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 Post subject: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:28 pm 
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It's morality completely divorced from Salvation. Is this true?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:37 pm 
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1) "Protestantism" is a term that is so broad as to be meaningless.
2) I don't see the connection. Can you explain?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:29 pm 
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It's just odd that there is a theology that completely separates discipleship from salvation. I guess I'm just a bit shocked that a faith-alone argument goes this far so as to say following Christ is completely separate from Believing in him.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:48 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
It's just odd that there is a theology that completely separates discipleship from salvation. I guess I'm just a bit shocked that a faith-alone argument goes this far so as to say following Christ is completely separate from Believing in him.
Who says this? Be concrete. Provide sources. And stop using 'protestantism,' as it has become meaningless. If we want to use the historical meaning, only a small part of the Lutheran tradition were ever 'protestants,' as they protested Holy Roman Emporar Charles V's enforcement of the Edict of Worms. In this sense, no Lutheran outside 'Germany'* was a protestant.

But now the word seems to mean anyone who is Christian but who isn't Eastern Orthodox or in communion with Rome. Which means it meaning almost nothing.

* It is a bit misleading to say 'Germany,' as there was no single country called Germany at the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:32 pm 
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By Protestantism, I mean Christianity that is not Catholic nor Schismatically Orthodox. I guess I'm saying that the furthest one can go from the Church while not being pluralistic is a Free Grace Theology type of Christianity.

Quote:
From faithalone.org....

What is Free Grace Theology...


....First Essential: Faith Alone

Everlasting life is a free gift (which the Lord Jesus fully paid for by His death on the cross for our sins) which is received by faith alone in Christ alone, apart from works of any kind.
Not faith plus works. That is the Arminian position.
Not faith that works. That is what many in the Reformed or 5-Point Calvinist camp say.
Both believe that perseverance in good works is required to make it to heaven. Arminians say if a believer fails to persevere
in good works, then he loses eternal life and he goes to hell. Many (but not all) Calvinists say if a believer fails to persevere in good works, then he proves he wasn’t a “true believer” in the first place and he goes to hell.
There isn’t any practical difference in these views. They both end in doubt.
Arminians can never be sure of their salvation. Neither can Calvinists. Even though Calvinists say you can’t lose eternal life, since failure to persevere proves one didn’t have “true faith” in the first place, to the lapsed Calvinist it will seem that they had then lost their salvation.
The Free Grace position has as its first characteristic that simply by believing in Jesus a person has eternal life. It advocates for faith alone, in Christ alone, nothing added, and no strings attached.
Faith in Christ is intellectual assent. Stripped of its pejorative connotation, “intellectual assent” is a good definition of what faith is.
For example, do you believe that George Washington was the first President of the United States? If you do, then you know what faith is from a Biblical perspective.
There is no commitment, no decision of the will, no turning from sins, and no works that are part of faith in Christ. If you are convinced or persuaded that what He promised is true, then you believe in Him. Faith is passive. It is simply taking Jesus at His word.

Thus turning from sins, commitment, obedience, and perseverance are not faith and thus aren’t conditions of eternal life.
Those are all types of works. Works have their proper place in the Christian life, but only after you have believed in Jesus. The Free Grace position is very clear that turning from sins is not a synonym for faith nor a condition of eternal life. Note
that well.
(Some in the Free Grace camp believe that repentance is a condition of everlasting life, but they define repentance as a
change of mind about Christ, not turning from sins. In essence that view sees repentance as a synonym for faith.)
Perseverance in faith and good works is not a condition of eternal life. Most people say that only those who persevere in faith and good works will make it into the kingdom. That is not the Free Grace position.
It is possible to believe in Christ and yet sin. Indeed, all Christians sin daily (Rom 3:23; 1 John 1:8, 10). The Scriptures show that failure, even major failure, is possible in the Christian life. First Corinthians 3:3 shows that if you look at the works of some believers, you can’t distinguish them from the works of unbelievers. First Corinthians 5:1-5 shows that the works of some believers are actually worse than the works of unbelievers. Luke 19:20-26, Jas 5:19-20, and 2 Tim 2:11-13 show that some believers do not persevere.
The point is, perseverance is not guaranteed. Commitment and obedience and perseverance are all necessary to please God and to have fullness of life, but they are not conditions of everlasting life. Belief in Jesus is the sole condition.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:13 pm 
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That approach is indeed wrong and leads to what's known as "antinomianism" (opposed to moral law). But as you can see from the writeup, not all Protestants agree with it. I would venture to say that the majority of Protestants, even those who would say that they hold to faith alone, would not accept it because they have a framework for interpreting it that prevents that particular error from occurring.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:17 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
By Protestantism, I mean Christianity that is not Catholic nor Schismatically Orthodox.
Which is exactly why it is now a completely useless term. Just stop using it. As a Lutheran, I am closer to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology (and practice) than to Pentacostalism and Baptism, to name two. In fact, Baptism (or rather its predecessor, Anabaptism) are outright condemned in the Lutheran confessions.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:25 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
That approach is indeed wrong and leads to what's known as "antinomianism" (opposed to moral law). But as you can see from the writeup, not all Protestants agree with it. I would venture to say that the majority of Protestants, even those who would say that they hold to faith alone, would not accept it because they have a framework for interpreting it that prevents that particular error from occurring.

Free grace theology is not antinomian, and I would appreciate it if someone of your stature would not spread such misinformation.


Last edited by theJack on Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:27 pm 
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And to the OP, granting that the term "Protestant" is meaningless and just taking what I take to be your intended meaning, the fact remains that free grace theology is not the logical end of a faith-alone driven theology. You have to have several other assumptions before free grace theology becomes the logical end.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:03 pm 
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Protestant is meaningless in the sense of saying there is a "protestant" view. I was making the assumption that a Faith-alone line of reasoning would end up, with its constant reductionism, to that of something akin to free grace theology. Those other assumptions that are necessary are somewhere in that line of Faith-alone reasoning, don't know what they are or how they work, but I assume they're there.


Does free grace theology believe that Faith is a gift?

EDIT: Perhaps I should have asked if Faith-Alone Protestantism ends with Free Grace Theology. That more correctly asks my question, I think.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:43 pm 
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I will alter it to "can be antinomian," which is what I should have said.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:47 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
By Protestantism, I mean Christianity that is not Catholic nor Schismatically Orthodox.

What would you say about these guys: http://www.churchoftheeastindia.org/


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:15 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I will alter it to "can be antinomian," which is what I should have said.

I can accept that, but I don't know that it has any force behind it.

Tell me something (you or anyone) . . . how could Catholicism be antinomian if applied incorrectly?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:18 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
Protestant is meaningless in the sense of saying there is a "protestant" view. I was making the assumption that a Faith-alone line of reasoning would end up, with its constant reductionism, to that of something akin to free grace theology. Those other assumptions that are necessary are somewhere in that line of Faith-alone reasoning, don't know what they are or how they work, but I assume they're there.

The assumptions are more about hermeneutics than theology. Go read Roy Zuck's Basic Bible Interpretation.

Quote:
Does free grace theology believe that Faith is a gift?

Some do, some don't.

Quote:
EDIT: Perhaps I should have asked if Faith-Alone Protestantism ends with Free Grace Theology. That more correctly asks my question, I think.

"Faith-alone protestantism" isn't any better. And even if it were, it would still not be true that it ends in free grace theology. Lots of evangelical theologies claim "faith alone" and hold very different ideas than free grace advocates do. Look up "Lordship Salvation," which a great many faith-alone proclaiming evangelicals adhere to.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:20 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I will alter it to "can be antinomian," which is what I should have said.

I can accept that, but I don't know that it has any force behind it.

Tell me something (you or anyone) . . . how could Catholicism be antinomian if applied incorrectly?

Catholicism is much more likely to be Pelagian if applied incorrectly. And I have had discussions on this board with a free-gracer who was overtly antinomian, even if she didn't know the word for it, based on free-grace principles, so I am not talking on mere prejudice nor in a vacuum.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:51 pm 
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Sure, I've met antinomian free gracers as well. I didn't say that it couldn't be applied that way. But I think we both understand very well that you can't judge a position based on its abuses. And I can see how Catholicism might fall into Pelagianism if incorrectly applied. My thought, with reference to antinomianism, was related to the possibility of abusing confession.

Anyway, I asked because I have Rom 6:1 in the back of my mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:07 am 
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TheJack wrote:
"Faith-alone protestantism" isn't any better. And even if it were, it would still not be true that it ends in free grace theology. Lots of evangelical theologies claim "faith alone" and hold very different ideas than free grace advocates do. Look up "Lordship Salvation," which a great many faith-alone proclaiming evangelicals adhere to.


I asked if Free Grace theology is the end result of Faith-alone protestantism since it seems the be system where salvation is most assuredly, assured ( :D ) and has as little to do with any type of works what so ever. Whether these works stem from grace, right faith, or whatever...they are not necessary for Salvation. Right faith may or may not lead to perseverance, nor does it matter for our salvation.

I have been reading about Lordship Salvation and this whole conflict that seemed to be pushed to forefront by John MacArthur, who in the mind of free gracers, is preaching heresy, no? Is that not the point of the post linked in your signature? Catholics and rabid faith alone/ grace alone anti Catholics both committing a heresy in line with the Galatians.

I've never felt so close to Calvinists before as I did reading the ways in which Free Gracers view them.

The way you read the bible IS your theology. I don't buy that it's just a different, more sufficient, or more correct type of hermeneutic. Your hermeneutic is your theology. You can argue that your theology stems from your hermeneutic, but this is just word games.

Also free gracers have a very unique take on the outer darkness and what it actually means to wail and gnash teeth. Somehow we'll feel remorse or anger upon reaching heaven if we did not overcome? But it'll only last a short while?

Any reading of the bible that leaves the gift of faith and the need for repentance open to interpretation is very suspect in my current view. These two things have been the basis for followers of Christ since Christ.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:28 am 
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Nathan M. wrote:
I asked if Free Grace theology is the end result of Faith-alone protestantism since it seems the be system where salvation is most assuredly, assured ( :D ) and has as little to do with any type of works what so ever. Whether these works stem from grace, right faith, or whatever...they are not necessary for Salvation. Right faith may or may not lead to perseverance, nor does it matter for our salvation.

My point is that it is not "the end result of faith-alone protestantism" . . . whatever that means. If something is the "end result" then it is the inescapable conclusion of the consistent application of certain principles. But "faith alone" can land you in several places, of which free grace theology is only one of them. You need other commitments to entail--or for the end to be--free grace theology.

Quote:
I have been reading about Lordship Salvation and this whole conflict that seemed to be pushed to forefront by John MacArthur, who in the mind of free gracers, is preaching heresy, no? Is that not the point of the post linked in your signature? Catholics and rabid faith alone/ grace alone anti Catholics both committing a heresy in line with the Galatians.

It started long before MacArthur, but he's been one of the most recent to popularize the debate. Yet he insists he believes in "faith alone." And that should go to demonstrate my point.

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I've never felt so close to Calvinists before as I did reading the ways in which Free Gracers view them.

The way you read the bible IS your theology. I don't buy that it's just a different, more sufficient, or more correct type of hermeneutic. Your hermeneutic is your theology. You can argue that your theology stems from your hermeneutic, but this is just word games.

I'm going to resist the urge to be sarcastic here and simply tell you that I disagree. My theology really is the result of my hermeneutic and not vice versa. I have over a decade of rigorously applying my hermeneutic and changing my theology in light of it to demonstrate that. I can give you names of people you will never know who are more and less prominent in the free grace movement who report identical experiences. In any case, I recommend to you, again, either Zuck's Basic Bible Interpretation, Ryrie's Dispensationalism, or maybe best of all Walvoord's The Millennial Kingdom to make clear the connection between hermeneutics and theology. The bottom line is that theology should never inform hermeneutics. The order must always be this:

Metaphysics -> Epistemology -> Linguistics -> Hermeneutics -> Exegesis -> Exegetical Theology -> Systematic Theology

We must never permit any of the later stages to determine the former. For an applied example of that, I recommend to you Hermeneutical Implications of the New Testament’s Use of Three Messianic Psalms, which is a paper I wrote a couple of years ago.

Quote:
Also free gracers have a very unique take on the outer darkness and what it actually means to wail and gnash teeth. Somehow we'll feel remorse or anger upon reaching heaven if we did not overcome? But it'll only last a short while?

Some do. Not all. The Grace Evangelical Society, led by Bob Wilkin (who I know personally) and formerly Zane Hodges (who I had the pleasure of meeting on more than one occasion before his death), is a very important player in the Free Grace movement. They are not, however, the only players. Again, I won't bore you with names you've never heard of and never will. Suffice it to say that free grace theology is no more monolithic than any other form of Protestantism. So while the "outer darkness" as a form of loss of rewards is a very popular theme in free grace literature, it is by no means universally accepted.

Quote:
Any reading of the bible that leaves the gift of faith and the need for repentance open to interpretation is very suspect in my current view. These two things have been the basis for followers of Christ since Christ.

And if that's your theology, and if your theology comes before the text, then that's okay with me. I've no quarrel with you other than methodology. No hard feelings. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:56 am 
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Hmm, I guess this is where I shut up and do some homework. Though I'm hoping some more informed people might be able to offer some helpful input, especially to the ordered relationship of theology and hermeneutics.

As you may have mentioned before, this whole thing is simply going to come down to authority. If it does, isn't this a grave issue for Protestants who view scripture as the final teaching authority? I think you're knowledgeable enough to destroy other Protestants who claim the bible is their only authority. In a sense, Catholics don't nessecarily have a Dog in this fight as our final authority is the Church. With those who use scripture as their final authority, you're saying that most of them are wrong, and you can prove it.

And a quick question that I hope doesn't derail the thread, but are free gracers generally cessationists or continuationists?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:48 am 
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Free gracers tend to be cessationists. I am a free gracer (of a different flavor than GES) who is not a cessationist.

But, yes, the issue boils down to authority. I've argued extensively about that elsewhere on these boards. There are certainly quite a few simplistic people who claim that the Bible is their sole authority. For me, and I think if they were educated enough about their own tradition and beliefs, they would see that, necessarily, while the final authority is God, there is absolutely no way around the fact that God's will must be interpreted by the individual. That is true whether you are a Catholic or a free gracer. Whether you think the will of God is transmitted by the Church through a magisterium, by private revelation (as some Charismatics believe), or that it comes only through the sixty-six books of the "Protestant Bible," the fact remains that in any and all cases the divine will must be understood, interpreted by, and given assent to by the individual. Therefore, the individual's reason is, as far as I can see, the final authority. Yes, the well-informed individual will take seriously things like tradition and the opinions of educated people. But after all is said and done, we cannot do anything other than reason for ourselves. Even the claim, "You must submit to the Bible/Church/Whatever-Authority-You-Like" is a claim of reason. For the following minor premise is always, "And the Bible/Church/Whatever-Authority-You-Like says so and so," from which the reasoner concludes, "Therefore I must believe so and so."

But this is, again, why I said that hermeneutics, and not theology, is the important thing. And that, not theology, is the difference in the Catholic Church and free gracers. You have a different hermeneutic, not a different authority. Or put differently, your hermeneutic places different emphasis on different authority. But the free grace hermeneutic basically says to read the text for what it says and affirm what it says (within its context, of course, and taking all the figures of human language into account) . . . no more and no less. If the text says it, it is to be believed. For the Catholic Church, it matters less what the text says, since the text of Scripture is nothing more or less than a particular deposit of faith. It is not the whole deposit of faith. What matters is what the Church teaches. And still, you have to interpret what the Church teaches. Now, I happen to think it is a rather easy thing to interpret what the Church teaches. Sure, there are silly liberal, Cafeteria Catholics who deny that and come up with ridiculous claims. But we all see them for what they are.

And guess what? The same is true for Scripture. So what free gracers claim is that when Catholics (or Reformed Theologians or Arminians or whatever) come to Scripture, it is not actually Scripture that is driving their theology; rather, it is their theology that comes first and informs their interpretation of Scripture. As such, Scripture merely illustrates your theology. It neither undergirds it nor proves it. And that is simply a hermeneutical point.

I became free grace when I grasped and truly took seriously the claim that I am to take what the Scripture says very seriously. Prior to that, I was a near-Reformed MacArthurite. I was a cessationist. I was a traditional Southern Baptist with Calvinist leanings who literally wrote a book that included the words, "Faith in Christ is not enough for salvation." So what changed me? What changed my theology?

The text. Or more specifically, the way I started approaching the text, which is to say, my hermeneutics. Just so, your hermeneutics is driving YOUR theology. It's just that your hermeneutic gives primary place not to the interpretation of Scripture in itself as mine does, but rather to the content of Catholic doctrine, which you then take to Scripture. And that's fine. That's your hermeneutical method. It's just not ours.


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