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Showing posts from 2011

The Purpose of the Christ

This past Sunday FGA Executive Council Member John Correia preached at the church he pastors from John 3:1-21 about the message of eternal life.  The title of this message is “The Purpose of the Christ.”   The link may be found on the WestGreenway.com site , or via their iTunes feed .   Let’s all remember the reason for the season is more than just the birth of Jesus, but the purpose of God sending His Son into the world, that He might die for us, that by faith alone in Christ alone we might have eternal life.   If you’re interested in John’s translation of the passage and exegetical notes, email him at pastorjohn at westgreenway dot com and he is happy to email them to you.   Merry Christmas!

Antinomianism and Free Grace Theology

By Dr. Roger Fankhauser, FGA Executive Council member and the pastor of Burleson Bible Church in Burleson, Texas.  Dr. Fankhauser can be reached at rsfankhauser at bellsouth dot net.   Antinomianism.   A fancy word meaning “lawless”.   Many who don’t get the free grace message accuse us of practicing and teaching antinomianism. They think – wrongly – that the free grace message is light on sin and light on obedience. The author of a recent best-selling book describes the message that he alleges some present this way: “We have been told all that is required is a one-time decision, maybe even mere intellectual assent to Jesus, but after that we need not worry about his commands, his standards, or his glory. We have a ticket to heaven, and we can live however we want on earth. Our sin will be tolerated along the way….” Another well-known author put it this way: “What is no-Lordship theology (the author’s name for free grace theology) but the teaching that those who died to sin can

December 2011 President's Letter

Greetings,                                                                                                                                               As John Walvoord, former Dallas Seminary president, used to say, “When you celebrate Thanksgiving you know that Christmas is not far off.” Well, Christmas is right around the corner. It is more than the holiday season or a winter break. It is Christmas , and aren’t we glad it is so! Many churches and most Christians will read, hear or see the Christmas story spoken or acted out this season reminding them of the incarnation. God has always sought to communicate to the world. The book of Hebrews tells us that God has spoken to the fathers through the prophets in many ways but in these last days He has spoken to us “in Son”. (Hebrews 1)   God is the communicating creator to His people. He has used the informational approach through the prophets as well as the impositional approach through the Law. He has also used the inspirational approa

What is Eternal Life? (By Dan Lash)

Dan is the Pastor of Weston Street Bible Church in Rome City, Indiana.  He may be reached at dan_lash at hotmail dot com.   We who believe in security are sometimes so motivated to find verses that support our belief that, in the process, we fail to comprehend what the Scriptures teach concerning the concept of eternal life. When we take every occurrence of the phrase “eternal life” to be a reference to eternity in heaven, with an emphasis on duration of that existence, we fail to comprehend the full meaning of this phrase in the Scriptures. In the majority of occurrences, the emphasis of the phrase “eternal life” is not the granting of a positive eternal destiny. Rather, it is the addition of the capacity for communion with God.   Let’s first understand the truth behind this life which is eternal in its duration.   The Lord Jesus, in John 17:3, gives us the following definition of eternal life:   "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and

President's Letter -November 2011

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                                                                                                                      November 1, 2011   Greetings, Let me tell you that the FGA 2011 National Conference last month in Phoenix, Arizona was a tremendous success as we honored the Lord. The presentations, including the plenary and the many wonderful workshops, went very well. We heard many inspiring messages on the topic of grace theology as it intersects living the Christian life. Many appreciated Dr. Mike Stallard as he cleared the air of the charge that we who believe in grace do not take sin seriously. Dr. Mike Cocoris also clarified the need for obedience and living a life of consecration. Dr. Dave Anderson, Dr. Paul Benware, and Pastor Bob Kerrey each did a fine job expositing the scriptures and providing principles by which to live and love. There were many ministry and educational booths to see and books to buy. Many commented on enjoying the ability to see old friends and spen

Progress of Revelation?

By Dr. Roger Fankhauser, FGA Executive Council member and the pastor of Burleson Bible Church in Burleson, Texas.  Dr. Fankhauser can be reached at rsfankhauser at bellsouth dot net.   A great puzzle pops up when we think about John’s purpose statement: “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31). The puzzle is, what about the cross and resurrection?   My disclaimer: I am not trying to tackle the so-called “cross-less gospel” (I don’t like the label, but it identifies the problem). I simply want to point out five ideas that, to me, connect the death and resurrection with the many passages in John prior to John 19 that say “whosoever believes” and don’t mention the resurrection!   1. The death and resurrection are not “signs” that Jesus performed

Reading is Dangerous! (a review of Love Wins)

By Dr. Roger Fankhauser, FGA Executive Council member and the pastor of Burleson Bible Church in Burleson, Texas.  Dr. Fankhauser can be reached at rsfankhauser at bellsouth dot net. With a title like this, I know I will evoke a range of responses. The English teachers I had the privilege to work with at Evangel Christian Academy have now labeled me a heretic. However, many of my former students at the same school are crying out, “Amen!” People who know me know I love to read, and know a punch line should be coming soon. And here it is: reading is dangerous if we are not careful about what we read and how we read. In the realm of reading books about God or the Bible, we need to ask, “Is that what the Bible really says?” Without asking that question, we may end up swayed by a work that misrepresents God’s Word and His plans.   Case in point: Love Wins , by Rob Bell. The book purports to be “about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” I don’t normally publicize

FGA 2011 National Conference: Day 1

Our 2011 Free Grace Alliance national conference is underway!  I will try to post some thoughts on each day and what we are hearing from our speakers. The first day was phenomenal. First, our praise band led us in spirited worship of God, and then Dr. Fred Chay gave us a great update on the status of the Free Grace movement and the FGA in particular.  If you’ve heard Fred before, you know that he always speaks with his signature dry wit, and his speech before our convention was no exception.  He spoke in John 3:16 and the many “isms” that it refutes. After a short break, Dr. Mike Stallard took the podium and spoke on the seriousness of sin in Free Grace theology from James 4.  It was, to say the least, a passionate and moving reminder to all of us that God takes sin seriously and calls all believers to live a life of personal holiness.  It was moving, convicting, and at the same time encouraging! The first workshop session was cause for concern.  It wasn’t a concern because of th

Yay for Grammar!

I just saw this post from Bill Mounce on Koinonia, and thought it was a helpful analysis: http://www.koinoniablog.net/2011/10/antecedents-and-faith-eph-28-9-monday-with-mounce-113.html It's short and to the point. Salvation is all by grace, through faith, and that salvation is a great gift from God.

The Scandal of Grace, by Jim McNeely

This post is written by Jim McNeely. He can be reached at jim@thereforenow.com .  His site, http://thereforenow.com is a great resource for Free Grace thinkers.   It has fallen to me recently to teach a group of youth at our church, so I have seized the opportunity to walk them through the book of Romans. I told them that it would change their life forever, but that it was going to be difficult, it was going to have times that it would be dull, and that I didn't think that most of them were up to it. They got excited!   What is amazing is that these are young teenagers who have very little theological training or understanding, in fact it is a bit embarrassing that they are so uninformed about the Bible and basic theology. However, just as in every circle, as we have begun to see the message of grace unfold, there are two distinct camps. There are some who love the message of grace, and some who are scandalized by it. In fact I have never seen a works salvation position so n

From the President -September 2011

Greetings in the Grace of God,      The fall brings a new season for ministry. Many of us serve as pastors, elders, missionaries, counselors or directors of diverse ministries. Each new season provides us with new opportunities to live and proclaim the Grace of God. In my role as a seminary professor I have the privilege of teaching a new group of students. One of the joys I have is to pray for discernment as I search for those students who are open to understand the free grace message manifested in the Bible and help them see the theological implications and personal applications.      As I begin my 18 th year as a seminary professor I have the delight of looking back to see many students who have embraced the message of Free Grace and who have gone on to be faithful pastors and teachers of the matchless grace of God. As I watch these men becoming so capable and faithful in their ministry for the Lord, it is truly motivational for me and enable

Don’t Church It Up!

Grace-Filled Evangelism in Preaching and Teaching   It has been said by many that Christianity is always one generation from extinction. [1] Thus the gospel of faith alone in Christ alone must go out clearly and succinctly to fulfill the task of evangelism that God has called us to as His ambassadors. [2] We must also be diligently mindful of what the Apostle Paul proclaims with vigor:   “ I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! ” [3] We must pay special attention to the presentation of the gospel message lest we fall under the

A Change of Mind about Repentance: Do you Dare?

By Dr. Fred Lybrand   Repentance has been a sticky issue and has been around as a major conversation piece since the Reformation. I know, because ‘my view’ (which I found out I share with Dr. Elliot Johnson of Dallas Theological Seminary) has been labeled an error by those involved in the Marrow of Divinity Controversy way back in the 1600s! Of course, no need to get excited, every view on the planet and throughout history is an error to someone or some group.   So, the issue of concern here --- is repentance necessary to get saved (as in from-hell-to-heaven)? If it is necessary, then is it a part of saving faith? These are the essential questions. There are many views, often being represented as repentance meaning the necessary turning from all known sin (and interest in future sin, usually) to ‘believe’ in Christ. In this regard, some purveyors of salvation make repentance as much of a part of faith as they do works (see http://www.backtofaith.com ).   I have a bit of an uncom

Education or Indoctrination?

I am getting to that time in my semester at school where my students are nearing turning in research papers.  They just wrote a test for me which needs to be graded, but looking at it reminded me of the real difference between education and indoctrination. Indoctrination: 1 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach 2 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle   Education: (technically educating but education is defined as “the art of educating”) 1 a : to provide schooling for <chose to educate their children at home> b : to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession 2 a : to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically especially by instruction b : to provide with information : inform < educating themselves about changes in the industry> 3 : to persuade or condition to feel, believe, or act in a desired way < educate the public t

President's Letter - April 2011

Greetings; In the world of theology and ministry there seems to always be something going on, and it is imperative that we be aware so that we can beware of such goings on. All of us are theologians of one stripe or another. Some of us are paid to think and teach theology and others are not. But it is imperative that we all have and hold a biblical theology. It is essential that our theology be clear, coherent, consistent, comprehensive and complete. However, on this side of heaven it also means that there is the need for balance, living with some tensions and being willing to know that some things we cannot know or at least not know completely.   As Calvin said, “ We must as go as far as Scripture and no farther ”. The latest challenge to the evangelical world comes from the hand of Pastor Rob Bell and his book “Love Wins”.   Many having read the book feel that Bell is articulating a view that could be called Universalism, in which hell will one day be empty. This is not simply an

Rob Bell and the Deadly Trend in the Free Grace Movement

Br Dr. Fred Lybrand Let's have a discussion. So, Rob Bell writes a book called "Love Wins" and it is basically all about heaven and hell with a final conclusion that Love wins out; God's love will ultimately persuade everyone to embrace Him and His heaven.  It sounds like universalism, but Bell and others are also denying it.  You can call it what you want, but if everyone gets in, then salvation is clearly 'universal' (hence the name). Of course this is unabashedly anti-scriptural (nice interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Vg-qgmJ7nzA ), but what is behind his conclusion?  Cynically we could speak in terms of fame and fortune as motivating Bell to depart from the historic / biblical Christian faith.  I, however, think there is a far more simple way to think about it theologically.  Bell has just imposed a hierarchy on the attributes of God.  The net result is that Bell has taken grace (he says love, but a loving

Lordship Salvation, Free Grace, and Pascal’s Wager

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Have you ever thought of preaching the message of God’s grace in terms of the probabilities and consequences that you’re right? Most of us are at least passingly familiar with Pascal’s Wager , a logical premise by which it was sought to say that the only reasonable course was to worship God because it had no negative consequences and only possible positive consequences.  While there are certainly deficiencies in the argument, it nevertheless has some merits. I was having a discussion with a student earlier this semester where this idea came floating into my mind.  My student had a friend who said, in effect, that if Reformed theology (i.e. Lordship salvation) leads people to be scared or lack assurance, then hey at least they are saved.  This got me thinking about the relative merits and dangers of preaching Free Grace versus preaching Lordship salvation.  This is not to debate the relative merits of the positions, but merely to look at the relative risks and dangers of each. Thi

President's Letter - March 2011

                                                                                                                                           March, 2011 Dear FGA members and friends, One of the most strategic philosophies of the Free Grace movement over the years has been the tactic of focusing and grounding the issue of grace theology on a proper exegesis of individual passages in the Bible. We are all too aware of the danger of grounding our views in the man-made systems of theology. For even the best of them, although attempting to be coherent, consistent and comprehensive, at times fail due to allegiances formed by a prior commitment to a system that has as its foundation  a system of theology that is less than biblically based. This being the case, it is imperative that we make sure that we not only continue this foundation, but that we also make sure the next generation is able to not only engage in proper theological reflection and articulation, but even more so that they are able

The wrong program

by Ryan Lambros   “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1   I upgrade my PC from Vista to Windows 7 about a month ago. I love the change. However, recently I had a serious problem. My lovely computer would freeze up on me right after starting it up. After running numerous diagnostic tests, of which I had no clue what they mean since I’m not a computer nerd, it showed I had a hard drive error. Darn it. So, I searched Google to see if anyone else had this problem and if there was fix. After sifting through tons of people basically telling me that my hard drive was a “goner” because my hard drive had been fried by a virus, I found a different perspective: the wonderful cause of the defective hard drive was directly associated with an antivirus software I was using! After simply uninstalling the antivirus software, my computer worked flawlessly. The reason was that the antivirus software was not designed to

A Branch is a Branch…

By Dr. Fred Lybrand Okay, So I'm in the shower (weird how we think there) and I'm going over John MacArthur's view of John 15 about abiding (in my mind). I listened to MacArthur at a pace of 6 tapes a week for two years in my early days after coming to faith. He described the branches that were 'thrown in the fire' as false branches (Judas Branches). Lest you think I'm making this up, I tracked it down: There were the true branches and there were the false branches in the analogy. The true branches are represented by the eleven and the false branches are represented by Judas Iscariot. That whole thing flows out of the context of Judas' betrayal. And at that point, the "In Me" simply means "identification." I don't think you can push too much theology into that "in Me" and say that it means absolute conversion. It's attachment at that point, that's all. And I think you have a Judas branch, and I think what it'