04 Oct The hyper-grace movement
Within the body of Christ there has long been a controversy brewing, which has become far more prevalent in recent years. The controversy concerns the issue of grace. While the subject is too large to address here briefly, I will simply skip a rock over the surface of the issue by saying that as is typical within the Church, when there is an imbalance in doctrine or practice, our tendancy is to over-react and embrace what I call “reactionary theology”.
Reactionary theology is what happens when we form our theology or beliefs primarily as a reaction to a particular view or belief. So while the message of “The Grace Movement” does indeed benefit those who are bound by self-righteousness, legalism, or condemnation, because it has largely formed as reaction against what is sees as fundamentalist, legalist, or overly-harsh “religion”, it is also infected with some outright brazen and clearly unbiblical errors.
Beyond this, “The Grace Movement” is essentially the natural result of realized eschatology. Even as the prosperity preachers will take the promises of the age to come concerning blessings and and claim these promises 100% now, or even as the faith preachers will take all of the promises of the age to come concerning healing and claim them 100% fully now, so also do the grace preachers take the full deliverance from sin that we will receive at the resurrection at the Day of the Lord, and claim we possess it all 100% now. But if you pray for someone with a broken foot and the foot is not healed, yet they confess that it is presently healed, they are simply living in denial and unreality. Of course, if that person holds firm in their faith, then their future healing is 100% guaranteed. And yes, it may be healed in this age and we should contend for healing in this age, but it is not 100% guaranteed until the resurrection. So also is it with sin. If someone confesses they no longer sin or wrestle with sin, they are living in denial and unreality. Rather than expressing genuinely biblical faith or hope, this form of Christianity is actually a pop-spirituality, a form of metaphysical magic with a Christian veneer. Biblical hope looks forward to the blessed hope, the Day of the Lord, the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead. In that day, we will no longer wrestle with sickness, finances, suffering, or sin, but until then, the fight must continue. Until then, being confident in God’s love for us and His grace to us, we are not to tire or grow weary in taking up our cross, dying to self daily, putting to death the old man, renewing our minds, confessing our sins, repenting, and fighting for righteousness.
Dr. Michael Brown has written a very brief response to the hyper-grace teachings here.
And here Dr. Brown preached a message on the issue of hyper-grace.
CaseyPosted at 20:36h, 04 October
The counterfeit to grace is tolerance.
David RobertsPosted at 01:37h, 05 October
Personally I believe there will be a greater and greater separation in the Church between the wheat and the tares, with some getting deeper and deeper into the word, holiness, and back to the Jewish faith of the Apostles, while others losing their saltiness till they are not useful for anything but being thrown into the fire.
O.A. FishPosted at 03:10h, 05 October
I agree with all the scriptures you use as examples, but it requires Grace to accomplish righteous living. Romans 5:17 rv “…those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
gilesPosted at 06:23h, 05 October
funny how you should post this, I was just having a discussion with some friends about grace, about losing your salvation. they say its impossible, and that those who do were never actually saved in the first place. All the verses that talk about fear, like 1 Peter 1, Hebrews 4, etc – fear does not actually mean fear, and you need to study Hebrew or greek to understand those verses fully. I’ve had conversations with people who think that you can have an affair, and without repenting, will still get into heaven ‘by the skin of your teeth’, and others who say that Jesus appears to everyone after death to give them a real understanding of who he really is , and another chance to escape judgement.
BJ and AlisaPosted at 15:29h, 05 October
Grace is unmerited favor, who qualifies for this? Nobody. It was made available to us through Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul tells us the purpose of the law was to prove to us that we needed the Grace of God. No one is able to repent without the Grace of God. The wages of sin is death, so someone has to pay for your sin. It is either you or Christ Himself. When you repent you have the assurance that your sins are taken care of by Jesus Christ. When we confess our sins He is Faithful & Just to forgive us always.
JoelPosted at 15:36h, 05 October
BJ and Alisa,
Grace is indeed unmerited favor. There are many however who claim that once we become believers, to repent is to express unbelief. They claim a believer should never repent again. Once is enough. This is simply unbiblical, out of step with the practices of the Church from day one and is deeply dangerous. Repentance is the keystone of transformation.
good4uPosted at 18:39h, 05 October
Indeed, Joel! I sin “daily” either by thought, word or deed and must ask the LORD for forgiveness and repent from it with the constant help of the Holy Spirit. If you live with another person in your household, just ask them if you ever do or say anything wrong! Ha! The answer is, of course!
But there is a difference between, (imo) what I call “experiential” sin and the “unforgivable” sin of which the Holy Spirit testifies to within the world regarding the Son of God. One is forgiven when confessed and cleansed and the other, if never confessed and repented from, will not be cleansed.
PeterPosted at 21:35h, 05 October
Thank God for your common sense on this matter. 1 John 1:6-10 and Romans 7:13-25 make it absolutely clear that the sinful nature continues to exist in the lives of believers, and that the only remedy God has made available to us are His Spirit and the Blood of Jesus that cleanses us–in an ongoing manner–from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
CaseyPosted at 23:46h, 05 October
Something I read awhile back indicated that the grace of God in Hebrews was reflected in God’s mercy.
CaseyPosted at 00:00h, 06 October
I am inclined to believe after much studying on Romans 6-7 indicates that believers have a carnal nature but not necessarily a sin nature. There is an aspect of the old flesh to be affected by the things of the world system but desires should indeed change internally eagerly desiring the redemption of our bodies and the fullness of His kingdom. Gnostics tended to believe that the physical side of man was bad.
BJ and AlisaPosted at 02:15h, 06 October
Paul in Romans is explaining to us that we are a 3 part being: spirit, soul & body. Our spirit is the only part that is born again which is our promise from God that we will obtain the rest of our salvation. Our soul is our mind, will & emotions which needs to be renewed by regular study of the Word of God. Our body has to be put under subjection (strong discipline – self control) so that it will NOT cause us to sin. The fact that anyone has the struggle against sin inside themselves is a good indicator that they are saved. To an unsaved person there is no struggle to go along with their flesh, no war inside themselves. Paul cried ‘who is going to delivery me from this body of death’ he had a war inside himself just like us. In Chapter 8 Paul tells us that ‘there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Chris Jesus’. Because we have the Holy Spirit living in us to prompt us to repent when we miss it, we then begin to walk down the path of transformation that Joel is telling us about.
CaseyPosted at 03:33h, 06 October
Thanks for posting Michael Brown’s article. I read his book Our Hands are Stained with Blood a couple of years ago addressing the history of the development of anti-semitism among the history of the Gentile assemblies of the Body of Christ.
BJ and AlisaPosted at 14:23h, 06 October
Good Morning Joel,
Somehow we missed Dr. Brown’s article yesterday, but we did take the time to read it this morning. We had not heard of this false doctrine.
Romans 16:17-19 I urge you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Jesus Christ but their own appetites. By smooth talk & flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
We thank you for bringing this to our attention, we will be on guard.
JoelPosted at 21:41h, 06 October
BJ and Alisa,
Personally I wouldn’t apply that verse to those who are involved in even some of the extreme expressions in this movement. I think it is more about discerning the errors concerning doctrine here, rather than casting the teachers in a negative personal light. I think most who teach this are well intentioned.
CaseyPosted at 06:02h, 07 October
But aren’t some issues of trangressions systemic ( externally provoked). I am not really addressing a mere reaction of an individual with this comment but rather more like that of abuse toward another person. Some matters are indeed are externally provoking and abusing. The physical will still hurt and feel. Renewing of the mind seeks to know God’s purpose in pain and grief.
Peter HartgerinkPosted at 16:09h, 07 October
Thanks Joel. I appreciate your linking this issue to realized eschatology.
As I’m sure you are aware, Mike Bickle has also addressed this issue and sought to bring Biblical balance.
jon kPosted at 01:42h, 14 October
BJ and Alisa,
I think you are mistaken about what Paul is saying in Romans.
Read Genesis 2:7. The spirit of God, combined with the dust of the Earth to become a living soul.
Man is not made of three parts, only two. One of which is the spirit of God that will return to him at our deaths.(Ecclesiastes 12:7)
Derwin and FayePosted at 14:13h, 14 October
We have recently heard Dr. Brown speak clearly on this subject. Some years ago we read the book “Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his explanation of “Cheap Grace” versus “Costly Grace” is very appropriate to this discussion, and very clearly stated. Thank you for your good summary of this issue in this post.
BJ and AlisaPosted at 11:41h, 16 October
Thank you for your comments
In Genesis it does say God breathed life into the man and he became a living creature. However, because of the fall of man our spirits became dead (separated from God). The only way our spirits can be reconciled to God is through the rebirth. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says therefore,if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. Your spirit will not return to God unless it is born again. Without the rebirth your spirit will spend eternity separated from God.
Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hope this helps.
SJPosted at 15:38h, 24 October
I do believe the grace movement or “free-grace theology” is spreading and running wildly in today’s church – it is full of deceit. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. I do believe we live free in this life because sin no longer has power over us (Romans 6). Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! We live better lives when we live according to the Bible and our finances, healings, etc. can manifest in today’s time – but never giving up hope to our eternal salvation in Christ Jesus.
Jeremy KroutzPosted at 11:30h, 12 February
I have been having this discussion with a Grace movement preacher…he accused me of being sin paranoid, law loving and an enemy of Grace, he was really getting personal lol I was like “huh?”…one of the main objections is “you taking scripture out of context”…1 John 1:8-10 is extremely straight forward, that is Apostle John speaking to the church, why would he address the CHURCH on sin? Doesnt Grace make sin null and void? ofcourse it does, if we faithfully submit to it…we still have the corrupt flesh on us, Paul address the Galatian church in chapter 5, from verse 19 about the consequences of subjecting to your flesh, why would he teach this to BELIEVERS who are under Grace?…exactly, he breaks it down further in Romans 6 & 7…John Piper also breaks it down nicely as well in this old sermon (http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-war-within-flesh-vs-spirit). So, its not that we are under sin, we died to it, but its still out there and we need to be alert by submitting to the law of the Spirit (Romans 8:2)
Grace & Peace.
Durban, South Africa
BJ and AlisaPosted at 20:15h, 12 August
When you posted this article six months ago I had not heard of this hyper-grace movement. I will admit, I didn’t think their would be many Christians that believed in this. I can clearly see now that I was wrong, to my surprise I know someone who teaches this. Thank you Joel for posting this article, without it I would not have been prepared.
snowyPosted at 23:52h, 29 October
Hyper-Grace movement is a sham. Our God is orderly. Everyone running around doing whatever they want, especially sinning, creates a disorderly and chaotic society. It certainly does not create a foundation for the furthering of education & civilization — in fact, the opposite. This is satan’s desire. Lack of repentance, only saying you are sorry for the other insulted person’s feelings on what is done, prevents developing real, loving, caring and deep relationships. Satan wants us alone. Satanism embraces the ideology of “… do what thou wilt.” What type of person would embrace going around sinning? I think we know who. They do not worship the God of our Holy Bible. The only remedy is to recognize this and face it for what it is. Hyper-Grace Church? Don’t call it Christian. Do have them all go worship away from Christian Churches, to their hyper-grace Church. It will certainly fall apart, soon enough. Pray for them.