Friday, August 5, 2016

New Wayne Grudem Book: "'Free Grace' Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel."

Wayne Grudem has a new book out: "Free Grace" Theology: Five Ways It Diminishes the GospelI'm grateful he wrote this book for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, in Seminary, one of my professors was a big proponent of Free Grace theology. But the way he promoted that view in the classroom was unhelpful. And since he had a sharp wit and a persuasive personality, some students gave this idea more credence than I felt it deserved. 

The second reason surprised me. Of course I would have loved to see someone directly respond to the arguments, but I didn't think a book would garner much interest beyond the seminary classroom. A few years ago Dr. Grudem gave a message on the topic and that eventually led to this book. I wouldn't even be mentioning it here if it weren't for something he wrote in the letter he sent along with the book. 
Although its focus is on the" Free Grace" movement, the book has broader application for how we understand the gospel message today. I'm concerned that evangelicals too often water-down any call for genuine repentance from sin, minimize the need for heartfelt trust in Christ as a living person, and seldom warn people that if their lives have not changed, they're probably not really Christians at all. This book addresses those concerns and calls us back to the kind of gospel presented in the New Testament itself.
So the second reason I'm grateful for this book is that it is such a rich dive into some of the fundamental aspects of the gospel, which makes it an edifying read for all followers of Jesus.

The marks of Grudem's writing that have always impressed me are his extensive use of Scripture and his very careful analysis of sources. I once heard him say that when people make claims that seem tenuous based on obscure references, go back and examine the footnotes, and you almost always find errors, or that some of the context of a passage quoted was ignored. And you see that play out of this book. I think he writes carefully and he seems as to be as gracious as he can be towards the Free Grace position. Of course if you hold to the Free Grace position, I'd love for you to read the book and give me your thoughts as I am clearly biased both for the author and his position.

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