Dispensationalism And Free Grace: Intimately Linked, Part 3 -- By: Grant Hawley

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 25:48 (Spring 2012)
Article: Dispensationalism And Free Grace: Intimately Linked, Part 3
Author: Grant Hawley


Dispensationalism And Free Grace:
Intimately Linked, Part 3

Grant Hawley

Pastor,
Grace Bible Church
Allen, TX

I. Introduction

In the first article of this series, I advanced the position that proponents of Lordship Salvation have considered normative Dispensationalism to be the root cause of Free Grace Theology (which they view as an aberration). In the second, I showed how certain anti-Dispensational views have led proponents of Lordship Salvation to abandon literal hermeneutics with respect to key passages in the debate over soteriology. My goal was to contend for the point that Lordship Salvation cannot be consistently maintained without departing from certain key aspects of Dispensationalism. In this final article, I will turn the focus onto Dispensationalism itself and the soteriology which it bore—namely, Free Grace. My hope is to demonstrate first the historical linkage1 between the two, second the theological linkage, and third, to offer some practical applications for those who hold to both Dispensationalism and Free Grace.

II. Dispensationalism And Free Grace: Historically Linked

John MacArthur has argued that Free Grace theology finds its roots in Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Dispensationalism.2 It is fair to say that Chafer, with the founding of Dallas Theological Seminary and with the writing of He That Is Spiritual,3 Grace: An Exposition of God’s Marvelous Gift,4 and his Systematic Theology,5 had a profound impact on the development of Free Grace theology. It is also true, however, that as Dispensationalism predates him in English and American theology, so does Free Grace. Because this topic could fill volumes, and because space is limited, the Free Grace writings of the early Dispensationalists will be only briefly surveyed.

Dispensationalism arose from Calvinistic theologians. The Brethren Dispensationalists such as J. N. Darby, C. H. Mackintosh, and William Kelley, and the Presbyterian and Congregationalist Dispensationalists such as James Hall Brookes, C. I. Scofield, and L. S. Chafer were all Calvinists of a sort, though the idea of Limited Atonement was not apparently held by any of them. Despite this, they did not entirely break from Calvinism and all held to a soft view of the Perseverance of the Saints, namely, that all true believers would have at least some change and works in their lives.<...

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