CLASSICAL FREE GRACE THEOLOGY
Reviewed by Thomas Stegall
For centuries, countless saints have sung the words, “amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” God’s amazing grace is the subject of a new book titled, Freely by His Grace: Classical Free Grace Theology. At over 600 pages, this hardcover book is de-voted to one biblical theme, namely, God’s grace. The back cover explains why such an extensive treatment is warranted. “Grace is what distinguishes authentic biblical Christianity from every world religion. Grace is free to the recipient but costly to the Giver. It changes lives and eternal destinies. It characterizes the Giver as ‘the God of all grace.ʼ True biblical theology, therefore, must be absorbed with God’s grace.”
This book is a major treatment of the subject of grace and a valuable resource for any believer seriously interested under-standing grace and growing in it (2 Peter 3:18). Freely by His Grace is a compendium of biblical and theological topics related to grace covering seventeen chapters written by fourteen different authors, including pastors, professors, seminary presidents, and ministry leaders. The authors are all seasoned adherents to the Free Grace position, writing out of deep personal conviction and appreciation for God’s saving, sanctifying, and keeping grace. The result is a treasure trove of sound biblical, theological, and practical insight into the theme of God’s amazing grace.
The chapters and topics in this book, along with each author, include the following:
(1) an introduction to the subject of Free Grace theology by Michael Halsey;
(2) a general overview of the biblical theme of grace by the late Lewis Sperry Chafer;
(3) the content of the saving gospel message by J. B. Hixson;
(4) an exposition by George Meisinger of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 showing that this passage contains the saving message of faith alone in Christ’s substitutionary and sufficient death for sin and bodily resurrection;
(5) an explanation of the Free Grace position in contrast to Lordship Salvation by Char-lie Bing;
(6) the distinction between eternal salvation and discipleship by Fred Lybrand;
(7) the nature of faith as a condition for eternal salvation by J. B. Hixson;
(8) the meaning of repentance as a condition for salvation being a change of mind about Christ that is inherent to faith by Dick Seymour;
(9) the biblical order of faith preceding regeneration in contrast to Calvinism by Dave Anderson;
(10-11) two chapters by Dennis Rokser on the eternal security of every child of God and the absolute assurance and certainty of salvation available to every child of God;
(12) the seriousness of sin as viewed by the classical Free Grace position by Michael Stallard;
(13) sanctification being solely through God’s grace by Kurt Witzig;
(14) rewards and the judgment seat of Christ by Tom Stegall;
(15) an explanation of traditional dispensationalism by Tommy Ice;
(16) the indispensable connection between dispensationalism and the Free Grace position by Tom Stegall;
(17) and the role of God’s grace in evangelism, missions, and disciple-making by Bret Nazworth.
This book is especially valuable since it represents the first full-orbed, systematic treatment of the classical Free Grace position. It is “classical” in the sense that none of the writers hold to the recent aberration of some Free Grace leaders known as the crossless gospel/saving message. Other theologies are contrasted with classical Free Grace throughout the book, most notably Reformed theology and its corresponding Lordship Salvation. The Free Grace position teaches that God’s grace is neither “cheap” (since it cost the death of God’s Son), nor “costly” to the recipient. It is actually “free” to all who simply trust Christ for their eternal salvation. This truth is taught in Ro-mans 3:24 where the title of the book comes from.
Freely by His Grace is highly readable and displays an excellent job of editing by J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire, and veteran editor Roy Zuck. The production of this book was sponsored by Free Grace Seminary (Atlanta, GA) and published in partner-ship with Grace Gospel Press. It retails for $29.95 and can be ordered from various online retailers. ■
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