Does Free Grace Theology Diminish The Gospel? A Review Of Wayne Grudem’s, ““Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes The Gospel,” Part 1 -- By: Bob Wilkin

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 29:57 (Autumn 2016)
Article: Does Free Grace Theology Diminish The Gospel? A Review Of Wayne Grudem’s, ““Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes The Gospel,” Part 1
Author: Bob Wilkin


Does Free Grace Theology Diminish The Gospel? A Review Of Wayne Grudem’s, ““Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes The Gospel,” Part 1

Bob Wilkin

Associate Editor

Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society

I. Introduction

Dr. Wayne Grudem, professor of theology and Biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, is the author of an influential and best-selling book on systematic theology.1 He has written over twenty books, including books on a Biblical view of politics, Biblical manhood and womanhood,2 Christian feminism, the gender-neutral Bible translation controversy, the gift of prophecy, a commentary on 1 Peter, and many more. Now, Grudem has decided to discuss the question of Free Grace Theology (hereafter, FGT) in “Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel (hereafter, 5 Ways).3 I am delighted that he has done so. This book calls attention to our views and to our writings. However, Grudem has done a poor job of presenting and refuting FGT.

This article will consist of two parts. In Part 1, I will consider his first two chapters. In Part 2 (Spring 2017), I will deal with Chapters 3-5.

II. Grudem Claims He Does Not Believe In Lordship Salvation

Early in the introduction, Grudem takes pains to say that he does not like the label Lordship Salvation. He goes beyond that, however, saying, “I hope that no reviewer of this book will refer to my position as the ‘Lordship Salvation’ position, for I explicitly disavow that label as misleading and confusing” (p. 25). He prefers to call his position “the ‘historic Protestant’ position” or “the ‘non-Free Grace’ position” (p. 25).

The reason why he doesn’t like the label of Lordship Salvation seems to be two-fold. Both sides agree that Jesus is Lord over all of our lives and the Lordship Salvation side admits that “our submission to Christ’s lordship is imperfect in this life” (p. 23). And he thinks that the Lordship Salvation label implies “that it is an unusual or minority view that seeks to add the idea of lordship to the ordinary idea of salvation” (p. 23).

The fact that this book was endorsed by several of the biggest advocates of Lordship Salvation—including Drs. John MacArthur and J. I. Packer—suggests that the views he advocates in this book are indeed the views of Lordship Salvation.

Despite his protests, Lordship Salvation accurately describes ...

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