What does real, saving faith actually entail? The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the need for repentance from sin and accompanying good works as evidence of true belief. However, as theologian Wayne Grudem argues in this book, the teachings of the Free Grace movement—which deny that good works need to be present in the life of the justified Christian—undermine the Bible’s teaching regarding saving faith. Drawing from the works of key leaders within the movement, Grudem raises five biblical concerns he has with the Free Grace movement and critiques its central teachings from Scripture and historic Protestantism. In doing so, he helps all Christians understand the true nature of saving faith.
- A must read or listen it will help you to understand the basis of saving faith.
Wayne Grudem contrasts intellectual assent to some facts about the Christian faith with what the Gospel message truly includes, as Jesus said" you must be born again". Grace is truly free and leads to true freedom in Christ, free grace theology can leave believers in it short of saving faith as they base their assurance of salvation on their confession of faith instead of in the person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Faith in faith or faith in Christ alone? you decide, Dr. Grudem provides the Biblical contrast to the theological system that leaves you trusting in a system much the same as baptismal regeneration, church membership, confirmation in any system created by our human logic.
- A Good One-Time Read
The book matter: While touted as a book that shows 5 ways Free Grace Theology (hereafter FGT) weakens the Gospel, it reads more like a book that shows how undefinable the words “faith” and “repentance” really are. The book could have been entitled “What is Real Faith and what is Sufficient Repentance?” The FGT simply ends up being used as the scapegoat, rather than a singular example; an example of beliefs that others hold as well. This would have accomplished Dr. Grudem’s purpose without denigrating FGT adherents. In the final analysis we, as humans, cannot conclusively define how much or at what level faith is a saving faith. Nor can we precisely pinpoint how contrite a person’s repentance must be to be effective.
Dr. Grudem does present persuasive arguments for his position and the reviewer agrees with him that there are far too many people who claim their faith is a saving one when, in fact, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. But, turning to the scriptures, it is still not mine to adjudicate. His premise that there is faith and repentance that falls short of bona fide is absolutely true: substitution of simple assent for faith and recognition sans any remorse for repentance remain harmful doctrines. We see the disastrous outcomes of such practices in the Scriptures. But our fallen minds and improverished language neither let us isolate nor define the tipping point.
Turning to the reader, Tom Parks has a voice very well suited for intellectual and philosophical texts and was an excellent choice for this book. By keeping distance from the dramatic in his inflection and volume of speech, he reflects a scholarly persona in his monologue. While I am prone to fall asleep if there is even a hint of monotone or repetition in the volume or pitch, I remained awake and engaged throughout this recording.
My conclusion is that this is a good read, but not likely a re-read in the future. The FGT as the main focus could have been removed or at least greatly attenuated without significant loss of content. In the Christian worldview stressing unity, the casting of dispersion upon a group such as the FGT, reduces a reader’s ability to see complete objectivity in the author’s work.
- One book you must read!
Every Christian should read this book! Most of us, especially those of us who grew up in the American evangelical church, unknowingly believe in some form of the error that Wayne Grudem is trying to correct here. Hence, it is an absolutely invaluable read. The church today needs to know the truth about repentance and faith, and all that these entail. We can no longer be satisfied with needs to know the truth about repentance and faith, and all that that entails. We can no longer be satisfied with easy-believing and cheap grace. These are not biblical, and Grudem helps us to see why we need the true gospel of the his store Protestant faith.
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