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Category Archives: Hyper-Grace

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EIGHT SIGNS OF HYPER-GRACE CHURCHES
By Joseph Mattera

The past several decades we have seen a dramatic decline in doctrinal and Biblical preaching. We have gone from theology to therapy in the pulpits. In the past decade we went from therapy to motivational speaking instead of preaching.

In addition to this, whole churches and movements have oriented themselves to a distorted understanding of the gospel by espousing a “hyper-grace” approach that trickles down to not only what they preach but who they allow to minister and teach. (I was told there is even a new television station devoted to this view of “grace.”) Continue reading “Signs of Hyper-Grace Churches” »

Open Letter to Tony Campolo
By Michael L. Brown, PhD

Dear Tony,
Dr. Tony CampoloIn the spirit of your public statement released yesterday, urging churches to welcome same-sex couples, I’m writing this open letter to you, appealing to you to reconsider your decision before you bring further reproach to the gospel and hurt those you want to help.

Like you, I’m a professor as well as a gospel preacher, and I have always appreciated your willingness to tackle controversial issues, not caring who you will offend, willing to rock the boat and unsettle Christians from their cozy and safe belief systems if you felt it was in the interest of truth and justice.

This time, however, you have offended the Lord, rejecting the clear testimony of His Word and – as could be expected, given your stance – not citing a single scripture in support of your new position.

I know that your wife Peggy has long been an out and proud advocate of same-sex “marriage” and that, for a number of years, you have believed that it is impossible for a person to change his or her sexual orientation. You have even explored the possibility of non-sexual, church-blessed, romantic same-sex relationships. Now, you have taken the inevitable next step in giving your full backing to practicing homosexual couples, calling on the church to support and embrace them.

May I ask, Tony, what it was that stopped you from embracing this position years ago? Was it not the clear and unambiguous testimony of the Bible?

Surely your emotions wanted you to embrace same-sex couples.

Surely your compassion wanted you to put your arms around a gay college student and tell him that following Jesus did not preclude him from having an intimate relationship with another man.

Yet you were held back by the teaching of Scripture, knowing that God’s Word emphatically states that God created men for women and women for men, that marriage, in its divinely intended form, was the lifelong union of a man and a woman, and that homosexual practice was strictly forbidden in all circumstances.

When did any of that change? When did the Bible suddenly become unclear on the subject? As a gay atheist wrote last month in the aftermath of Ireland’s vote to redefine marriage, “the conservative Catholic’s only proper response to news such as that from Dublin . . . is that 62 per cent in a referendum does not cause a sin in the eyes of God to cease to be a sin.”

What a terrible shame it is that a gay atheist has clearer moral boundaries and better biblical instincts than you, dear sir.

I believe you when you say you’ve heard all the biblical arguments on the subject and I don’t doubt that, “It has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to the place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church.”

And I recognize that it may be too late for any of us to reach you at this juncture in your life (are you really 80 already?). Still, I join my voice with others, in the spirit of James 5:19-20, and urge you to recognize that you are committing a grave sin against the Lord, against His church, and against your LGBT friends by espousing this new position. In fact, you are now complicit in the potential deception and destruction of both believers and unbelievers alike.

You say it was your reflection on the meaning of marriage that ultimately brought about your change of heart, but can you really pick up your Bible and tell the world that there is a single verse that supports the “marriage” of two men or two women? Are you really willing to preside at a wedding ceremony and say, “I now pronounce you husband and husband” (or, wife and wife)? And in your heart of hearts, do you honestly believe that God designed a man to be with a man (or vice versa) and that when a gay couple comes together in the act of sodomy, that their intimacy now sanctifies that forbidden practice?

Tony, when same-sex couples read the Word, what do they do with verses like, “Wives, submit to your husbands” and “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:24-25)? Which one is the husband and which the wife? What do you (and they) do with the fact that there is not one single positive reference to homosexuality in the Bible and, no matter how “inclusive” churches might be, gay couples must live with that reality (not to mention the reality that every reference to homosexual practice is condemned in the strongest of terms)?

You wrote, “When we sing the old invitation hymn, ‘Just As I Am’, I want us to mean it, and I want my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to know it is true for them too.”

But it is true for them, just like the rest of us: We come to Jesus in our brokenness and sin, and He transforms us by His grace, just like He transformed (rather than affirmed) the tax collectors and prostitutes of His day.

As for the possibility of change, I personally know former homosexuals who experienced true change in their sexual orientation (either by the power of the gospel, counseling, or both), while I know others who experienced no change in their orientation but who are committed, nonetheless, to follow the Lord, living blessed and joyful celibate lives, declaring to the world that Jesus is enough.

I absolutely join you in calling on the church to have a heart of compassion for those who identify as LGBT, and I join you in urging us to reach out to the marginalized and disenfranchised. May we all emulate our Savior in this regard.

But under no circumstances can I join you in your apostasy from God’s Word in terms of the meaning of marriage and the standards of sexual morality, and I pray that our Lord would have mercy on you (and Peggy) and grant you repentance.

With your typical candor, you stated that, “I am painfully aware that there are ways I could be wrong about” the position you are now espousing.

You are wrong, dear sir, and unless you were absolutely 100% sure of the scriptural truth of your position, you would have done far more good to keep silent than to speak. That would have been the least we could have asked for a leader of your stature.

As it is, however, you have a taught an important (and cautionary) lesson to many others: If you play too close to the edge, eventually you will fall in.

Should you wish to dialogue with me in private or in a public setting, my door remains wide open.###

Source: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/50039-an-open-letter-to-tony-campolo

[Editor’s note: Our beliefs and response to this clear case of apostasy by a prominent Evangelical/Baptist professor and author is and would be (if we were to write such an open letter) much stronger than Dr. Brown’s, and his response falls far short of our sentiments. Our assumption, though we wouldn’t purport to speak for him, is that Dr. Brown’s assumption in the writing of this letter of appeal that Dr. Campolo’s apostasy is not yet so “seared in (his) conscience” that he is incapable of reconsidering his position and recent statements. Perhaps this somewhat muted approach is the result of Dr. Brown seasoning the matter with Godly grace and mercy, which would be laudable, but our sense is that even if Dr. Campolo chooses to walk back his comments, it will only be due to the hue and cry his statement engendered, and not due to a genuine change of heart. In other words, we think, Campolo’s views are indeed seared in his conscience already and have been for quite some time. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.]

TEN JUDGMENTS OF JESUS AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS OF THE CHURCH
By Joseph Mattera

Every church and/or organization has a corporate culture with norms, rules and expectations that pressure participants to conform. Some cultures are good and some bad. That being said, there are particular attributes that characterize false religions or become the norm during religious decline in a true faith such as Christianity. For example, “Every religious system in the world is centered upon a temple (or a sacred place) and has rites and ceremonies, has hierarchies and titles distinguishing men from one another, and has holy days and holy celebrations” (quoted from a teaching I heard from Pastor Tommy Moya several weeks ago).

The Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Micah and Amos decried religious ritual that was without true righteousness, humility and love for neighbor (Isaiah 1:10-17; 58; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8). The line of prophets arose starting in the eighth century B.C. primarily because Israel had a tendency to focus more on adhering to the temple ritual worship of the Levitical system than the ethical lifestyle required by the Law of Moses as found in the Ten Commandments. For this, the prophets pronounced judgment upon the nation, and God dispersed the people and, on two occasions, destroyed their temple.

We have the same issue in today’s church, irrespective of the denomination or expression of the Body of Christ. (Many Pentecostal, charismatic and Evangelical churches have these same issues.) Not only that, but all leaders (including me) have to constantly grapple with some or all of the following issues internally to make sure we are never sucked into this false system. Continue reading “Ten Marks of False Religious Systems” »

Some Honest Questions for Joseph Prince

By Dr. Michael Brown

Josheph Prince

Xenonamandar Jegahusiee Singh, aka, Joseph Prince, is the son of an Indian Sikh priest and a Buddhist Chinese mother, who admittedly dabbled in the occult as a young man. His TV program that airs on TBN and other networks is watched by millions globally (Joseph Prince YouTube)

On a regular basis, I hear reports about believers who have been transformed through the ministry of Joseph Prince, and I thank God for every one of those good reports.

Without a doubt, his message of grace is liberating many from legalism, performance-based religion and a spiritual inferiority complex, and for all of this, I am grateful.

In 1992, God spoke to me to do a fresh study of grace, and the results of that study were eye-opening, to the point that one of the chapters in my 1997 book Go and Sin No More is called “It’s All Grace” while another is called “The Letter Kills.” Continue reading “Dr. Michael Brown Poses Some Questions to Joseph Prince” »

How Long Will We Be Satisfied With Happy, Shallow Revivals?

By Bert Farias

Charismatic-worship

Many of our so called modern revivals are happy but shallow. This is of deep concern to me for I am not seeing the old anointings any more. My heart grieves especially for the young people who have never witnessed the real power of God.

Honestly, some things I see today are appalling. That old teaching that we are free from the Law has raised its ugly head again. Certainly, we are free from the Law written on stone, but we are not free from the Law that is written in our hearts. Continue reading “How Long Will Shallow, Spiritless Revivals Suffice?” »

In the previous post, The Outrageous Claims of Mars Hill Church “Investigators”, I indicated my strong disagreement with the conclusions of the group of elders and an overseer who identified themselves as the “investigators” who conducted an investigation into the long train of abuses, misdeeds, and other allegations against the founding senior leader of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Mark Driscoll. Those men concluded that “While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.”

I ended that post by saying that abuse of spiritual authority is one of the most, possibly the most, egregious affronts in existence to the One who is the Source of all legitimate authority, and that in a follow-up post I would offer 25 reasons why that is so that immediately come to my mind. This post consists of those 25 reasons. Continue reading “25 Reasons Hyper-Authoritarian Church Leadership IS Disqualifying” »

[Editor’s Note: For those myriad ostrich Christians who rarely pull their heads out of the sand for a quick gander at what’s going on in Christendom, and find themselves—miracle of all miracles—reading this article, nascent in this hour are several of what could be called “doctrine wars” going on in the Body of Christ. Our view is that such über-discussions, if you will, are a good thing, because for the most part, purporting Christians as a whole in these last days tend to be an apathetic, uninformed, and far from a studious lot, particularly when it comes to the study-requiring and tedious task of doctrine-formulation. As a whole, they seem to basically not much care about much of anything going on in the Church, the nation, or the entire world, for that matter, except maybe in the “Cliff Notes” version. Regrettably, statistics gathered by professional researchers have over and over proved this to be the case. One of these controversies between cessationists, primarily fundamentalist Baptists (albeit, certainly, other Evangelicals identify with that camp as well) who seemingly out of nowhere (though it does suspiciously coincide with reported precipitously declining Southern Baptist adherents) began an all-out assault against the continuationist camp, comprised chiefly by Pentecostals and Charismatics. The cessationist aggression has been spearheaded by prominent Baptist Pastor, John MacArthur, who authored a book, Strange Fire, and convened a mega-conference of the same name. Charismatic scholar, apologist, and author, Michael L. Brown, whose coming to prominence was augmented by his association with and contribution to the so-called, Brownsville Revival, that evolved primarily from his friendship with the now late evangelist, Steve Hill, with his book, Authentic Fire, along with the inveterate former pastor of Westminster Cathedral, R.T. Kendall, with his book, Holy Fire, are two at the top of the list of authors in terms of notoriety countering the unfounded claims of the cessation combatants. The other spiritual maelstrom is between an ever-increasing spate of recently emerging “hyper-grace” teacher-authors and a number of teacher-authors countering the hyper-grace theories with monographic treatises demonstrating the utter fallacy and falsity of the hyper-grace claims. With his book, Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, Brown, perhaps, leads the latter cadre of apologists. At the core of the hyper-grace posits is the matter of the need for repentance that inures from what the Holy Spirit, in the Word of God, terms “conviction” and “godly sorrow.” Hyper-grace teachers adamantly assert there is no need for either, and that claims to the contrary are simply false and unbiblical. The following article, excerpted from a section of the same title of Brown’s book captures the essence of the counter-argument.]

Conviction vs. Condemnation
By Michael L. Brown, PhD

Unfortunately, some believers confuse conviction with condemnation, and the moment the Spirit speaks to them about something wrong in their lives, they feel hopeless and condemned, which only drives them further from the Lord. This is a lie from the enemy that must be exposed, and I stand with my colleagues in the hyper-grace camp when they seek to expose this destructive notion. Let the truth be shouted from the rooftops: the Holy Spirit never speaks condemnation to a son or daughter of God.

As I explained in my book Go and Sin No More, “If you are a born-again believer, a blood-washed child of God, you are not damned and doomed. God is not saying, ‘To hell with you! Depart from Me, you wicked one.’ Absolutely not! He is saying, ‘You are Mine! I accept you fully through My Son.’”[18]

What then is the difference between conviction and condemnation? Conviction says to the believer, “You have sinned, so come to Me!” Condemnation says to the lost and damned sinner, “You are pronounced guilty. Away from Me!” Continue reading “Conviction Vs. Condemnation” »

Is A New Grace Reformation Taking Place Today?
By Dr. Michael Brown

Is there a new reformation sweeping the Church today, a reformation as radical and important as the Protestant Reformation that rocked the world 500 years ago? According to a growing number of Christian leaders, the answer is emphatically yes.

Pastor Clark Whitten, author of Pure Grace: The Life Changing Power of Uncontaminated  Grace, claims that, “Little has changed in the Protestant church in more than 500 years” – until now, that is. He believes that Luther and Calvin “got it right concerning justification, or how one is saved. . . . But they missed it on sanctification, or how one is perfected into the likeness of Christ.”

Whitten states that Luther and Calvin, followed by the Protestant Church ever since, taught a doctrine of “saved by grace but perfected by human effort,” an approach that has produced “a Church that is judgmental, angry, hopeless, helpless, dependent, fearful, uninspired, ineffective, and perpetually spiritually immature.” Continue reading “Exposing the Dangers of Hyper-Grace” »

As I dialogue with believers across a large spectrum of theological perspectives, it is clear that we often talk right past each other, disagreeing with each other before we even understand each other. Just as often, we uphold our own beliefs by misrepresenting the positions we reject. This does nothing to advance true understanding or dialogue.

While writing Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, I read the books of the key teachers very carefully, praying that God would show me blind spots in my own life, that He would expose any legalistic thinking within me and that He would open my eyes to any grace insights these teachers had that I might be lacking. Continue reading “Four Hyper-Grace Fallacies” »

The “Radical Grace” Teaching — Reformation or Deformation?
By Michael Fackerell

There is a teaching becoming popular in Christendom today which is known by some of its adherents as the “Radical Grace” message (aka, “Hyper-Grace” – Ed.). This message is being presented as a message of liberation from all the horrible legalistic bondage that “religious” Christians get caught up in when they struggle to overcome sin.

According to this message, we can relax because all we need to do is believe that Jesus has taken care of everything for us — there is really nothing for us to do in order to be saved. According to this teaching, it would be nice if we lived holy lives but it’s no big deal if we don’t — because our salvation is assured by what Christ has done for us on the cross and has nothing to do with how we live at all.

Some also teach that our sanctification is also complete and we have no sin nature once we believe in Jesus — regardless of how we live. (In theology, an unorthodox doctrine known as “eradication of the sin nature.” –Ed.) Continue reading “Hyper-Grace — Reformation or Deformation?” »

The Fresh Prince—Destined To Ruin
By Lance Goodall

The Christian world has a fresh prince, not of Bel Air, but from Singapore![1]

Joseph PrinceJoseph Prince (JP) is the senior pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, one of Asia’s biggest churches.[2] Under Prince’s leadership, the church congregation has grown by more than a hundredfold—from about 150 to more than 24,000. A founding member of New Creation Church, Prince initially served as an elder and associate pastor. However, his appointment as senior pastor in 1990 marked a turning point in the history of the church, which started experiencing phenomenal growth.[3]

Prince, the son of a Sikh priest of Indian origin and a Chinese mother, changed his birth name to Joseph Prince from Xenonamandar Jegahusiee Singh, during his previous occupation as an IT consultant.[4] His name change is reminiscent of Joseph the Hebrew Prince of Egypt. He is married to Wendy, and has two young children. As a young man he dabbled in the occult, but he said that “supernatural experiences” opened his eyes to Christianity.[5] Continue reading “Destined To Ruin–The Fresh Prince of Singapore” »

It is one thing to downplay the ugliness of sin in the life of a believer. It is another thing to deny the existence of sin in the life of a believer. Yet today, there are believers who claim that they do not sin, even when they do. As scary as this deception is, the reasoning behind it is even scarier.

I first encountered this in some fringe hyper-grace circles, where the reasoning goes like this: “I am a spirit, I have a soul and I live in a body. My spirit is born-again, redeemed and perfect in God’s sight. Therefore my spirit—which is the real me—is incapable of sinning, which means that if there is sin in my life, it’s not really me committing the sin.”

Of course, there are some truths mixed into this line of thinking, but it ultimately leads to an unbiblical, very dangerous conclusion: “Yes, I sin, but it’s really not me sinning!” You can easily see where this nonsense can go.

One well-known hyper-grace teacher asks the question, “Does a daily walk of joyful, sinless existence seem like an impossibility?” He then assures his readers that it is hardly impossible at all.

A friend of mine became concerned by some teaching he was hearing in his church (a very well-known church in his region), and so he called the pastor’s right-hand man and asked him to answer a question with a yes or a no: “Do you sin?” The leader replied, “No, I don’t sin,” explaining that his spirit within him was perfect and sinless and that’s who he really was. Continue reading “A Dangerous and Deadly Deception” »

Hyper-grace teachers frequently emphasize that they do not condone sinful living and that God’s true grace will produce a holy life, and I believe they sincerely mean this. One hyper-grace author even states at the beginning of his book, “We are not propagating immorality, because if we truly believe in God and love Him there will be corresponding works (because faith without works is dead).” Absolutely!

There are boatloads of testimonies these teachers can point to, documenting how thousands of believers have found freedom and deliverance by embracing the message of grace. In previous years, these believers had lived under a weight of condemnation, thinking if they just worked a little harder God might accept them, feeling as if they never measured up. Then they encountered God’s amazing grace and were transformed. Continue reading “Hyper-Grace Horror Stories” »

The biblical message of grace is wonderful, glorious and life-transforming. We can’t live without it for one second of our lives. But there is a message being preached today in the name of a new grace reformation, mixing powerful truth with dangerous error. I call it hyper-grace.

One of the foundational doctrines of the hyper-grace message is that God does not see the sins of His children, since we have already been made righteous by the blood of Jesus and since all of our sins, past, present and future, have already been forgiven. That means that the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sin, that believers never need to confess their sins to God, and that believers never need to repent of their sins, since God sees them as perfect in his sight. Continue reading “Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace” »