very nice young lady whose background was from a liturgical, Protestant denomination.  She had a particular theological issue that she wanted to work through that, at least in my opinion, is not a pillar of evangelical Christian theology.  The issue was baptism, and very similar to the brouhaha caused by the disagreement between Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Wayne Grudem, John Piper, and Ligon Duncan in August 2007. (read all about it in posts here [great place to start] and here; click through their links for the details)

This came to the forefront because this young woman had a great angst about the issue.  This angst was not theological or doctrinal.  We talked our way through the theological issues pretty well, and d…

A Letter from the President - September 2010

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Dear FGA Members and Friends,


Some feel that “the grace issue” is only a phenomenon of the American church as a result of strong Dortian Calvinism. But the truth be known, it seems that even as far as Africa the church has been infected by what me might call, “pseudo grace theology,” or perhaps “neo legalism.” The African church might not be as sophisticated in their theological articulation, but the error that has plagued the church of Jesus Christ from it very inception continues to infect both the church in America and Africa alike.


One of our FGA members, Pastor John Correia, has just returned from Africa where he was teaching pastors about hermeneutics. While there, he had an interesting encounter regarding a works oriented salvation and the answer of grace theology. I would encourage you to read the article about his trip, Free Grace Theology in Africa.


Many of you have received a brochure for the 2010 FGA National Conference October 4-6 in Irving, TX. As I see it, this is going to…

The President's Letter October 2010

Dear FGA friends,
For those of you who were able to join us in Dallas for the FGA National Conference you know it was a great time of fellowshipping, listening and learning from one another, as well as worshiping the Lord together. Many people told me and others on the executive council that this was the best conference we have ever had. I think this is because of the tremendous slate of speakers we had this year.
 Dr. Dave Anderson taught from the book of Hebrews and lifted our souls to heaven to worship the Cosmic Christ. Dr. Jody Dillow explored the problematic sections of the Sermon on the Mount and its impact on rewards. Our special guest, Dr. Michael Eaton, reminded us of the historical and theological realities of the doctrine of the assurance of salvation. Dr. Larry Moyer and Dr. Charlie Bing challenged us all to do the work of an evangelist and “get the gospel out” both in our “Jerusalem” and to the “uttermost parts of the earth”.  Additionally the fifteen workshops that includ…

Proving Justification

I ran across a blog post from Lisa Robinson on Reclaiming the Mind today, and thought it was worth sharing.  This blog is “owned and operated” by Michael Patton of Credo House Ministries.  Dan Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary occasionally posts there as well, and Michael was his intern.  All that to say, the Reclaiming the Mind blog tends to be fairly Reformed in its soteriology.

Go read the post and I think you will find some interesting and (mostly) agreeable thoughts from Lisa.  The question she asks is, how can I know if someone is a Christian"?  She had some significant time after her “conversion” (I use the italics meaningfully, as she is on the fence when it occurred) when she ignored Christ and lived the lifestyle of an unbeliever.

I think it is worth reading and interacting with because it represents not a hard-line Lordship position, but rather a moderate position that questions, perhaps doubts, but allows for the fact that she may well have been truly regenerate …

President's Letter November 2010

Dear FGA,
I am haunted by the words of a life management guru, Steven Covey, “Anything less than a conscious decision for the important is an unconscious decision for the unimportant.”
We who have dedicated our lives to the ministry of serving our Lord Jesus and leading the church must at times stop and ask the hard questions:  Am I living by the clock or the compass? Have I lost my bearings? Am I operating by the tyranny of the urgent and hence missing the important?
There are many important issues in life. One of the most important ones for FGA is that we need to make sure we are intentionally discipling or mentoring young men and women in the faith and in grace theology.
As I saw at the FGA national conference last month, there are many of us who - shall we say - are showing our age. Fortunately there were some who were of a new generation, of a younger ilk. We must make sure we are spending time and training up younger pastors and lay leaders to make sure they are well versed in gra…

A Halloween Reminder…Be Gracious!

Halloween can be a time of the year when evangelical Christians really disagree with one another, and passionately so.  Some believe that Christians sin by participating in and Halloween-themed activities, while others believe that not participating in Halloween would be unthinkable for Jesus and therefore should be unthinkable for Christians.
Let’s please remember the covenant that we all hold to as members of the Free Grace Alliance:
In agreement with these affirmations, we covenant to work together graciously and enthusiastically to advance this Gospel of Grace, and to communicate with a positive and gracious tone toward all others, both inside and outside the Free Grace Alliance.Whichever position you espouse, remember that it is not a central position to the truly amazing offer of eternal life through faith alone in Christ alone that God has brought us.  Keep secondary issues secondary this Halloween, and whether you are discussing the issue with a fellow member of FGA or with a b…

President's Letter October 2010

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Free Indeed

Over at A Biblical Framework, John Correia posted an everyday reminder of the truth of the free offer of eternal life in Christ. Check it out!

Grace Modeled...and Abused.

Social Media news...we're catching up technologically!

Put your grace-oriented blog on the FGA blogroll!

Hello everyone!

We have recently added a widget to the Free Grace Alliance blog that allows us to list other grace-oriented blogs; you can see them on the right toolbar of this post!  This allows us all to read what each other write and keep abreast of what is going on in the Free Grace Alliance in general.  So if you have a blog that you'd like to put on the blogroll, please comment on this post and we will consider your blog!  Please make sure your email is added in your comment, and also make sure to add a link to your blog.

Some guidelines for blogs that will be accepted:
Naturally, the message of the blog must adhere to the FGA covenant.  We want blogs oriented to the grace message found in Scripture!While we know that grace-oriented bloggers may write on any number of topics (and who doesn't want to hear about Free Grace cooking, or Free Grace decor?), the blogroll will be populated with blogs of a theological and/or pastoral nature.Part of the FGA covenant is maintaining…

Letter from the President September 2010

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Dear FGA Members and Friends,

Some feel that “the grace issue” is only a phenomenon of the American church as a result of strong Dortian Calvinism. But the truth be known, it seems that even as far as Africa the church has been infected by what me might call, “pseudo grace theology,” or perhaps “neo legalism.” The African church might not be as sophisticated in their theological articulation, but the error that has plagued the church of Jesus Christ from it very inception continues to infect both the church in America and Africa alike.

One of our FGA members, Pastor John Correia, has just returned from Africa where he was teaching pastors about hermeneutics. While there, he had an interesting encounter regarding a works oriented salvation and the answer of grace theology. I would encourage you to read the article about his trip, Free Grace Theology in Africa.

Many of you have received a brochure for the 2010 FGA National Conference October 4-6 in Irving, TX. As I see it, this is going…

Letter from the President - August 2010

Dear Friends of FGA,


The great British statesman Benjamin Disraeli declared "The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example." We of the Free Grace Alliance have been privileged to know some of the heroes of grace and as such we have inherited a great example. But our culture, both secular and sacred, is experiencing a massive change of both chronos and kairos. Therefore, the seminal question that must be asked and answered is: “How are we transferring both the passion and knowledge of Free Grace theology to the next generation?”


Having been a pastor and a professor during the past 35 years, I know that truth is both caught and taught. I also know that time is tough to control in the ministry. The urgent often wins over the important. But we must never simply live by the clock at the expense of the compass. So the “compass question” for all of us is this:  How are we doing in our intentional discipling of the next generation of young l…