Grace Evangelical Society

Discuss current news and trends taking place in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Moderator: William Thornton

Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Matt Richard » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:25 pm

Received a magazine called Grace in Focus from the Grace Evangelical Society (GEV). The issue is focused on what it calls "Free Grace Baptists" and advertises a conference at Southwestern. Their website is http://www.faithalone.org/index.html.

The organization has been around since the 80's, but it looks as if it is taking off with some Southern Baptists that are anti-Calvinistic. I've never heard of them until seeing this magazine, but discovered there is a seminary supported by the movement in the Houston area.

Anyone else aware of this or have any insights as to their history/agenda?
Matt Richard
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:32 am
Location: Gatesville, TX

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Timothy Bonney » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:15 pm

It may or may not be anti-Calvinist. But it isn't classically Arminian either. If you look at their beliefs being a Christian doesn't even involve a commitment to obey Christ. My objection would be that we aren't just saved FROM something (destruction, hell, separation from God) but that we are also saved FOR something, as in obedience, growth in grace, and sanctification.

We can all fail to obey Christ fully but if there isn't even any commitment to ever obey Christ how is one "saved?"
Tim Bonney
Senior Pastor
Grace United Methodist Church
Sioux City, Iowa
Blog - http://circuitwriter.org
User avatar
Timothy Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3629
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sioux City, Iowa

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Sandy » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:34 pm

Looking at the list of churches that are their affiliates, they are mostly independent, autonomous Bible churches, with a sprinkling of Baptists. It looks like they are just renting the facility at Southwestern, I can't find anything that tells me they are connected.
Sandy
Sandy
 
Posts: 6245
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Rural Western Pennsylvania

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby linda » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:05 pm

I've received their material for years. They are classic dispensationalists.

They are frequently accused of a no expectation Christianity. More like they teach that an unsaved, unregenerate person cannot possibly commit to a high level of obedience to Christ. They see expecting that before salvation as expecting a work the unbeliever cannot do, in order to earn salvation.

So they see the offer of salvation as simply one of believing in the deity of Christ and trusting Him to save us sinners who cannot save ourselves.

After that, a healthy faith will produce that commitment and obedience. But they teach the classic OSAS idea that while a healthy faith will do that, some will be stillborn or disobedient believers. Those will suffer consequences, often quite severe, in this life plus a loss of rewards in the next.

They would say trusting our works to get saved, or prove we are saved, is putting our trust in something other than Jesus. But would also say that when He does save us, we should be so in love with Him that we desire to serve, commit, and obey. Human nature being what it is, sometimes we are miserable failures at what we want to do.
Linda
linda
 
Posts: 381
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:53 pm

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Timothy Bonney » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:59 pm

This is where I like Wesleyan theology which teaches that the ability to have faith and believe is a grace gift from God. Otherwise belief can degenerate into just another work. Those who can must up the belief get saved. So it is all on the person to get saved unless God's enabling grace is involved.
Tim Bonney
Senior Pastor
Grace United Methodist Church
Sioux City, Iowa
Blog - http://circuitwriter.org
User avatar
Timothy Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3629
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sioux City, Iowa

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Sandy » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:54 pm

I see, among their board, that there is a strong connection to DTS, which explains the theological perspective, at least, the dispensationalism. Generally, though not an organize denominational movement, Bible churches reject theological interpretations or labels that they see as originating from church tradition, and rely solely on a historical literal interpretation of the Bible, except when they get to end times events, which is where the dispensationalist view comes in. I used to have a lot of fun with dispensationalists in seminary, since they are generally from the same historical literal perspective, but there's no specific scripture they can point to which leads to dispensationalism. It is as dependent on tradition as anything else is, but the difference is that it is their tradition.
Sandy
Sandy
 
Posts: 6245
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Rural Western Pennsylvania

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:11 am

Ed: Tim, would you rework these 2 sentences
Those who can must up the belief get saved. So it is all on the person to get saved unless God's enabling grace is involved.
so that they make grammatical sense.

Your whole post makes it sound as if Wesleyan Theology is the only Theology to acknowledge God's Grace, and I do not think that is what you meant to convey.
User avatar
Ed Pettibone
 
Posts: 11190
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: .Burnt Hills, New York, Capital Area

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Haruo » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:21 am

This time I join Ed in his cavil. "Those who can must up the belief get saved" made no sense when I first read it and less the more I reread it, and the second sentence doesn't unravel it.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 10042
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Haruo wrote:This time I join Ed in his cavil. "Those who can must up the belief get saved" made no sense when I first read it and less the more I reread it, and the second sentence doesn't unravel it.


Ed: Haruo, just what is petty or unnecessary about my request to Tim? If my request and explanatory statement comprise a cavil, why would you join me in it? Now I believe this last question could be legitimately called a cavil, thus requiring no reply. Lets not bog down the discussion.







'

---
User avatar
Ed Pettibone
 
Posts: 11190
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: .Burnt Hills, New York, Capital Area

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Haruo » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:37 am

I withdraw the term, I meant no harm by it.

If I had it to do over again, I would of wrote: ;-) This time I join Ed in his request. "Those who can must up the belief get saved" made no sense when I first read it and less the more I reread it, and the second sentence doesn't unravel it.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 10042
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:10 am

Ed Pettibone wrote:
Your whole post makes it sound as if Wesleyan Theology is the only Theology to acknowledge God's Grace, and I do not think that is what you meant to convey.


No I didn't mean to convey that Ed. I would argue that stricter forms of Calvinism use grace in a totally different way than many of us would be comfortable with. For stricter Calvinists "grace" is synonymous with election. Those who are elect receive God's grace and those who are not of the elect really don't.

But I've not found that stricter Calvinism to be the interpretation of Calvin in the PCUSA for example. I think some of the more conservative Calvinists may be more Calvin than Calvin himself.
Tim Bonney
Senior Pastor
Grace United Methodist Church
Sioux City, Iowa
Blog - http://circuitwriter.org
User avatar
Timothy Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3629
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sioux City, Iowa

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby KeithE » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:03 am

Personally I don’t know how one can separate repentance-faith-works. Repentance is remorse for sin or apathy. Faith is dependence on/alignment with God’s purposes in creation, Jesus’s example, and the Spirit’s guidance. Works is the active love of others (more so than vague well-wishing or obedience to rules). One without the others is incomplete. Two without the third is also incomplete. Not that I’m setting any checklist for heaven (that is God’s prerogative). Just have found this paradigm useful in sorting out my own life. Most changes or decisions in my life involve all three at once. I do realize that many people are not privy to the Word (that is Jesus) or the Bible and as such are at a disadvantage; but God is the Judge, Jury and Director of any afterlife or afterworld; thus I’m not going to automatically condemn those of other religiosities even in my own mind (and certainly not in word or war).

These guys (the GEV) center on faith (a mental assent) only. And the one faith element that seems to be important is believing in the dispensation of heaven (partially populated) - not God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Hmmmm. I could not join that group as one who is unsure about the nature of the afterlife. While I’m practically sure they encourage repentance and good works (as led by the Holy Spirit and Jesus’s example), they do seem to allow for an empty mental assent as sufficient. Well at least I suspect they are not much into browbeating people for behavioral matters (that much is good).

Baptists it seems to me center mostly on repentance and faith (strongly believing in altar calls and OSAS) paying some attention to local work with people’s need. Methodists center mostly on faith and works (focus on worship, piety and the “method” of pleasing God). Yes I know this is not true for many individuals, but seems to me to be characteristic in the whole. Notice I say “seems to me” in that this comes from 27 years of being a Baptist (moderate variety) and 12 years of regular (but not weekly) involvement in Emmaus Programs / Upper Room literature and a few years of discussion after my son’s “conversion” to Wesleyan Theology. This does not come from examination of official denominational doctrine. Does this jibe with your experiences?
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
User avatar
KeithE
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6192
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Grace Evangelical Society

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:26 am

KeithE wrote:
Baptists it seems to me center mostly on repentance and faith (strongly believing in altar calls and OSAS) paying some attention to local work with people’s need. Methodists center mostly on faith and works (focus on worship, piety and the “method” of pleasing God). Yes I know this is not true for many individuals, but seems to me to be characteristic in the whole. Notice I say “seems to me” in that this comes from 27 years of being a Baptist (moderate variety) and 12 years of regular (but not weekly) involvement in Emmaus Programs / Upper Room literature and a few years of discussion after my son’s “conversion” to Wesleyan Theology. This does not come from examination of official denominational doctrine. Does this jibe with your experiences?


My experience is that the larger emphasis for United Methodists is on God's grace which free us for faith and works. Or even more completely, it frees us for our life work which is sanctification, seeking holiness of heart and life. (Also a gift of God's grace btw and not a work.)

Repentance is a part of UMC theology. But not the focus on constantly apologizing to God for our failings that I found in some Baptist churches I was involved in. It is more important in Wesleyanism to seek growth than it is to apologize for not being what we aught to be yet.
Tim Bonney
Senior Pastor
Grace United Methodist Church
Sioux City, Iowa
Blog - http://circuitwriter.org
User avatar
Timothy Bonney
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3629
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sioux City, Iowa


Return to SBC News and Trends

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests