Does Free Grace Theology Diminish The Gospel? A Review Of Wayne Grudem’s, ““Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes The Gospel”, Part 3 -- By: Robert N. Wilkin

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 30:59 (Autumn 2017)
Article: Does Free Grace Theology Diminish The Gospel? A Review Of Wayne Grudem’s, ““Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes The Gospel”, Part 3
Author: Robert N. Wilkin


Does Free Grace Theology Diminish The Gospel? A Review Of Wayne Grudem’s, ““Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes The Gospel”, Part 3

Robert N. Wilkin

Associate Editor

I. Introduction

In Parts 1 and 2 we considered the first four chapters of Dr. Wayne Grudem’s recent book, “Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel, in which he argues against Free Grace Theology (FGT).

In Part 3 we will consider his interpretations of eleven tough texts which he considers in Chapter 5. After four chapters with very little, if any, exegesis, I was looking forward to how he actually interprets the Word of God.

In his final chapter, Grudem makes the odd claim that FGT diminishes the gospel because it holds what he calls unlikely interpretations. This is an odd claim. Unlikely according to whom? Did Luther and Calvin diminish the gospel because their interpretations were considered very unlikely by nearly all the theologians and priests of their day?

I’ll grant that Grudem’s interpretations of these eleven passages are consistent with those of the majority of Calvinist scholars today. But that does not matter because truth is not determined by consensus.1 What matters is which interpretation makes best sense of Scripture. So I will evaluate his interpretations based on the words of Scripture.

II. Some Examples Of Unlikely Interpretations

Grudem’s selection of passages includes one from the Synoptic Gospels, one from John (which he split into two separate discussions), three from Acts, two from Paul’s epistles, and three from James.

Surprisingly, Grudem cites only one FGT author in ten of the eleven passages, namely, Zane Hodges. Chapter 5 should be entitled, “Some Examples of Unlikely Interpretations by Zane Hodges.” Since this is a book about FGT, why doesn’t he discuss the views of Jody Dillow, Dave Anderson, Charlie Bing, Charles Ryrie, Tom Constable, John Hart, R. B. Thieme, Fred Chay, Earl Radmacher, Gary Derickson, Elliott Johnson, or me?

While I agree with most of the interpretations of Zane Hodges, a book on FGT should not focus only on his views, any more than a book on Calvinism should focus solely on Grudem’s views.

A. Luke 16:30

“And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’”

Grudem’s interpretation. Grudem says that this verse “implies that the brothers need to repent in order t...

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