Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Object of Our Faith


By Roger Fankhauser, DMin

I just recently read from a non-free-grace person that the Free Grace position only requires someone to believe in certain propositions about Jesus to receive eternal life. The writer is almost – but not quite – right. However, “not quite right” changes the argument from a valid criticism to a straw man argument. If the writer were correct, then the object of our faith would be limited to statements about Jesus or historical events about Jesus.

The object of our faith is Jesus. Jesus said it (“whosoever believes in me”, John 3:16); Paul said it (“that we might be justified by faith in Christ”, Gal. 2:16).

Almost all evangelicals say this. (I would say “all”, but as soon as I do, someone would point out an exception!) Free-Grace evangelicals; Reformed evangelicals consistently define the object of saving faith as Jesus. We might disagree about what one must know about this Jesus or about the impact that faith in Jesus “must” have on life, but, at the core, the object of our faith is Jesus.

So where does believing the veracity of certain propositions come in? Those propositions tell us about Jesus. They define who He is and what He has done. They point us to the person who is unknowable apart from “propositional truth”. I live two thousand years and half-a-world away from the historical Jesus. I cannot know with certainty who He is and what He has done apart from propositional truth. So it is true that I must believe certain proposition about Jesus, but ultimately justification comes by faith in the person of the one of whom the propositional truths speak.

Part of the FGA covenant says this:
·         The sole means of receiving the free gift of eternal life is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose substitutionary death on the cross fully satisfied the requirement for our justification.
·         Faith is a personal response, apart from our works, whereby we are persuaded that the finished work of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, has delivered us from condemnation and guaranteed our eternal life.
We receive eternal life by faith IN the Lord Jesus Christ. The rest of the statements are propositional truths about Jesus.
Don’t confuse the object of our faith – Jesus – with the truths about Jesus – propositional truth. Keep it clear in our teaching, preaching, and writing. It’s faith alone IN Christ alone!
P.S. – I did not, and will not, identify the non-Free Grace person. I will say that he is a well known theologian and he wrote the words in February of this year! Identifying him would distract from my main point.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Letter from the FGA President - February 1, 2013


 

Greetings to those, whose heart has been captured by the glorious grace of God,

It is so gratifying to receive letters and emails from Christians around the world thankful and pleased that the Free Grace Alliance boldly proclaims the glorious grace of God. It might be hard for many of us in the states to conceive of a world where you do not have access to sermons, books, or literature that articulate the clear grace of God and the simplicity of receiving the gift of eternal life. I have received emails and letters from a woman in England, a church planter in Africa , a missionary in Pakistan and a pastor in Finland, all grateful for the FGA standing strong and clear and providing resources concerning the grace of God. If you keep up on the FGA “Facebook” page you will also hear from many people about the importance of Grace Theology as they seek to investigate the nuances of a theology of Grace.

Webster defines grace as, "unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification."  It is not often that secular works describe or define theological concepts correctly, but in this case they have.  Except insofar as God does not "assist" us with either our salvation or sanctification for it is the grace of God in both areas of our life that allows us to grow from glory to glory.

One of the evidences of Free Grace Theology being an accurate system of theology is that it meets one of the seminal requirements for a good theological system; that is: The system that deals with the most data and allows for the fewest assumptions has the best explanatory power. Free Grace theology deals with the entire biblical account and deals with the problem passages without bringing theological assumptions into the text. Hence, its power to explain and exposit the text into an accurate theology is magnified. 

One of the ongoing ministries of the FGA is our conferences. I would encourage you to attend one of our Regional Conferences this year. (March 2nd in Phoenix, April 20th in Salem, May 18 in, Tampa, FL and June 22 in Charlotte, NC) Or, if you would like to sponsor and host an FGA Regional Conference in your area please contact me and we will see if we can help facilitate one near you. These conferences are a great way to enjoy some continuing education in issues of biblical theology and ministry philosophy, as well as enjoy a wonderful time of fellowship with some likeminded people.

Let me encourage you to get involved with the FGA. I invite you to visit and participate in our FGA Blog or our Facebook page. If you desire a Regional Conference let us know. Also, if you have a ministry that we could help share with others through our Ministry Highlights page email us some information.  

My friends, “You” are the Free Grace Alliance. Together we are here to live and learn of the matchless grace of God. As Lewis Sperry Chaffer said many years ago and is ever true,

“Pure grace is neither treating a person as he deserves, nor treating a person better than he deserves, but treating a person without the slightest regard to what he deserves.” 


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

Fred Chay, PhD
President, FGA